Cultural Product

Cultural Product
Serving Suggestion

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Minimalism vs Maximalism

Two sides, each reacting to each other. I am interested in both, and wonder if perhaps I am a minimalist in a small space. My photos don't tell the truth, they lie about the space, framing it falsely. I am very inspired by most art work, whether I love it or don't I either want to improve on it, or wish I had made it myself. There is a lot of work that I am ambivalent about, I think that's normal.

Sometimes my work is essentially a hint, a suggestion, perhaps something that could be explored further, as a line which may be expanded upon at some stage. I often see projects as play areas, where I can expose and try out ideas. I know some artists who will only show a very finished work, but that is not me. I relish the idea of public presentation, the reality has it's own limitations. Perhaps if I had a really big studio I could turn it into an ongoing gallery project, and invite, sounds like The Factory...

I am interested in creating designated spaces where work occurs, work spaces can be so inviting and I relish setting up spaces where you can project your own narrative.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Turn the light on

How lucky? For 2 minutes each day, the sun came through the window and appeared to turn the 'light' on!
photo Deborah Vaughan

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Paradise Found

While making work for the show and negotiating beauty and content, a doco played for 2 weeks on the ABC; Paradise Found. It is a super piece of film making about the arts of Islam, architecture and history. I was gobsmacked throughout, ashamedly admitting there was so much that I didn't know about the Islamic influence on all Europe, and much of the world. Had my education been deficient? We find paradise through understanding, through seeing and loving. My world is enhanced by my vision and exultation that we are all in this together, each individual one of us, at different stages, co-existing. The doco made me understand that art in mosques was there to uplift the viewer and contemplate beauty itself. The spires leading to heaven, closer to God.

I am not religious, except about my committment to the earth itself.

But this program helped make me accept what I had made.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Red white and blue

Re-scheduled work; Have we found paradise? This world of plenty where 1/4 of the world consume 3/4 of the resources. Shocking shit out there. I joke that if the water levels rise, my works would all float. I often wonder what will happen to plastics in landfill over millions of years. This work is a couple of years old, and only the ABC shop bags have deteriorated.
I would like to cover a giant field with logos, I loved the AIDS quilt, and the mass of decoration as well as commemoration.

Saturday, May 31, 2008


Letters given to me by the wonderful Kate Sowerby, they had been used in labs for labelling on x-ray film. I found the material in a box, it was cut exactly the size 0f the vitrine it is installed in. Also, it reminds me of Liz Day. On reflection I recalled the essay Marise Williams wrote for the Our Lucky Country catalogue.
She wrote;
"Sarah Goffman is a slave to her materials. This is her intention and this is how she likes it. She takes the stuff of everyday life as it finds her and rearranges it, layering and embellishing the flotsam and jetsam of consumer culture, the ordinary, the discarded and what we take for granted - what we don’t notice because we see it all the time. As a reclamation artist, Goffman makes us look at the ordinary with our own eyes invigorated by her artistic interpretive process. Her gift is an ability to reveal the special life of objects: familiar quotidian artifacts are lovingly reclaimed, recrafted and reendowed with the value of a common cultural significance – something we can all relate to, something we all have in common, or we’d like to share."


Around the University

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Can't decide what font to use! There are so few to choose from and I want MY OWN. Elvis Richardson suggested I start a blog, so here I am.

Here we are; Tin Sheds Gallery show PARADISE FOUND April 29 - May 17 2008 install view

Want to try and document my shows and write about the links I've explored that inform and enhance the works.

In the foreground; low table on trestles Happiness Table this is made out of cardboard, plastics, handmade paper, wire, glass, fimo, texter and plaster. I made this in response to a picture from my Redbook "Happiness" diary, which pictured such a table setting. I have tried to simulate the beauty and fragility of this chinoiserie, by using found and made objects.

