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Melita Rowston_Self Portrait in the Roog

The House is a Psychic State


“The house even more than the landscape is a psychic state” Gaston Bachelard.


In 2019, I became intrigued with the strangely preserved and very feminine spaces of Australia’s oldest ‘living museum’ homes.


As I tiptoed through these gentile Colonial relics: Elizabeth Farm, Ripponlea House, Ayers House, (among others), I wondered about the women who once lived within these domestic spheres. Exiled over the oceans from very far away, how did they make sense of a hostile landscape, ripped from its true custodians, to which they knew they couldn’t belong?


Stepping into these women’s most intimate spaces, I felt compelled to paint the mirrors in these rooms and reflect back real women I know. In many ways we are them and they are us.


Standing on the shoulders of Edouard Vuillard and Grace Cossington Smith, this series explores loss, memory, the conflation of woman/landscape/culture, and general white anxiety about identity and place.



Can you remember how you were before the world told you how to be?


We live in an era of troubled thinking. A state of extreme restlessness and confusion.

Like an animal peering out of a forest on fire, we’re putting very little trust in tomorrow.


The artists in Carpe Delirium seek to embrace the insanity of these days by seizing a moment in time and exploring its fragility, heartache and impermanence.


The voices in used things. Landscapes of nudes, dancers, animals, and birds influenced by acute psychic states. The transitory nature of demolition derbies, horse auctions and a brutal regional Australia now destroyed by fire. The secluded bedrooms and bathrooms of Australia’s oldest homes in which women withdraw into themselves to reflect and dream. The sad glory of streetscapes and abandoned buildings facing destruction. The daily chaos of children, toys and mental noise in which a female body quietly declines…


Carpe Delirium invites you to enter through the broken windows of the lost, neglected and abandoned to discover the beautiful, haunting and erotic.


Join artists Jasmine Anderson, Renee Falez, Philip Ricketson, Melita Rowston, Jo Shand and Hiske Weijers in the back streets of St Peters among the towering warehouse walls of Tortuga Studios to celebrate the end of the world as we know it.


Embrace the chaos, seize your delirium, fuck the system! 

The House is a Psychic State


As part of the group show Carpe Delirium for

Art Month Sydney

Tortuga Studios

31 Princes Hwy, St Peters Sydney

20 - 29 March, 2020 - Postponed due to COVID-19

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