CoSydney Artshine Gallery: Friday, February 13 – Saturday, February 28, 2015
Media opening: Thursday, February 12 4.30pm-7.30pm
General opening: Saturday, February 14 3.30 – 6.30pm
Address: 3 Blackfriars Street, Chippendale.
Internationally acclaimed Sydney photographer & artist Carrie Webster presents a vivid re-imagining of the Chinese horoscope in her latest exhibition, Year of the Sheep.The exhibition will coincide with Chinese New Year on Thursday, February 19, which also marks the beginning of Chinese astrology’s Year of the Sheep. According to astrology, the year will be marked by peace, harmony and compromise.
The 12-piece collection features every animal sign in childishly surreal landscapes and settings inspired by the characteristics of that sign, with the focus of the collection being the gentle and compassionate sheep. Each piece has been created through Webster’s usual process of digitally manipulating photographs she has taken of fruits and vegetables. The strong ox, for example, is created using a beetroot, while the beautiful horses are shaped from sweet potato and spring onion as the main ingredients.
“I love the idea that millions of people believe that they are intrinsically connected to their astrology animal, and that this gives them hope and guidance and a framework for living their lives,” Webster says. “The mythology around how these animals became part of the Chinese astrology signs is intriguing in itself, and lends to story-telling.”
Webster’s sometimes dark and always fantastically whimsical work has been likened to that of filmmaker and illustrator Tim Burton; appealing to young imaginations and the young at heart, it has elements of naivism and is narrative in style, inspired by folklore, fables and fairy tales.
“I am ultimately inspired by many things, but my core reason for creating is to express something bigger than myself,” Webster says.
“I love to believe that there is a greater universal spirit that is pure love, but I also believe that there must be an equal and opposing force that also exists as part of the universal law of opposites. This is the basis for all my work and inspiration, and hidden amongst the whimsical and the happy, there can always lurk something darker. This is what is great story telling is all about.”
A number of pieces from the collection will be available for purchase as prints from December 2014 at www.artfolio.com.au, with a full release at the time of the exhibition. Prints can be personalized to include, for example, a child’s name or birthdate, to make for a unique gift for newborns and young children.
How the Chinese astrology signs came about
Long ago in China, the Jade Emperor decided there should be a way of measuring time. On his birthday he told all the animals that there was to be a swimming race. The first twelve animals across the fast flowing rive would be the winner and they would each have a year of the zodiac named after them, so the legend goes..
Well it's mid-April, and I'm reflecting on the outcomes of my first exhibition in a long time. I feel energised and blessed in my life, even though I am working full time, creating after hours, and also being a mum. I really have so many amazing people around me, friends and family, and the gorgeous Portia - what's not to love about that!
This year started off again with way to much to do, and too little time. However, I started working with a Business Coach in December last year, and he has really pushed me to achieve way more in a much faster time frame than I thought possible. You can check out his website here:
So I was first thrilled to be invited to contribute to Studio Visit magazine in January www.studiovistmagazine.com
This print magazine is distributed to around 2000 galleries throughout the US, so I hope that it will be a great stepping stone for me to find representation in the US of A!
Inspired by the stranded princess Rapunzel waiting helplessly to be rescued by the handsome prince, it made sense to twist the story into a more contemporary tale. I love the idea of using contrasting elements in my images to create both tension and interest, and here I have created a surreal and magical fairy tale landscape that contrasts with the beautiful, modern, converse wearing princess taking a quick selfie as she prepares to escape the tower after cutting off her own braided hair to use as an escape tool.
The Princess and the iPod image is really a story about sleep, or rather the lack of. I have forever wrestled with insomnia, and my lovely daughter has also been cursed by this insanely frustrating “condition” since she was very young.
I started this series of images with the idea of portraying opposite forces as good and evil in the form of angels and monsters. They are really just opposing forces in our personal worlds as we battle each day to find equilibrium with the elements within our control, and some kind of acceptance of those outside of our control. In fact, the original title was "Monsters & Angels", however, as I began the creative journey, it took me down another path, as it often does. The story of Darkness and Light emerged and evolved into its current state.
I have always had a fascination for the circus, and in particular, the surreal, fantasy aspect that emanates through the visual stereotypes we see in the older vintage style images. Circus entertainment is anchored in pure escapism and the possibility of witnessing the impossible. Circus performer lifestyle is intriguing in its surrealness, and we are always left wondering what kind of life these enigmatic and sometimes sad characters lead.