Background; Greens Plastics and more plastics, hot glue, mirror, water. I have been collecting and using plastics for my whole art career. I had kept a plastic bag from Vienna 1979, it always seemed too precious to throw away. The varying shades of green are so beautiful, I have hung on to every scrap, displayed here. Many of these pieces are discarded remnants from other old artworks, re-employed.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Greening Australia

Top: install view
Bottom: detail
Do you see "Free Duty" on the right image? Thats from some airport bag I had been given, and I love it. I have worked with Duty Free bags for a number of years. I like the notions of duty as a concept. What is your duty? What are ours? I know 'duty free' has to do with tarifs and thereby involves a monetary system, but I think it illustrates so much more. Trade and exchange of goods delegate our lives, consumer culture and monetary systems regulate our time. Here I am collecting all these green plastic bags, the scraps too beautiful to throw away...the greens captivate me. My duty is to be captivated! I am such a product of this culture!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


There was a story book I had as a child where the sick kid made a world in his bed, using the bedspread as mountains. Deborah Vaughan sent me an Emily Dickinson poem about the bed, and I whipped together a tablecloth reaction. The bones come from some find, but I glued them together with hot glue, also an animal product. How well they adhered! The plates on the floor are stickered, from a Pirate sticker book mainly. Raquel Ormella suggested I do multiples.

After I completed the tablecloth I found a piece of red gingham I'd been saving for ever so many years, and glued that on in situ.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Colour cont.

Install detail
Install detail the blues do not reproduce well, but there is a light box underneath.

Blue time

I love blue. Who doesn't? In fact, I love every colour, as there is a place for each and every one. Plastics, found and collected, a light blue nylon jacket that I'd found and couldn't give away and couldn't get myself to throw away, so it got put on a plinth and I got a clear helium balloon ($1.50), for the opening night to act as a head.

This piece was assisted by my neighbour Russell, as he had a piece of perspex that he gave me to make the tabletop, and Rod from the plastics lab who used a new bandsaw to cut it into a semi circle for me.

I must add that all the plastics I use are found or donated by my friends and family.

In addition to this (in the blue corner) is a video I shot at Newtown Aquarium only a few weeks ago. I've simply watched the salt water fish, and shot footage of their beauty, and sinister encapsulated quality...what a blue they use in tanks. I stumbled upon the new shop a few weeks ago, while out searching for inspiration, after a day of slaving over some large banners. It'd been raining incessantly and I was suffering cabin fever so I went for a walk. The Aquarium shop is just around the corner but I hadn't been up there for months and had no idea it was so close by, and pretty well kept. I met the manager, Sherwin, who didn't mind me filming at a quiet time, so I went back the next day...they didn't care that it was for art work. But what got me was this takeaway container punctured with holes that they kept this white snake thing with black spots, underwater. I will try and grab an image of it for was so terribly sad, confined in this jail. It summed up what I was doing, better than I could say myself.

I have situated the blue works in the corner of the gallery that leaks when there is torrential rain. Apparently the water pools in a lake on the floor there. Wow.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Install view


Plastics, sellotape, lights

I am obsessed with red. It actually looks quite pink in some places, but I don't care. I love it, I love it glowing with light behind it, it makes me so happy to see it. I need to take some more photos to show you what it looks like from outside, 'cos you see the insides of the bags, and there is something architectural about their appearance, collated in a random formation. I had been working on this piece for months, and some of the plastics were from the 1990's. I remember making a red centre box out of Grace Bros. bags for a show in Darwin at 24 hour art in 2001 for Eco-boutique with Josie Cavallaro and Lisa Kelly. That was the first time I conjoined in this way.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Back room antics

Detail floor work , this contains all my favourite saved bags
Detail (Velasquez)
Does it remind you of the beach? It is supposed to. I got up one morning and this is what really happened and I thought it needed to be reproduced.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Pretty things

Can I ever get enough of colour?
It just begs to be configured and placed together and apart. Its so easy and fun to do, I could do it endlessly.
I realise when I look at what I have made in the gallery that is merely an extension of my house. I don't have enough room for all I make, so I have to rent and show in spaces so that I can lay it all out. All those thought processes, and associations. Lately I have been thinking that I am simply a painter who works with 3-d spaces and objects. I like reality. I enjoy the relics of our present day consumerism. I understand that we live in a disposable culture, and are lucky to have such an abundance. I am a materialist, and a maximalist. I conserve and also convert objects. I am doing what I have to do.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Slave Lives

