Beauty and darkness from digital creative

January 22, 2022 BY

Colour, pattern, contrast: Dianne Dickson and her dog Yarni visited Backspace last week check out the newly hung exhibition. Photos: EDWINA WILLIAMS.

AS long as a person has a smartphone in their pocket, they’re carrying around what can be a compact digital art studio, full of creative apps, palettes of photos and colours, ideas, and endless reference material.

Currently without a dedicated physical space for making, devices like that are something that visual artist Dianne Dickson said she enjoys using day-to-day, “mimicking” more traditional, hands-on art practices within her palm.

Over the past two years, especially while separated from family, she has pulled together expressive digital pieces on her phone, using free apps and her own photos of wallpaper and fabric patterns, before printing them off, and adding colourful embellishments by hand.

Many of these works are currently on show in Dickson’s current exhibition titled My Cyberspace Studio, on at the Backspace Gallery.

The works have been mostly created digitally, with prints receiving final embellishments by hand.

A former teacher in maximum security prisons, her pieces are not just visually experimental, but thematically inspired by the human experience, her own trauma, anxieties, and seeking safety.

“It’s about some parts of being a human being; traumas of varying kinds, being on your own, isolation… The trauma that I experienced is personal in the workplace,” she said.

“Photographing and using domestic wallpaper and fabric gives me a sense of home and safety, but at the same time, the echo of…the ugly stuff. A lot of violence is within the home.”

Art Gallery of Ballarat assistant director, engagement Humphrey Clegg said Dickson is exploring “new frontiers.”

“They’re really beautiful items, and looking at them, it’s hard to tell they’re printed. Some look crocheted, like a wall-hanging,” he said.

“The fabric reminds me of couches, and there’s a texture of keeping up appearances.

“But they’ve also got an interesting stark contrast within them. There’s a black dog attacking someone… There’s beauty of texture and image, and the violence as well.”

Backspace Gallery is within the Art Gallery of Ballarat.