Kedela wer kalyakoorl ngalak Wadjak boodjak yaak.

Today and always, we stand on the traditional land of the Whadjuk Noongar people.

Joanna Lamb Pool [4] 2021. Acrylic paint, Dulux Shimmer Quarter, Dulux Shimmer, Dulux High Blue, Dulux Water Raceway, Dulux Wing Commander, Dulux Kiss, 350 x 500 cm. State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased through the Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation: TomorrowFund, 2021.

Joanna Lamb

Rest Area 1/2 & Rest Area 5/6
Until 28 February

Two new large-scale murals of suburban swimming pools bring a post-Pop Art coolness to AGWA's rest areas.

For more than twenty years Joanna Lamb has been exploring the overlooked aesthetic qualities of Perth’s suburbs. Her work is exquisitely rendered, leaning towards abstraction as individual pictorial elements are all treated with the same level of attention. Her swimming pool images began after she isolated a backyard pool in a painting of a suburban home.

Becoming interested in the possibility of depicting homes in reflection only, and inspired by the shapes that backyard pools take, this commission was an opportunity to extend the work beyond the canvas and apply them directly onto walls. Lamb sees them as mapping out a relationship between the light and feel of Perth and Los Angeles, and as, in part, an homage to the backyard pool photos of LA artist Ed Ruscha (1937 – ).

In kinship with Ruscha’s non-expressive, near-conceptual approach to art-making, Lamb’s pools use a carefully arranged tonal sequence of pastel colours to create images that have a crisp, post-Pop Art coolness.

“My work has a slightly flat, superficial feel about it. Everything’s not digging much below the surface — and that’s kind of the way we were brought up.” — Joanna Lamb, The View From Here 2021

Whilst deliberately restrained, they are exceptionally sensuous and enveloping. A subtle narrative dimension declares itself here: the pristine surface of the pool asks to be broken, as if diving into it will offer a gorgeously chilled embrace whilst shattering the image of the perfectly poised life they stand for.

This WA Artist Commission is generously supported by John & Linda Bond.