Robyn Stacey - Supermodels

Exhibition: 12 October to 17 November, 2005

Robyn Stacey

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Supermodels, Robyn Stacey's exhibition at Stills Gallery, continues her exploration of natural historical collections, created in response to the Macleay Collection housed at the University of Sydney. The collection goes back to Alexander Macleay, who arrived in Sydney with his family in 1826, bringing with him an already extensive collection from Europe. This, combined with what Macleay proceeded to collect in the Asia Pacific region, became the cornerstone of science in Australia, having spawned the Australian Museum, the collection in the Botanic Garden as well as the Macleay Museum.

Stacey has photographed specimens, artefacts and scientific models such as wooden flowers or creatures built for scientific study and then presented these works in a contemporary context: wooden flowers are set against a surrealist sky, a skull is animated by using lenticular technology. Other works reference the Dutch still life tradition, in particular, banquet pieces. Supermodel #1, for example, is a carefully constructed tableaux of wooden models and objects that celebrates Macleay's taste and idiosyncrasies.

With her unprecedented access to important and relatively hidden natural history collections, Stacey allows us to contemplate the act of collecting and the underlying drive to classify and categorise the natural environment by assembling specimens and objects. She also reveals the idiosyncratic character of collectors' personal obsessions, interests and individual histories that are reflected in the objects they assemble.

The works on show are a preview for a larger exhibition in 2006.

Robyn Stacey is one of Australia's foremost photo-artists. She has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions both in Australia and overseas since the mid 1980's. Her photographic works are held in the collections of Artbank, National Gallery of Australia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of Western Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery and many private collections.