It was the caravan that hooked me. It recalled a dramatic moment for me.
Between Gisborne and Bacchus Marsh in Victoria is a spectacular stretch of road. It runs along the top of a razor back. When you drive it, you feel like you are on the top of the world. It’s scary and exciting to have so little hold on the earth.
My aunt and uncle did a road trip years and years ago, pulling their 1960s caravan from Queensland to Victoria. On that stretch of road, a gust of wind caught their van and it came away from the car, plummeting down paddocks and into the valley below where it disintegrated into pieces so small that when dad drove us out from Geelong to take a look, there was no trace of it.
Two weeks ago I drove this road and told my partner the caravan story. I was surprised to be reminded of it after such a short interval.
Rius Carson, the artist, spoke about it at the launch. He talked about the stupidity of towing a caravan; of putting possessions in a small home and carting them around. He also spoke about his motivation for the body of work on display that The Other Side belongs to. He had moved to the country from the city and was starting a different sort of life with his partner. They built a house together and then the relationship failed. These works were about coming to a corner, turning it, and finding a whole new set of challenges.
His frank discussion was what turned me from a passive listener and viewer to a buyer. I have just come to a corner and turned it and I am standing at the end of a street that looks terrifying. I am struggling with a new set of challenges. I am 62, underemployed, keeping an eye on elderly parents and living in a city that does not feel like my home, and until the painting, I was miserable. My youngest daughter had just moved out and just like that my life felt purposeless.
But I get it now. It is just another corner like all the other corners I have turned and I just need to get on with it, flip that useless caravan that I am towing around and head down the street.