Like so many artists, Vicky Browne has been spending time in lockdown both mourning lost opportunities and counting her blessings. Based in the Blue Mountains in NSW, she has had shows cancelled in three states during the last 18 months, including the touring group exhibition Material Sound, which was due to open at Bayside Gallery in September.
In her Smartphone Snaps photo-essay, Browne talks about what else is lost when a show is cancelled, things like workshops, talks and the chance to connect with other artists and the broader community. But she also turns her lens on her beautiful surroundings, and makes the most of her home studio, the company of her own family and their furry menagerie.
Exhibition cancellations due to Covid-19 can lead to a litany of disappointments. However I’m feeling lucky at the moment for a number of reasons. One is that I have a home studio (it’s messy so I can only show a cropped image).
Another is that I prefer to work outside.
I have two Kelpie sisters. I also have a rabbit, two guinea pigs and a family (not ranked in order).
I live two minutes from a National Park in the Blue Mountains, which I walk in pretty much every day.
We can camp and shoot targets in the backyard if the house feels too small. So lockdown isn’t so bad for us.
I have had a few things cancelled over the last 18 months. When an exhibition is cancelled it is not financial loss that affects me most (unlike the poor gallery installers, who are often employed on a casual basis). The loss I feel from a cancelled exhibition is mostly from the missed opportunity to connect to other people, and scaffolded around an exhibition are artist talks, workshops, performances and openings all of these experiences filter into your practice.
These interactions are important. They make you feel part of something much larger than your practice and this is what I miss most. Like the chat I had with Anna Davis at Galerie Pompom for a solo exhibition Foyer, held a few days before the 2020 Sydney lockdown.
You also can’t be in the gallery to install. Instructions can be sent but I love setting up the work more intuitively, changing things as I go. Here I am installing work for Material Sound at MAMA in Albury in 2018.
Works in progress for a group show, Underground curated by Miriam Williamson, which has had many Covid related delays. A small first iteration will be held in February 2022 at National Parks HQ in Blackheath, NSW (fingers crossed).
With Bernard the bunny.
18 September – 7 November
Due to the current Covid-19 pandemic, opening hours of galleries and museums across Australia are affected. Bayside Gallery is currently closed, and exhibition dates may change. We recommend that you check the gallery website prior to visiting.