Rosie Lloyd-Giblett
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"Talking of Elephants" written by Meaghan Shelton, Artist, Arts Writer, educator. November 2011


'Talking of elephants' ... in conversation with Rosie Lloyd-Giblett about her new works on paper

there is much said of memory and the 'old ways'. She speaks of the old stories, of a time and

place gone by and the old romance of the pace which belonged to her Grandmother's era. It's

been said that it is not the place of contemporary art to be nostalgic, but if POP is going to eat

itself from what will it feed? Like the Oroborus eating its tail and rebirthing itself in a constant

cycle of life and death, it is the artist who embodies this archetype so completely. The same can

be said in the platitude, ‘you've got to know where you've been to know where you are going'.

For Rosie LG the realisation of herself as an artist is manifest in the retrospective, retrograde and


Her childhood nickname was 'the dust collector'. If anyone was throwing something out Rosie

would be first to put up her hand saying “I'll have it!” Members of her family would often enquire

“what on earth are you going to do with that?” Her motto is, never waste anything. A scrap from a

drawing which didn't quite 'work' winds up as part of a vase in a new collage, a slightly imperfect

print serves as a wondrous birthday card for a neighbourhood child. Rosie LG practices what she

preaches. Like the ring left on the dressing table where your Grandmother's crystal bowl used to

sit, the memory is as important as the moment the object is imbued with, affording an opportunity

to relive those experiences time and time again.

Our conversations about the work are dotted with the formal aspects of art making along with

exchanging stories about precious trinkets passed on to us respectively and drinking tea made

from a pot, always served in bone china cups, we set to launch into another few hours of intense

engagement with her work. "This life can be quite sterile” says the artist. ”If you lose your Mum's

jewels you lose a piece of them… the kitchen bench is the centre of family life... these values are

no longer held precious, I get upset when I hear people say 'I'm too busy' because we need to

take the time to have those conversations about how we are going. I mean there's nothing quite

like the smell of a house where a meal is being prepared, it can just be quite simple, but it's real".

We agree on this and then turn back to the drawings to discuss the balance of the picture plane

and which colour would be good to use to bring an object forward.

Rosie Lloyd-Giblett’s art practice wrestles with an attempt to resolve the conflicting worlds in

which she has lived, from four years spent working as teacher, arts educator and mentor in

Aboriginal communities to two years teaching in Africa. Her life now and for the past eight years is

lived in a bustling country town, working at the local primary school and raising her four children.

She speaks of the profound rite of passage which occurred when teaching in Lockhart River and

Africa when she lived amongst the villagers there. How she had to cast off everything she had

previously known of herself and her deep respect for the women of these places with their firm

resolve regarding decisions made within the matriarchy about what was best for their


Amongst LG's explosive use of colour is a naive imagery juxtaposed with giant, monumental

female figures looking over the landscape, morphing with a terrain of foliage, pattern and

architecture. They are custodian like as in 'In the village'. Her strong line work is repetitive and

obsessive, full of the energy of all that's been held in. When the floodgates are opened fractured

spaces are created allowing memory to come flooding in. There are subtle divisions of space in

these works where the shadow is alluded to suggesting this constructed world threatens to

dissolve into nature. The repeated image of the chair is in homage to Van Gogh and his use of

pure colour. The narrative of ‘Dear Vincent’ tells of the din of children, suddenly silenced by their

departure, a doll left fallen on the floor acknowledges the invisibility of the mother; ever present to

return order to the scene. In 'Tiptoe- tiptoe' the pensive child at the table is privy to adult

conversations however she is reminded of her place by the three wise monkeys sitting on the

table, foliage coming through the window and the flowers in the vase are intertwined. ‘Zebra’ an

early work from this series sets the scene for a ritualised offering…'In the divine scriptures, there

are shallows and there are deeps; shallows where the lamb may wade and deeps where an

elephant could swim’. (John Owen)

By Meaghan Shelton

Artist, Arts Educator, Arts Writer. November 2011