Based in Mullumbimby, Robyn Sweaney responds to the suburban mundane of her local rural environment in her layered explorations of Australian identity and place. Tightly refined homes and streetscapes divulge more than their mere exteriors, functioning as repositories of identity – aesthetic incarnations of the belief structures influencing human behaviours on emotional, intellectual and spiritual levels.
Sweaney’s new work traverses notions of travel, distance and the unknown. Drawing from her annual road trips heading west from the northern NSW coast, the artist captures the experience of being lost in the Australian landscape. Meandering through small towns and inland cities precipitates new ways of seeing suburban life, enabling her to forge imagined narratives to the hazy backdrop of other people’s lives. ‘The unease that the journey can bring returns me to a more innocent self […] The white line on the road connects me to the place I have come from to where I am heading’ says Sweaney, reflecting on how relinquishing routines and familiar environs carries her imagination through the fading past to a lingering future.