Rebecca Beardmore is a Canadian-born contemporary artist based in Sydney, working across printmaking, photography and installation. Beardmore completed her undergraduate studies at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney, before returning to Canada to undertake postgraduate research at the University of Alberta. After a three months residency in Tokyo, Japan she returned to Sydney in 2001.
Rebecca Beardmore’s works are situated very much on the boundaries of perception, having a fugitive presence that is almost an absence, in which the viewer is partially reflected – setting up a provocative and shifting relationship between the artist, the work, its meaning, and the viewer. Her work plays on the limitations of visual experience, setting up a subtle interplay between image, text, and material surface where each layer is presented with such fragility that they cannot be collectively discerned.
Beardmore has exhibited extensively in North America, Europe and Asia as well as Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Her work is held in public and private collections, including the Guangdong Museum of Art (China), the Art Gallery of New South Wales (Sydney), Rhode Island School of Art and Design (New York), Artbank (Australia) and the Print Study Centre of the University of Alberta (Canada).
Beardmore was a finalist in the Fremantle Arts Centre Print Award (2016), which she also previously won in 2010. Beardmore has also been a finalist in many significant art prizes including the Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award (2010 & 2011) and the City of Hobart Art Prize (2014).
Beardmore currently lectures at Sydney College of the Arts, University of Sydney and has previously lectured at The National Art School, Sydney and The University of Alberta, Canada.
“Central to my work is the act of looking itself, the prevailing activity inherent in all visual practice and inextricably linked to knowledge and our understanding of the world. Though we generally attribute a level of objectivity to our sense of vision, i.e. ‘seeing is believing’, we fail to recognize that our interpretation of the visible is informed by habits of perception, both indoctrinated and continually shifting. Rules that are determined by a codified language of interpretive signs- culturally constructed and technologically mediated.
My work combines image and text with the reflectivity of mirrored surfaces to set up an interface between different spaces of visual engagement and the ways in which these fluid interactions define and delimit our relationship to the world we inhabit.
In my work language functions on multiple levels – in the first instance, the densely printed small-scale type establishes a scenario that quite literally forces the viewer to move up to the work and engage actively across the surface and subsequently the space beyond the surface. Secondly, the words describe what cannot be seen, what is beyond perception in the often indistinct and fugitive photographic and/or reflected image, described in such inconsequential detail that its hyper-clarity offers no further resolution to the perceived understanding of the work except to propose a dialectic between seeing and reading– acknowledging, on the one hand, the interconnectedness of these two activities in relation to understanding while recognizing their obvious separation, for one cannot read and look at the same time.”
Artist Statement (2014)