Australian artist Anna Caione is delightfully complex. Her work reflects her own contradictions, her restlessness, her transplanted roots, her ease with city life and her yearning for a simpler existence, outside the city. Her work is delicate and loving, almost ephemeral and in some ways unsettling. An endless fairy’s web of red string loops over and around heavy, wooden beams, creating an alarming juxtaposition of weight and color. Bound tightly beside that is my piano stool, transformed into a gagged package, the black piano stark against abstract bits of red. A crazy quilt of incidental pieces of fabric, jute and cardboard inadvertently suggest an inverted American flag. The lightly textured collage works hung beneath the quilt document her long-ranging travels and her complex web of heritage and loyalties.
Anna was confronted very quickly with the realities of the remote countryside when she began her residency this month. She adapted happily to the seclusion and found unexpected freedom in working with limitations. “This experience resulted in a body of work based on spontaneity, limitation and the found object. I had no car, no artshop and no familiar terrain.” Anticipating this while packing in Australia, she allowed herself only a small palette of colours and materials, relying on what she could find in nature and in boxes of my odds and ends. “Small works are visual diaries about travel, borders, globalization, movement, limitations and connections. The works are authentic in that they include found objects such as tickets, dockets and receipts that are then incorporated into abstract compositions.’
During her residency, she was feeling inspired by Kandinsky, by process art, the abstract expressionists and Arte Povera. Anna ventured off into the fields around the house for several hours a day to draw tiny landscapes in ink. During her second week she ventured off into the forest and gathered slim branches. Over the course of several days, she assembled them to become awkward dance partners, tipped with bright primary colors and loose pieces of string.
Anna was born to Italian parents who immigrated to Australia in the 1950’s. She holds several degrees in art from schools in both Australia and Italy. She met her husband Roberto, an architect from the Piedmonte, while pursuing studies in Turin. They currently live in Melboune with their 6-year old daughter. Anna is represented by the Catherine Asquith gallery and teaches design theory at tertiary level. Her works belong in private and public collections in Australia, Italy, Holland and Ireland.
Here are a few photos from Anna’s residency. On Friday the 19th, we hosted a small vernissage to show off her works to a handful of friends. It was a lovely evening. We so enjoyed Anna’s company and thoughtfulness. Hopefully we’ll see her again soon!