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It Happened on the Steps

From public encounters to gravestone epitaphs, emerging artist Gabrielle Rish seeks the character of Hobart in its silent dramas

Moments circle and settle on the city like the fallen leaves of European trees. Did you notice that person who just walked by, the person who passed you on the steps? The steps are empty now. But something happened here, or could have happened here.

Gabrielle Rish’s photo-based images summon the silent drama of Hobart’s public spaces, from encounters on the Treasury steps to a message from the dead at the entrance to the Clinical School.

The images highlight the physical and metaphorical drama of steps. The exhibition also takes a detour to the Cornelian Bay cemetery, where private grief becomes public in the inscriptions on gravestones.

Rish is drawn to the ideas of French theorist Michel de Certeau, who said: ‘Places are fragmentary and inward-turning histories, pasts that others are not allowed to read, accumulated times that can be unfolded but like stories held in reserve, remaining in an enigmatic state, symbolisations encysted in the pain or pleasure of the body.’

Rish says: “I am a first-generation Tasmanian, a European transplant, like the city itself. But Hobart is where all my memories of growing up reside. Walking around the city stirs a sense of belonging in me – it unfolds those histories that de Certeau says are stored in the body. I hope visitors to the exhibition will recall their own versions of Hobart as they look at the images..”

Friday 16 July – Sunday 29 August 2021
Monday – Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm
Saturday 10:00am – 2:00pm
Sunday 10:00am – 2:00pm

Read Andrew Harper’s review of the As it Happened on the Stairs from the Tas Weekend here

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Image Credits:
Gabrielle Rish. Untitled (2020). Digital inkjet print.
Gabrielle Rish. Gloria (2020). Digital inkjet print.
Gabrielle Rish. From A Journey to the Underworld (2018). Digital inkjet print.
Gabrielle Rish. Untitled (2020). Digital inkjet print.
Gabrielle Rish. Untitled (2020). Digital inkjet print.

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