My current body of work comprises what, for me, are acts of resilience and resistance. Whenever a child arrives into a home – a joyous arrival – that home is transformed. So, a place once filled with friends and conversation, with introspection and inspiration, became a site of obligation and duty – endless chores endlessly repeated.
Previously, my work had explored the relationship between figures and the spaces they occupy, and then developed through a focus on the way the spaces themselves, depopulated, could shape the emotions and stories that emerge in them. Always in my painting, I let these places – landscapes, interiors, industrial sites - filter through me and embody the mood I imagine them to have.
My latest works are my attempts to emerge out of a domestic space loaded with the tedium of domestic chores. While not all stay-at-home parents are female, the spectre of being trapped in this position is especially haunting for women who had previously fought hard to establish their independence and autonomy. I found that by reimagining the sites and scenes in this domestic space I could transform it from a trap into points of reconnection, reconnect with my creative self; each work is an imaginative shift in perspective, a defiance of the mundane.
As with my previous work, I balance figure and abstraction, with identifiable objects as departure points for interpretation and play. I have a longstanding fascination with theatre as a metaphor for seeing and being seen; I am interested in the way the setting of the work forms a frame that both supports and undermines the objects that inhabit them. The tension between the object and the perception of it, is reflected in the experience of a parent in domestic spaces, always being shaped by the expectations on them as parents, just as they resist these to maintain their own identity.
Renata Pari-Lewis is a Sydney based artist. She completed her Masters in 2008 at the National Art School in Sydney.
Renata Pari, 2018