Dug out

Scott Donovan Gallery

9 February – 5 March  2005

Philipa Veitch, New Skull Find, french knitted acrylic yarn, pins, dimensions variable, 2005
Philipa Veitch, The Slow Mouth, felt pen, coloured pencil, oil pastel, yarn on paper, 2005
Philipa Veitch, Minus White, felt pen, coloured pencil, oil pastel, yarn on paper, 2005


 The work in Dug Out was executed mostly during November and December 2004 and January 2005, largely during small periods of time while my son was sleeping. While I was still keen to continue making the large drawings I had been developing over the last few years, I also wanted to investigate some other ways of continuing my art practice that would gel with my responsibilities as the mother of a young child. I took a very open-ended approach, starting off a number of drawings and weaving projects, leaving them in various stages of incompletion, and finishing them weeks or months later as the ideas had time to evolve.

The content of the works developed in a similar way. The posters under the headings, “Kids”, “Immigration” etc came out of a vast, but far from comprehensive, collection of newspaper cuttings I had been keeping since about the end of 2003 (though at least one goes back more than 15 years). It seemed during the run-up to both the Australian and US elections that more and more issues relating to war, civil liberties, truth in government and so on were being dragged out into the public view, and keeping all those articles was just one way of trying to keep track of them. I was also interested in the idea of mothers and children as being agents of social and political change, and so began keeping articles on those as well, in the main as reference points for the exhibition “Mummy” that I organised in 2003. Some of the articles in the “Mother” poster were used in the catalogue for that exhibition, while other works, such as “nature vs nurture” touch on my ongoing investigation of the mother / child relationship.

Many of the drawings act as tiny time tunnels to previous moments in time and space that continue to resonate or inform my work and thinking as a whole. For example I started the little chinese drawings as an exercise in combining my interest in geology and the formation of the Earth with my older fascination with China and Chinese landscape painting. The various text works in particular play with a range of different meanings or readings, such as “New Skull Find”, which could allude to archaeology, war crimes, or some kind of leap in human psychological development. In the same way, Dug Out attempts to de-compartmentalise the various trains of thought that have informed my work, personal life, and political concerns over the last few years.

Philipa Veitch, February 2005