MEET LAURIE OXENFORD
What was the inspiration behind your piece for SWELL Sculpture Festival 2022?
I started developing Anthropic [Concrete] Rocks while participating in the Generate GC program in 2021. The program provokes and equips artists to push boundaries, take creative risks and develop new site-specific work that responds to the unique potential of Gold Coast communities and environments.
The work is about an ongoing and evolving series of everyday exchanges between the city and myself, taking form as a walking practice and the exploration of liminimal public spaces to collect concrete rocks.
The Gold Coast is in a period of intense urban growth marked by increasing demolition, construction, and infrastructure development. As a result of this, concrete rocks (rock forms made of concrete; often a result of spillage, demolition or degradation) have edged their way into public spaces beyond the work site and are appearing as an everyday urban geological phenomenon in *rock* form.
The concrete rock is the byproduct of urban/anthropic ecologies (how human behaviours, systems, and actions permanently or temporarily alter and degrade space with industrial infrastructure and material) which, through this project, is reimagined as a tool to navigate and explore unusual, back-of-house or liminal city *unspaces* as places of socio-cultural potential and interest. I want to draw attention to the systems, behaviours, rules and values at play in public space.
Interactions with and journeys to find concrete rocks have revealed new transit paths and other methods of navigating public space beyond [digital] maps and instructional signage. Concrete rocks became a tool to negate hyper-productivity and hyper-accurate navigation, to encourage aimless wandering, performing new actions in public space and using instincts/curiosity to explore freely.
Beyond that, I love rocks and exploring where I live.
What does exhibiting in the 20th year of SWELL Sculpture Festival mean to you?
A chance to share a work I’m really proud of in an incredibly unique context. There’s something super fascinating about a site that has been activated with so many different artworks over a long period of time – how it can become new again each iteration of the festival.
I’m so excited to be showing alongside so many talented artists.
Would you rather go into the past and meet your favourite artists or go into the future to see the future of art?
I’m very happy to be in the here and now.
Obviously, great inspiration and direction is drawn from the past and I’m excited about what’s to come, but I care most about the work being made in the present.
Are there any budding artists that you’re excited to see evolve?
Seamus Platt, Sasha Hunt, Merinda Davies, Rene Danika, Jemima Lucas, Jay Jermyn, Erin Hallyburton, Shaun Allen, Emily Young, Georgia Morgan, Tarryn Love, Lowana Davies.
If you were a biscuit, which biscuit would you be?
Salted choc chip.
Did you have any favourite artists when you were growing up?
Rosalie Gascoigne, Frank Stella, Kerry Johns, Marianne Penberthy.
Has your art practice changed over time?
It’s changing and expanding everyday. It’s always becoming more about process, research, collaboration and play – I’m trying to try new things regularly and give things the time they demand. Collaboration has become a focal point through PUBLIC PALACE, the artist collective that Grace Dewar and myself started in 2021.
If we ran into you at the pub, what drink should we offer to buy you?
A beer. Anything but Guinness.
What is the trickiest part of being an artist?
The self-doubt and balancing following my own creative desires versus what I think my creative desires should be.
What is the strangest thing or thought that has inspired a piece of artwork, you have created or experienced?
So many pieces of concrete and treasure. Hand-painted signs. A concrete/stone tile with a suitcase handle (everything can be on wheels).
Do you prefer to create for others or for yourself?
I create for myself, whether it be on my own or in collaboration with others. I like making things for my friends and for strangers.
What activity do you think they were they doing down by the school yard in Paul Simons famous song, “Me and Julio down by the school yard”?
Just listened to this for the first time… Everything is better when there’s someone to share with?
No one really knows where they’re going or what they’re doing.
Joss Smith is an emerging graphic designer based in Tweed Heads, loving everything visual and immersive. Her passion for the creative arts has led her to study a Bachelor of Visual Communication and Graphics. She hopes to balance her love for the arts, culture and nature with her strengths in communication and management to create wicked designs with wicked people.