Artist Profile: Beverley Southcott

BEVERLEY SOUTHCOTT’S ABSTRACT PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITS A TOUSLE BETWEEN THE BEST AND THE WORST OF HUMAN NATURE. NELL COHEN WRITES.

Adelaide-based artist Beverley Southcott works full time combining her art-making practice with curating art projects. With a focus on photography, her process expands to video, installation and mixed media. Beverley draws on contemporary subjects such as current issues of war, conflict and migration, translated into non-pictorial and vibrant works of abstract photography and mixed media.

“I like to gather a deeper understanding around my subject matter,” says the artist. “I start the process by undertaking wide research on the subject, then I keep focusing down and eliminating the broader areas through rigorous and strict editing.”

Beverley often grounds her work within a socio-political theme, such as her Energy Matters series, which she describes as a subversion of the 24-hour global newsfeed in favour of more “peaceful places of resolve”.

While her works have a largely urban focus, the artist draws inspiration from the ocean close to her home. For Beverley, its vastness is reminiscent of the “the cyclical, repeating aspects of history”.

As a result, the subject matter of her work juxtaposes pastoral landscapes as spaces of healing, with the “not so nice” worldliness of human civilization and practices.

“I wish to portray a message of hope and otherness that transports us from the mundane and the ordinary of the everyday, where the poetics of small moments can be found. They seemingly connect to a bigger, universal picture of humanity. It is a tousle between the good and the not so good in us. Being considered a clever apex animal means at times we really aren’t that bright or clever, and sometimes our egos rule supreme.”

Beverley began practicing art at 18 and attended art school in South Australia, then later returned to formal art studies in 1998 to complete a Masters of Visual Arts at the South Australian School of Art. She has participated in solo and group exhibitions as well as art prizes both within Australia and internationally across photography, painting and installation.

“I had quite a few years where the output was less due to full time work commitments. I kept a studio and I would work on a weekend and at night if possible. These days, I work quite fully on my art practice.”

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