After making her escape from a law degree, Rochelle Haley committed herself to a love first nurtured as a young girl drawing squiggly maps of outlying landscapes from a moving car. Channelling her talent into a new creative métier has since seen the Australian multimedia artist indulge her wanderlust with numerous international residencies and forge a gloriously varied oeuvre.
We talked Rochelle for the upcoming pages 098. With her latest exhibition, Dead Precious, at Galerie pompom until 22 September, we bring you a preview of our enlightening interview.
pages: What is your first memory of creating art?
Rochelle Haley: Probably something related to dipping my paw in paint as a toddler and decorating the wall! More meaningful memories are afternoon painting sessions with my grandmother.
When did you decide that you wanted to make a living as an artist?
“Making a living” seems a funny thing to have considered when deciding to become an artist. Like most artists I would say that it is barely a decision at all but a chain of impulse following and risk taking until you find yourself unemployable elsewhere and thoroughly engrossed in the most amazingly unpredictable things.
What themes are most prevalent in your work?
I have a general interest in the relationship between bodies and the natural and physical environments they are in. I also have a preoccupation with movement.
Your Dead Precious exhibition pairs images of decay (animal skeletons) with vibrant gems. Can you tell us a bit about the meaning and significance of these works?
The series Dead Precious has roots in an image from a reoccurring dream I had of an animal skeleton whose abdomen cavity housed a large faceted gemstone.
The body of work explores the notion of very long or seemingly endless time. Diamonds are a result of unimaginable pressure over unimaginable periods of time. Bones are the last relics of a living body that eventually will become stone. Both are symbols of unending connections to the life previously attached to them. We approach jewels and skeletons emotionally, as though they somehow contain stories of living things that were at one time in touch with them.
Rochelle Haley’s Dead Precious runs at Galerie pompom until 22 September. For more details, visit the website. For the full interview, stay tuned for pages 098.