Australian, born 1960
Tree house (for a sentimental seamstress) 1990
oil on canvas
Gift of an anonymous donor through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program, 2019
© Courtesy of the artist
Tree house (for a sentimental seamstress) is a key work from the series that includes Geelong Gallery’s Mad house (history painting) no. 1 (1989). In these works Smart, by her own admission, made a perverse take on the seamstress’ work of cutting and sewing by painting trompe l’oeil renditions of textile fragments and stitching. Thus a ‘lowly’ or undervalued domestic activity was elevated in the then hotly questioned hierarchy in which painting was positioned.
For four decades the tree has been a recurring motif in Smart’s work, partly informed by her memories of growing up in the Australian countryside on a farm near the rural town of Quorn in South Australia.