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Working from her bedroom gives Seth Searle the safety and comfort she needs to produce work with a sense of intimacy. Seth welcomed us into her Carlton terrace and we piled into her bedroom as she talked us through how the space influences her work and why she finds the female form so inspiring.
Tell us about your working process and how you work within this space.
I love that my safest and comfiest space is also my workspace. It’s the space where I can watch Netflix – my bed’s just there. I take a lot of photos of myself for reference and life drawing. It is nice to have the privacy to be able to do that.
I like to draw from photographs of myself and/or my friends – during planned sessions with a fancy digital SLR or quick snaps taken on my computer with photobooth. I work with images of my friends and myself because I love drawing figures that are comfortable and calm. I think there are so many ways that we hold our bodies unconsciously to appear more lithe, taller, rounder. I want to remove this learnt self-editing so that the figures I draw are entirely relaxed forms, with no part of them altered for the sake of an outside gaze.
I want to represent bodies which are strong, confident and entirely at ease. I want my nudes to appear unsexualised, allowing their nakedness to be a source of strength rather than objectification.
Your works pose a strong relationship between botanicals and the female form – how do you feel about this?
I think the female form is beautiful. It’s my favourite thing to draw and I like pairing botanicals and women together because there is a similar view of them – they are both seen to be beautiful delicate things. But they are both so strong and able to grow within the confines of where they are.
I think that there are realities and cultural perceptions of qualities that women and plants share. In a society where often women feel unsafe and objectified, feeling calm and having safe space to spread and grow is entirely essential. This safety is applicable to the plants around us too. They often are looked at as delicate, pretty objects but really they are strong, and slowly stake out their territory and grow upwards, entwined with or despite their surroundings. There is a shared underestimation of both, and simultaneously a shared robustness.
How does the Melbourne community affect the way you work?
The community in Melbourne is so close.Everyone knows everyone. It’s not hard to meet people who are working here and it feels like a very strong community. It also doesn’t feel exclusive.
And part of the smallness is kinda cool – people are aware of what everyone else is doing, which means there is support and accountability. I’m inspired by going to my friend’s shows and looking at what they are making and talking about that.
You can find a range of Seth’s works in-store and online at Junior Space from $15.00 – SHOP SETH SEARLE