Works / Drawings 1995 - 2008 / Ascent series # 1 (After LB)

Ascent series # 1 (After LB) 1995 by Antonia Chaffey

Ascent series # 1 (After LB)  1995

Charcoal and pastel on Meirat paper

25cm x 16cm

In 1995, three months after the death of my mother, I visited a retrospective of the late Louise Bourgeois, at the Nat Gallery of Victoria.

The overpoweringly psychological and visceral nature of some of the work had a huge impact on me at a time, no doubt, of heightened receptivity.

 Suddenly prised from a rock, a series of drawings emerged from then, which I soon realised related to the memory in the 1950’s of the ponytail that my mother hacked from the back of my head one morning before school, out of sheer frustration at having to brush the tangles of an eight year old.


A little castration.


I still have that gleaming corn silk pony-tail, somehow kept by my mother, and have made several works using hair and real horse tails around the subject of dis-embodiment.

 However, the Ascent drawings also have an erotic presence: not just hair, but of the body: fibrous, labial, sphincteral. And they all hover over land, and more specifically the desert horizon. There could be an ocean there too, having grown up by the beach.

 The landscape I kept coming back to begins as horizon, but then appears as a range of low mountains as in Ascent # 2. Is it the Flinders Ranges near where I was born?