I asked Ric to write a short catalogue essay for my exhibition Understanding Alice, because I had been to an exhibition of jewellery he opened at Heathcote a couple of years ago. He spoke about the work in a way to provide more meaning to the viewer but without shutting down the interpretation. He also did a great interview with Sean Tan. And I have really enjoyed his exhibition program at the Fremantle Arts Centre, where he is the currator.
When I received the essay it wasn’t at all what I expected but I really liked it, see what you think…..
In and through the Rabbit Hole Ric Spencer
The White Rabbit appears intermittently in Understanding Alice. The White Rabbit is late, late for a very important date. But of course he isn’t. He is where he is needed, where he is supposed to be… a guide, a narrator, a provocateur. Set in a series of “notes-to- self”, an enunciation to self-determination, Understanding Alice prompts and pushes at Shana’s comprehension of her own journey, of her-self wrapped up in time and space, nestled and wrestled through experiences. As an escapade of symbology Understanding Alice pits the dreamlike nature of the world against the reality of life being a very real series of events and circumstances. The free-flowing consciousness of Shana’s imagery offers us just such a series of events – reading like a tarot and working like the rabbit as a guide – they unfurl along a path of understanding, acceptance and the realisation that life is a learning opportunity.
To be where you are is to be where you are supposed to be – to be the White Rabbit (I am the White Rabbit, I am the White Rabbit). Not the anxious, late for something, need to be elsewhere, too busy to talk White Rabbit – but the one who is where he needs to be for the story to continue along; for growth to unfold. Shana’s bold, fluid lines, open and inviting, pull us along like Charles Dodgson’s* musings on a slow flowing stream on a languid summer’s day. In Shana’s images Alice never engages us; we are cursory to her story. She is embedded in her own sense of becoming, beyond our judgement, oblivious to our questions. In her own way – or on her own way – she is reminding us that there is always room at the Mad Hatter’s table (a table where time has stopped and life is lived, eternally, in the moment) for those of us who have the courage to accept the challenge of being where we are supposed to be – which is where you are.
* Charles Dodgson, the Author of Alice in Wonderland published under the pen name Lewis Carroll
Dr Ric Spencer is an artist and writer and currently Curator at Fremantle Arts Centre.
If you are in Melbourne on September 25th 2015 come along to the opening 6pm – 8pm at the Firestation Print Studio 2 Willis Street Armadale.