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1,2,3,4,5: Artist asks do we just repeat, or do we reflect?


Sharlene King
15 May 2018

If you’re from the east coast of Australia chances are you’ve probably never heard of Hatched, the annual showcase of the best graduate artworks coming out of art schools around the country that’s been running in Perth since 1992.

When the exhibition opens on Friday night (May 18) at the Perth Institute of Contemporary Art (PICA), Jodi Woodward will be representing the art and design program at Southern Cross University.

“It’s very exciting and a huge opportunity,” said the former Lennox Head resident who is now pursuing postgraduate study.

“Only 30 students from across Australia were selected so it’s fantastic. I’m excited to meet the other artists and go to PICA for the first time.”

The exhibiting artists were nominated by their art school and the final selection was made by an industry panel.

Jodi’s artwork 1,2,3,4,5……. was first shown at the 2017 Southern Cross University annual graduating student exhibition where it won her the NAVA (National Association for the Visual Arts) award.

It comprises four elements: an imposing two-metre tall black and white self-portrait (“I find the photo very confronting”, said Jodi); an artist book; hand drawn crosshatching on a wall; and a quote by 20th century playwright and poet Samuel Beckett.

“The work is primarily about how we choose to spend our time and live our lives,” said Jodi. “Do we just tick over the days or do we actively reflect on what we do and why we do it? Do we just repeat the same behaviours over and over or do we choose to change what we do, or behave differently?

“I’m very interested in behaviour, psychology and memory and trauma and how that impacts our behaviour.”

Dr Stephen Garrett, coordinator of the Southern Cross art and design program, said Jodi’s work leaves an impression on audiences.

“Jodi created a ferocious work of internal struggle. Her practice draws on the language of time and duration to create an epic sensibility in what she makes. It has the power to overwhelm the viewer and confront them with its story.”

2018 is proving to be a busy year for Jodi: she recently made the final of the Landscape Prize at the Head On Photography Festival in Sydney; and later in the year she will be exhibiting in the US in a group show featuring Australian and New Zealand artists at the Turchin Center for the Visual Arts in North Carolina.

“Getting the undergraduate visual arts degree has definitely sent me to places and experiences that I didn’t think of when I started,” she said.

Jodi moved from Sydney to the NSW North Coast to study at Southern Cross.

“I’ve worked in creative industries before and I’d been making arts for years. I wanted to expand what I’d been making in my lounge room and explore the question, was art worth a career? The degree gave me the opportunity to explore that question. It really helped me focus on taking my art practice from a hobby to more of a career," she said.

“I loved the whole university experience: meeting people, learning from others, researching, the trial and error of creating art, the long hours in the studio. From the practical to the more academic side of the degree, it has completely expanded everything I do. Overall it was fantastic.”

Hatched: National Graduate Show 2018

Exhibition Dates | 19 May – 15 July

Opening Night Party | Friday 18 May 6.30pm

Perth Institute of Contemporary Art

Artist statement

1,2,3,4,5……., (2017)

Chalk, artist book, ink on paper, digital photograph

Jodi Woodward is an interdisciplinary artist working with drawing, installation and photography. Interested in the complexities of human behaviour, Woodford’s art practice explores materiality and its limitations, together with the limitations in artistic expression for the artist herself.

1,2,3,4,5……. is a book and a self-portrait placed within a space, which investigates how we choose to live and occupy our time while posing the question, "do we actively participate and reflect on our lives, or do we just tick the days over, one after the other, repeating the same patterns of behaviour again and again?” The title referring to a quote by 20th century playwright and poet Samuel Beckett, and work by psychologist Charles Fernyhough. Underpinned by an ongoing interest in psychology, Woodward explores how recent and past memories influence our current behaviour, and whether these memories continue to serve us well.