The work of Violet COSTELLO, winner of the 2020 ‘Procreate Project – Mother Art Prize Online Award,’ is inspired by the complexities of the human condition: our quirks and familiarities, our moments of loneliness and moments of joy, the ways in which we identify and represent ourselves in and to the world. With a practice incorporating painting, sculpture and installation, Costello explores the home, familial relations and society's ability to shape identity. A common thread in much of her work has been the consideration of children's world of play, a realm where reality readily gives way to, and is confused with, imagination – as can be seen in her ambitious series Bringing Home Baby.
The paintings in Bringing Home Baby depict the meeting of innocent babyhood with prevailing, if idiosyncratic, culture. In each work, a baby is confronted by the foreign and intensely detailed culture of a family home: Germaine Greer’s The Female Eunuch on the floor or the 1970s American sitcom Flying Nun on TV; two men happily knitting; a sunburnt dad barbecuing; a bejewelled mom sunbathing; a blue teen in angst; a tattooed mother in a swim cap; and a buttoned-up father in a monkey hat. The walls are hung with art: a Basquiat, a black velvet nude, a Klimt, a bullfighter. The Surrealist quality of these domestic scenes evokes the strangeness of a baby’s new world and is suggestive of the complex processes by which culture defines and imposes the identity that will shape a baby’s life.
Press release courtesy Richard Saltoun Gallery.