Surreal Lifes 2022 Wedge Gallery Sydney
Surreal Lifes Wedge Gallery
Feb 3rd - Mar 3rd
At the beginning of 2020 my grandmother passed away. My father phoned me to come up to the hospital and spend her final moments with her. At the reception I was asked who I was there to see and all I could say was “My grandma”! I realised I never knew her name. In retrospect I never really knew her.
The following week I was asked to help clean her property up. She had been a hoarder since the 70’s and with 4 sheds and 2 houses on a 5 acre farm, she had a lot of space to fill. My family on all sides are showmen (showgrounds, circuses and fairs), with me being the last Nock to live on the showgrounds. The main shed on the Nock farm is a mix of a Luna Park workshop and an antique shop that shut down in 1995. On the second day there we found a wooden cargo box from World War 2 with the most eccentric contents in it. From this box, this show began.
The box had clowns, toys, dog figurines and junk in it, but the one piece that sparked the idea to explore my memories and emotions through a series of still lifes was a Thomas the tank engine. The only gift I ever received from my grandma was a Thomas the tank engine talcum powder set. I was 5. My family farm is in Thirlmere NSW, which is historically known for steam trains. With just these two memories I came up with the surreal scene of “Thomas the tank”, a surreal warped memory of 90’s nostalgia.
Surreal Life’s is a series of colourful still life paintings consisting of found objects from the 90’s. Small toys and trinkets that would have been prizes at a carnival arranged in made-up landscape scenes or bold bodies of colour. Each inanimate object selected helped unravel a memory bound in confusion and notalga. Personal, political, angry and meaningless.
After finishing the series of 9 paintings, I realised how the pre 2000’s world was full of happy blind capitalism and how this hateful old woman was just a scared little girl who lived a hard life and was just trying to mend her broken heart with small childish objects.
I may never really know Thelma Leverge, but I now know I'm French.
Heath Nock 2022