A WALL of milk cartons, a river running through a kitchen, the sound of a washing machine falling apart, a table set for no-one.
These are just some of the elements in a brand new exhibition at The F Project this month.
A south-west artist has created a large-scale domestic setting in the gallery space, examining the aesthetic connection between body, home, and landscape.
The exhibition, titled The river flowing through my kitchen seen from the corner of my mind's eye, is the culmination of 10 years' work by Warrnambool artist Becky Nevin-Berger.
"It's an installation using the house as a theme or framework to explore the way we connect to the environment around us," Ms Nevin-Berger said.
"Its a body of work that's evolved over a decade through my PhD research and sculpture work. It began with little domestic objects that may have broken and grown as I took an interest in the domestic space.
"This has involved fabricating three fake walls which are nearly 2.5 metres tall to have scale in the gallery space and incorporates artworks made over that time.
"The theme of the house looks at the way we make spaces and connect to environment."
The installation invites audiences to work through the space, which also includes sound and video projections.
"In between the macro and micro we exist in everyday, predictable worlds with routine and ordinariness; we don't always remember we live on a weird ball of lava floating in space."
Undertaken as a PhD at the Australian National University Sculpture Workshop, the original research sought to identify aesthetic languages that make visible relationships and processes connecting body and world beyond the surface of the skin.
The home provided a lens through which to investigate the connection between body and landscape.
Homes are built around our body's processes, Ms Nevin-Berger explained; they direct attention inward forming a perceptual boundary between our domestic interiors and the outside world.
Repetitive and predictable practices maintaining domestic stasis camouflage the continual flow of resources generating the home's interior stability.
The body of artwork was made using two and three dimensional techniques to examine the interplay between image making and space making in our experience of the world.
"When I started my research my three kids were quite little and my supervisor told me, look inside your house for a year. I was like are you kidding? I'm trying to get away from my house," she said.
"So I photographed my house inside and out for a year and realised even in ordinary domestic spaces there's a connection between the body and spaces - we become one with the environment.
"My final work was building a great big river in the middle of my house which meant you couldn't move through it.
"No-one could get into the kitchen or lounge room," she said with a laugh. "You had to go around from the outside.
"The water metaphor came from thinking about how the outside world comes into our homes, and how we're constantly reliant on the outside world to make sure it functions the way we need to. Sometimes you don't notice that until it's disrupted.
"With COVID that was a disruption en masse for everyone. It made us notice how much we depend on the outside world."
Nevin-Berger elevates and brings new meaning to the mundane.
With three teenagers the sheer amount of milk consumed was enough to get her thinking.
"The wall of milk cartons was a response to COVID - I didn't make sourdough, I collected milk cartons.
"With three teenagers we go through three litres of milk easy.
"When you stop and look at it en masse you realise everything it takes to make our normal little world."
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