Annette Minchin

networks, Annette Minchin

Annette Minchin, networks

(2010, mixed media, for International Womens Day)

Art Forms: mixed media

Lives: Sunset Strip (near Menindee)

Born in New Zealand, Annette Minchin currently lives and works at Sunset Strip on Lake Menindee.

Annette studied fine arts at RMIT, Melbourne, during the 1960s - the era of the large American Abstract Expressionists - where she developed 'a strong line and painterly mark'. Based in Sydney during the 1970s she became involved with the Women's Group at the Tin Sheds Gallery where her work became more 'gender-focused, personal, quirky and collaborative' using mixed media.

With a studious background in fine arts, computer technology and new media, Annette has since exhibited extensively: all the way from Menindee to Melbourne, New York, London and Vietnam.

What inspired you to move to the remote Central Darling region of NSW?

The Blue Mountains was its usual charming self but I was unwell and wanted big blue skies and red dirt. We arrived in Lake Pamamaroo (that extraordinary lake system!) meaning to camp but, as I was too sick at the time, we rented a house at Sunset Strip - a whole community of tin shacks (which vary greatly in ambience). So we asked at the pub if anyone wanted to sell their shack and bought one off some people who wanted to whizz off somewhere else.

What effect has living in Menindee had on your practice?

Annette MinchinI am not distracted and I have a focus. I've got this little shed-studio filled with books and odd jays and, because I haven't got anyone else to speak to about creativity, it all gets channelled through my work. So it's really interesting I think in that regard, it's not dissipated. 

What materials do you use for your art?

I use a lot of sand and a lot of sticks and seeds and I collect a whole lot of stuff locally.  But I also use traditional papers and paints. I am often now doing online Adobe seminars and they're very useful technically because I do quite a bit of digital work.

What do you think is needed to help people in the Central Darling be more creative?

A space dedicated to showing art all the time. The process of art is layered: firstly you've got to work through your own 'stuff' and create something but then showing is part of it. You need to go through that shudder of exposing yourself and getting a response.

I think out here people can live comfortably in their little zone of doing their own thing and living for their art but they're not being challenged or exposed. It's a personal challenge to show work: to have people look at it, not necessarily to sell.

Out here people tend to think that if art is not sold it's not any good and I think there's an awful lot of work out here that is good but isn't for sale or even seen. 

Image: Annette Minchin at her Sunset Strip 'shack', 2010.  Photo: Lisa Andersen

Edited from an interview by Lisa Andersen, 15 October 2010.