Shannon and Patrick Ronald hail from rural New South Wales but more or less began their creative collaboration while studying in Tasmania in 2005. Their first series of photographs that employed intricate digital processes to create highly detailed images was MICROCOSM – Launceston Heritage Study (2005), which is held in the QVMAG Collection. Their first major documentary project was Disappearing Tasmania: An Image of the West (2006), an intensive survey illustrating what creates and sustains a community and what visible evidence marks a town’s decline.
The Ronalds returned to NSW after their two years in Tasmania, and subsequently developed ways to scale up their intriguing image making processes. They won the Poimena Art Award at Launceston Church Grammar School in 2007 for a work entitled m2, a 1:1 scale image of a square meter of a bathroom. In 2009, using a similar methodology the Ronalds ‘renovated’ the old colonial kitchen at Entally House at Hadspen with slick formica benches and cabinets and contemporary white goods. They also temporarily subdivided the beautiful gardens in readiness for the construction of a large number of high density units, much to the consternation of many visitors to this stately home.
In Habits & Habitat, the Ronalds continue to use their extraordinary skills with digital photography and their fascination with making things to scale, by reconstructing a domestic rural interior that triggers stories about a time that may have passed, but now which lives on in our collective memory.
The project is curated by Bec Dean and was originally presented at Performance Space in Sydney. In this reworking of Habits & Habitat viewers are invited to rediscover the familiar on this intensive visual treasure hunt, which will be on show as part of Ten Days’ Tasmanian International Arts Festival (TIAF) at the Queen Victoria Museum, Inveresk from Friday 20 March to Sunday 26 April.
Following TIAF, the Ronalds will be completing IN COMMON – Public Areas of the Murrumbidgee/Riverina, to be presented at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery later this year. In this project the artists return to the small scale of their original work, reconstructing sites and objects from throughout the region in miniature three-dimensional realism.
All of the Ronalds’ projects defy commonsense, and test the imagination as to how they might be made. The artists will be talking about the intriguing ‘hows and whys’ at a floor talk at 11am on Saturday 21 March 2015 at the Queen Victoria Museum, Inveresk.
Jane Deeth, Visual Arts Coordinator