This hot glue piece sprayed with copper was re-squeduled from a show last year. I had made it for VICTORIA! at Ocular Lab in Melbourne, hosted by my besty great artist Elvis Richardson.
I love bling, and think it is so interesting wearing loads of jewellry. Ostentatious.
Anyway, the slogan comes from the Police signs; "SAVE LIVES", but in a way we are slaves to life. I don't want to live forever, but I also don't want to die right now, and I really want to enjoy life, but sometimes it is so hard.
When we wear amulets they can serve various purposes. I've always been intrigued by ritual and faith, every culture has an abundance of ways to demonstrate their status. Symbols and iconology...carrying your wealth...we serve our cultural purposes and increasingly I am ceasing to believe in free will. We are products of our genes and society. I am an amalgam of everyone I have ever met, to some degree, and believe I am free, and make my choices. But.
Another part of this work (not pictured) says "Made by slaves". Because much is, whether we like it or not.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Some More

1. Found pencils

2. Found erasers
3. Tally ho numbers 1-42
Each part of the gallery gets treatment. After five days this work that you see, was all I could do, but on Saturday when I mind it, I can fiddle and add. I would dearly like to have a space for one year and go all the way. Install process is fantastic, I can't find a better high than finding a place for every thing, and the connections that are made between objects. Sometimes when I am placing things, I feel like there are all these extraneous elements that just act as supports for the one true and dear thing. It is up to the public to enjoy those relationships and find them for themselves.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Happiness Table 2008

Little was I to know that Anne Kay would invite people to sit on the floor, around my fashionable table set. Sometimes you make things and have no idea how they will function. I just saw it as a table setting re-fashioned out of disposable objects, but to see it being used as a conversation point was delightful.

Original image; Peter Sclesinger, Lunch table Chateau Mouton Redbook Diary 2004. Subsequently re-named Happiness Table 2008

Monday, May 12, 2008


Footbridge symmetry; I'd been doing these sorts of florals on my plastics.

Too easy...
The building next door (where Tin Sheds used to be)

PJ brought this board in and plonked it down here, and it was right. Very little needed to be added, as it was perfect the way it was, but naturally I added a bit of decoration, along with a past work that I had used down the road in a show at Frontroom Gallery (kitchen) in 2002 called After you which I felt could stand to be re-scqueduled (thanks DMC). Two photos of Big Ben fit perfectly at the edges and a wonderful image of a Chinese landscape sat down the bottom. Luke Parker gave me the lampshades and I tried to install them elsewhere, but they had to be put where they are. Ikebana.

Anzac weekend

I installed the show the week of Anzac day, which is getting bigger and bigger every year. When I was younger I just hated war, all out, so I never participated in any of the rituals. But now I have developed a better understanding of it all, and am still sorrowful but it is complicated.

Last year I had the most wonderful residency down at Boyd's property in Bundanon with Lisa Andrew, Liz Day, Elvis Richardson and the wombats. As we were driving down there I saw a park with "Lest we forget" in welded steel at the entrance. I couldn't get it out of my head so I made this drawing, and brought it with me to Tin Sheds as it was pognant to the time.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

More synchronicity

Fortuitous Aquarium right around the corner from my house...
when I needed it, I found it...

I don't know the name of this salt water dweller, but I thought it just epitomised everything*, in it's man-made container (reminds me of Lisa Kelly's great work), and also Josie Cavallaro...I remember her work with aquarium photos, cool! These are stills from the video in the blue section, and I shot the film only a week before the show (beautifully edited by IT Superman PJ). I was making work from home, and was going a bit stir crazy, it had been raining in Sydney for weeks...anyway, I went for a walk, and lo and behold, around the corner from my house this great new super-acquarium store had opened, only weeks before, and I knew right away, this encapsulated and super-artificial environment was necessary to include in the show. That blue, it seems to only exist in aquarium outlets! The isolation of the fish snake, in it's homemade converted food container either sheltered it form the other fish, or vice versa. Sherman, the proprietor of the shop was not forthcoming about the fishes, but I was impressed by the amount and quality of his fish specimens, and also these fantastic corals he was growing out of disposable plastic cups. What a trip.
They say that watching fish lowers our blood pressure. I love the fish, I hope they are happy.
I could write about fish and water for the rest of my life. I am very attracted to all the paraphenalia and would like to install in fishtanks, with real live fish, so if anyone has a tank and wants an innovative approach to decoration - I can't promise anything, but I can give it my best - I'm your man.
Water! I am a fish!
*epitomised evrything, huh? How is it possible to epitomise everything? Well trust me, that is what I want to do, I want to capture it all and freeze it, I want past present and future, but NOW NOW NOW! This moment, or set of moments of time, to reverberate and mark time...

