Janet Meaney: upcoming artist-in-residence

Janet Meaney, Great Australian Wava, 2014, Amsterdam, Dortrecht Friedrichshafen
(absent minded fly swatting gesture, performed by a large group of people in a public space) 

Janet Meaney is an international performance artist based in Canberra. After growing up in Adelaide, Janet moved overseas in her early twenties to travel widely throughout Europe and eventually settling in the US where she gained a BFA majoring in sculpture at CCS Detroit Michigan and went on to establish a successful practice exhibiting in the USA and Canada. Returning to Australia in 1984 Janet's practice grew through sculpture into installation and video as she exhibited throughout Australia. Alongside her active practice Janet continued to study, gaining a Grad Dip in Art History and Curatorship and later completing her PhD in performance art at ANU in 2011. Over her career Janet has received numerous scholarships grants and awards, most recently these include a 2012 Asialink residency in India and a 2013 artsACT travel/residency grant to Finland and Estonia. Her performances have also been executed by proxy in Amsterdam and Dortrecht the Netherlands and Friedrichshafen Germany in 2014. Earlier this year, Janet performed in a contemporary arts festival in Sri Lanka, and she will be visiting Bangladesh in February 2016 to participate in the Dhaka Art SummitHaving exhibited in Australia, Canada, India and the USA, Janet's work is in private collections in all four countries and articles have been written in local newspapers and published articles.
Find out more about Janet's practice www.janetmeaney.wix.com/performance

Janet Meaney, Puppeteer, 2013, Tallin Estonia
(the precariousness of an artist pulling her own strings)

During my residency at Gunyah, I plan to examine the local shoreline looking for indications of the rise in sea level such as erosion of the sand and receding shoreline and or changes in nearby estuaries and sand bars. I will also look for ways in which these issues have been addressed and their effectiveness. My findings will be documented through photographs, video and drawings, which, after examination in the studio, will be employed to formulate a performance that I will execute on the beach before a live audience. A video of the performance will be screened in subsequent venues in Canberra. An example of this type of work is a piece titled 'Running Against Time' in which I run between two enormous one metre long glass egg times placed at either end of the narrow section of a sand bar that divides the sea from a low lying estuary. My running gives a sense of urgency to the piece and tipping the timers up in turn points to the futility of trying to manipulate time. An umpire’s seat situated at one end the sandbar invites the viewer to observe the inevitability of the sea breaking into the estuary, but left empty it stymies any true view of the immanent danger it poses to the coastline by flooding and the impact on the community.

Janet Meaney, Sitting on Ones Hands, proposed performance for Brazil 2015
(ten people sitting on their hands as the sea rises towards high tide)

Janet Meaney, Halo, Colombo, Sri Lanka, March 2015
(a performance in collaboration with Pakistani artist Zoya Siddiqui)

Janet Meaney, Rocks in Her Head, 2015
(you know the old saying)

Sharon McKenzie: artist-in-residence Sept 2015

Sharon McKenzie, Gunyah studio, September 2015

After a nine-hour drive from Ipswich to North Arm Cove and arriving in the dark I immediately unpacked and set up the studio, the children excitedly chose the loft as their sleeping quarters and promptly went to sleep. I awoke at dawn to be greeted by a wonderful sunrise and several local birds, bees and a leaf tailed gecko. 

Sharon McKenzie, Gunyah excursion, September 2015
The days quickly took on a routine of working through the morning, drawing and painting the colors of the Australian bush surrounding the house with afternoons spent exploring and photographing slightly further afield. During our stay the weather was a challenge with 40-knot winds and pouring rain we spent a lot of time in the beautiful tree house, reading and researching our own interests. However we also took trips to local beaches (during a brief break in the weather) and to the tallest tree in NSW (despite the pouring rain). We also made a visit to Newcastle Art Gallery and picked up a Sun print kit I later used to make prints from some of the fallen leaves and branches.
Sharon McKenzie, Gunyah foreshore, September 2015

The stay at the house was a wonderful opportunity to combine work and family without TV/digital distractions. Over the week I could see the change from frantic excitement to quiet relaxation take place among the family members helped along by the lovely warm fire and winter like weather we experienced. The children enjoyed watching the daily eating habits of the local wildlife including the resident wallaby who had an occupied pouch and would come close to the house easily viewed from the studio, decking or favorite window seat. During my time at Gunyah I generated a lot of ideas and works towards my solo exhibition next February and enjoyed the break from the normal routine of daily life. 

Sharon McKenzie
September 2015