‘Make Yourself at Home’, a solo exhibition by Melbourne based artist Goodie, explores notions of comfort, safety and routine – ideas commonly associated with ‘home’.
Processes are perpetually underway to render things familiar, form habits and configure certainties, in order for us to feel comfortable. We are continually coming to terms with the relationship between our bodies, other’s bodies and the space we inhabit, which function in a way as secondary bodies.
Nevertheless, what is familiar is only a recurring strangeness. ‘Make Yourself at Home’ considers the curious relationship between the mundane and the bizarre. The recognisable is married with abstract, private with public, inside with outside, while ideas and mediums reverberate within each other and happen simultaneously on multiple levels. The show is a pattern of hypotheticals and realities, incorporating installation, painting, works on objects, objects in works, works on works, works on paper, collaborative noise works and poetry.
We sat with Goodie in the lead up to her show….
Damo: Can we just start with you introducing yourself and a little bit about who you are?
Goodie: Hello I’m Goodie… Who am I? I’m predominantly a painter I suppose. But I also work in installation and a bit in film, poetry, illustration, anything. I’m just a human being.
Damo: What’s your background?
Goodie: I’m originally from Canberra however I was born in California. I lived there for the first 2 years of my life. I then grew up in Canberra and moved to Melbourne about 3 years ago.
Damo: What was it like growing up in Canberra?
Goodie: It was good. I always thought it was a good place to grow up. A lot of time to just walk around and the legal wall system in Canberra is unlike any other state. In Canberra there are around 25 legal walls, so there are heaps of places where you can go to paint. But I think the main thing is it’s just really easygoing. You walk down the street and you bump into a bunch of friends. I found coming to Melbourne was a bit like a sensory overload.
Damo: So why Melbourne?
Goodie: I went away to South America for 4 months and travelled there. I sort of fell in love with getting to know new places and being uncomfortable, coming back to Canberra everything felt a bit repetitive and slow – it felt natural to keep on moving. I had a lot of friends down here. I had been a couple of times before and totally loved it. It just seemed like a logical move. A lot of people say that Melbourne is a lot like Canberra but on steroids.
Damo: You also attended the Victorian College of the Arts.
Goodie: Yeah I graduated from that last year.
Damo: I’m just wondering if you would talk a little bit about your style? How do you describe your artistic practice?
Goodie: Yeah it’s definitely one of those styles that’s hard to describe. It can be very various. I’m open to a lot different mediums and forms, lots to play with. But I guess what binds it all together is maybe my general philosophy and methodology. I believe in improvisation, and rarely plan it all out, its often very situational and site specific or based on the particular context.
When people have asked me in the past I have tried to give them a simple phrase, and have said ‘surreal domesticity’. Kind of mundane, kind of bizarre.
Damo: Do you have artists that have inspired the path you’ve gone down?
Goodie: For sure there are heaps of people in there, hard to say one or two, all manner of different inspirations. There is a lot I like to look at. I want to continue to sort of look at it all as well.
Damo: You work across a number of mediums; Do you have a favorite medium to work with or in? I know you like doing work in abandoned buildings that sort of thing. Do you have a preference?
Goodie: Abandoned buildings would definitely be a real sweet spot for me. At the same time I think I’m the kind of person that I wouldn’t just enjoy doing one thing. The more I’m doing the more it all sort of relates to each other and sort of makes everything make more sense … I just guess things emphasize components of each other.
Damo: ‘Make Yourself at Home’. What’s the concept of the show?
Goodie: I guess it kind of relates to what I just talked about in terms of not picking a particular medium or not just doing one thing. It’s about how everything sort of relates to each other. Also it’s about the idea of home. Home is meant to be a place to be comfortable, but what makes a home? what business goes on behind closed doors. The show is sort of exploring notions of comfort and safety and routine … what is private what is public. How we are continually trying to familiarize ourselves with our environments and come to terms with our bodies, our bodies in environments, feel comfortable in your skin. Overall everything is still tinged with this strangeness.
The show is sort of pairing those two things; comfort and weirdness, never one without the other. It’s doors and furniture and tooth brushing and things that we know but in a way we don’t know them… maybe.
Damo: Some of the show is presented on found objects, is that stuff you found in abandos?
Goodie: Yeah a lot of it is. That tile is found, all those shelves that I’ve painted in, they are all hard rubbish. Once you start accumulating you just accumulate way more because everyone knows you’re accumulating and pass things on. I use things that people are giving away. I do like the mentality of just sort of reusing what I can. Ones’ trash, another’s treasure.
Damo: That’s awesome. You touched on you travelled South America I know you travel quite a bit and have big plans to travel a lot more. How does the travel affect your art? Does it influence your art?
Goodie: Definitely, I guess everything definitely does. In terms of what I’m planning for travel in the future, learning from what I’ve done in the past, is allow the art to facilitate more travel and more connections with people I might not meet otherwise. Really it’s the ultimate facilitator. They’ll hopefully just flow into each other. I’m hoping to do a lot of trading; cutting out the middle man of money. On a practical level .. I’ll have to be more resourceful.
Damo: You’re based a group studio in Melbourne. How do you find the group studio environment? Does it help your work? Does it hinder your work?
Goodie: I love it totally.
Damo: Why is that?
Goodie: I think it’s because I like lots of stuff going on in the place where I’m doing stuff too. Plus you’re surrounded by great people who you can ask for feedback and ask questions.
Damo: Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years? Or where would you like to be in 5-10 years?
Goodie: That’s a good question. I’d like to not know…
Damo: Music wise, who are you into at the moment or what do you listen to when you’re painting?
Goodie: I’ve listened to a lot of music recently. I’ve listened to a lot of PJ Harvey, the Savages… RHYE I don’t know if you know them they are amazing you should check them out, La femme, The Clash
Damo: I know you’re a very, very avid reader. Top three books.
Goodie: Ouch okay… definitely the “Poetics of Space”, Gaston Bachelard would be number one. And then… a second one, maybe this is in no particular order, would be William Burrows’ “Naked Lunch”. And then… what’s next on the list, perhaps… I really love… a poetry book by a Chinese-Australian writer, Ouyang Yu, it’s called “Reality Dreams”. I read slowly, but I love it.
‘Make Yourself at Home’ open this Friday, 17 February at 226A Johnston Street, Fitzroy.
10% of the proceeds from this exhibition will be donated to the Royal Women’s Hospital.