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Well of course I moved outside during my gallery minding Saturdays! Too easy. All the crap gathered from the deck outside . Thought about Lisa Kelly's fantastic ashtrays/planters outside of ICAN...The cleaners found it convenient to dispose of then. One week I hung the tropical hawaiian shirt in the tree, and left it there. I saw Bruce, the security guard whip it off at the end of the day. One week I tied the suit jacket to the base of the tree installed in the deck, and one week I hung pink shiny ribbon in garlands around the outdoor shadecloths and lay fabric on the ground. These I removed my self.

Keep thinking about the duty of objects.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Infinity Constructions

I proposed this show last year, and had been struggling to make the work from my home studio. Each time that I visited the campus I found major inspiration on site. The garbage surrounding the building site next door to the gallery was outstanding. Many months of work and many discarded bottles, cans and wrappers. I couldn't believe my fortune, I just thought maybe I should just collect everything thrown away on site, and pop it tidily into the gallery...too easy. But it did lend me a freedom to add this if I wanted! (Or ran out of my own stuff!)
The building site itself is a work of art. I love the unfinishedness of sites under construction. Raw and clad with the most interesting coloured materials, cranes and hardhatters, and's alive and unsanitised and special. The architecture, thats another story. I can see these jutting out bits, all v contemporary, big green glass windowed building, modern materials and it does indeed appear modern. But can I say lacking creativity, its like you draw some squares, and halve them and get some triangles and rotate them and voila, a new bloody block of pop-up mercy. Whatever! We are not in Melbourne.
The next time I came I noticed that the flower designs printed on the new glass cross bridge were the same as ones I had been copying for my Happiness table decorations! How cool was that.
As I went to mind the space, the other day I saw a construction worker with the firm's name "Infinity Constructions" on his vest (no camera of course). But believe me, this made my day. Everything came together...infinity huh? I dig it! My work is endless, it is confined by walls, yes, but it is an ongoing manifestation of now. It reflects and takes in all that is around, and is formulated gradually, but then in immediacy as well.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Please order at the counter

Self portrait in food

2007 detail


Amorphic resonance resounds. It is my honour to work as an artist. I get to see, I get to think, watch and observe how it all goes, then I get to react and make work about it. Thank you to every curator has ever given my work a chance. I wish there was more. I wish that there were a hundred more times space and each show included more insights and that it wasn't so clubby. Over the years there have been some extraordinarily great omissions, I guess it is how things go, but I can't help think that if art were more important to the general public we would see greater support, and therefore more diverse work.

Sunday, January 6, 2008


It begins with a bowl made of cornflakes, and it never ends in this land of plenty. So much thrown away, so much produced, so much to collect!
The plastic house was found and filled with wooden blocks that Ron had left over from his install...they all fit in perfectly.
The strange turquoise plastic pen was found. It is a lap-band sugery promoter, by some pharmaceutical company, and was PERFECT in colour and content for my installation. It matched the neon around the corner from the gallery, on the local club, and it matches today's get thin quick ideals. And I found it while working on the project. When I gave a talk about the show, although to me it was a seminal piece, I neglected to say it. So here it is! Any questions?

Install view

Saturday, January 5, 2008


Hot glue works in Small Mall
2.Workshop participants (with glitter on red plastic donated by Kate)

Friday, January 4, 2008

Working with the public

This counts as a collaborative affair; I sat in the lobby at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery for two weeks, making clay words of local logos. Passer-byes were invited to create their own, to be used in the installation Branding 2007