Come, see real
of this painful world.
What does it mean to feel a sense of belonging, to be embodied and present in a specific place? Or to feel out of place, displaced, unconnected to ourselves and others? Can the woodlands, mountains, streams, rivers, seas, deserts, grasslands, towns, and cities of our childhood influence our sense of self and continue to resonate within us as adults? How important is nature when so many of us by necessity or choice live in cities? Does having a connection to the place we live really matter?
As an artist and writer who lived for twenty-one years in America, twenty-five years in England, and twenty-five years in Australia, I asked myself these questions as I observed my artwork radically change with conscious intent and unconsciously in relation to the places where I lived. I was awarded a PhD from the University of New South Wales in Sydney for my thesis Art of Place and Displacement: Embodied Perception and the Haptic Ground. It included material from my interview with the Canadian-American artist Agnes Martin in Taos, New Mexico, and my experiences volunteering with Aboriginal women artists for five years at the remote Aboriginal outstation of Utopia in the Northern Territory of Australia.
My paintings, sculptures, photography, poetry, and essays reflect the power of place, displacement, and nature. In my writing, I combine my research with reflections on my art practice, life and journeys across countries and cultures. My writing has been published in books and international journals, and my artwork has been chosen for nine book covers. My artwork has been shown in over sixty art exhibitions, including fourteen solo exhibitions. A curated 25-year solo retrospective of my work was shown in two venues in Australia in 2005, and a 40-year solo museum retrospective of my artwork was held in England between November 2021 and March 2022.
Earlier this year, I was interviewed by Giovanni Aloi, editor of Antennae: The Journal of Nature in Visual Culture about Australian Aboriginal art and culture, and my work at Utopia for the Spring 2023 edition: Antennae Issue 61. It can be freely downloaded as a back issue at: https://www.antennae.org.uk
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Painting above: Floating World by Victoria King, 50 x 50 cm, oil on canvas.
Poem by Matsuo Basho (1644 - 1694) from On Love and Barley: Haiku of Basho, © Penguin Classics, 1985.
© Artwork and text copyright Dr. Victoria King 2023.