Monday, March 23, 2009

My Lastest art paper

A Visual Analysis of Sweet Sorrow, a work by Rosalie Gascoigne

A Visual Analysis of Sweet Sorrow, a work by Rosalie Gascoigne

When describing the works of Rosalie Gasgcoigne, Edmund Capon maintains “Her work is inspired by the surroundings of her immediate landscape...” (Edwards p.5 1998). Sweet Sorrow, a work created from yellow road signs, is obviously inspired by her familiar physical landscape, yet it speaks just as powerfully of the emotional landscape and our human nature.

Commonly, road signs are warnings. These bright yellow signs are placed along the roads to assist drivers through dangers of traveling. This common experience of this cannot be forgotten when you view this work.Yet, this work expresses not of the dangers of road travel, but the dangers of the heart, love and the sadness instead. The words love, sadly, wed and sad are romantic ones which encourage an strong emotional response. This is not what we traditionally experience when we encounter road signs, we expect a common sense warning of a danger we can pass through if we concentrate and moderate our driving skills. Sweet Sorrow has a very different warning, and it’s message is unexpected. It is not the traditional view of a happy romantic union. The words, love, wed and sadly does not lie within the traditional ideology of marriage, it should be happily, love and wed. Encountering such an negative, or dysfunctional attitude on the “road sign” creates a significant tension between what we expect to encounter and what we are actually looking at. We feel challenged by this unorthodox “road sign” as our expectation of road signs are to guide us quickly and safely past simple dangers, a bend in the road or steep decent not a message that confronts our comfortable traditional beliefs about marriage.

Commonly, a road sign is read quickly as it usually encountered from a moving vehicle and responded to almost automatically, Road signs displayed short sharp messages designed to allow this. Sweet Sorrow confounds this traditional with a complex emotional message of love displayed within a practical, instructional road sign. When viewing this piece there is a tension between the need to contemplate the emotional message of love and sadness and the common experience of rapidly reading a road sign, heeding it’s warning and moving quickly past it. This work asks to be contemplated, it’s message is not expected nor easily taken on board. it is not the common view of love and marriage, instead of a romantic dream it speaks more of a nightmare. Yet the common experience when reading the road sign is to glance, take on board the message quickly, respond, and drive on past. Yet this work confounds this as instead of a simple warning or instruction that we can understand quickly and drive on past we are stopped. Instead we see the complexities of marriage and the possibilities of pain and sadness. Our comfort zone has been lost and we need to contemplate.

Sweet Sorrow has a very poignant message about our emotional human nature. The message present in this work, created from road signs, suggests a warning about the ignoring the great sadness that can occur within marriage. This work plays with the idea of public warning by challenging tradition within the context of a commonly experienced part of our human landscape, the humble road sign. Although this work does speak of the Australian environment it is still carries a far more complex message.


Australian Biography. Interview with Rosalie Gascoigne. Visited 19/.03.09

Edwards, Deborah Material as Landscape Rosalie Gascoigne. Sydney. The Art Gallery of NSW/The Pot Still Press. 1998.

MacDonald,Vici. Rosalie Gascoigne. Sydney. Regaro Pty Ltd. 1998.

National Gallery Victoria. Rosalie Gascoigne Education Resource Visited: 18.03.09

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