There are two Hazel Dooneys. There is Hazel Dooney the 30-something female artist that lives a hermitic, rigidly routine existence in one of Australia's dullest cities and paints large works depicting sexy action-figure-like über-women inspired by advertising and entertainment media. Then there is the Hazel Dooney who exists as a character in an ongoing online narrative, and whose words and images limn, in discomfortingly intimate detail, another, more intricate and less easily summarised life in which art, art business, memoir, sexuality (and just plain sex), pscyhological trauma, social mobility, family, money and a measure of fame are always in stress and threaten to fracture the glossy but brittle surface of her signature enamel paintings.In truth, my image of myself has always been, well, indefinite. In some ways, part of the enjoyment I derive from social media is that others are more certain. Some evolve strong relationships with my work because of what they perceive. Others loathe it. On a very personal level, I've opened myself to forensic examination. I've been surprised, not always happily, by some of the resulting analyses of me. Maybe there's a third Hazel Dooney. The one that exists in others' imaginations. I don't always recognise where it coincides with my reality.
Steph Shields, director of La Trobe Contemporary Gallery, in Morwell, Victoria, has decided to explore this idea. She is inviting submissions for a group exhibition of works inspired – directly or indirectly – by my persona as it's perceived in my art, my blog and my various other online presences. Provisionally titled Dreaming Hazel Dooney, the exhibiton will open on Friday, 6th May, and run until Thursday, 19th May, 2011 at the LaTrobe Contemporary Gallery, 209 Commercial Road, Morwell, Vic. 3840. Works can be in any medium, including sculpture, photography, video (of any length) and even performance art and fashion. The content has, simply, to reflect, amplify, interpret or deconstruct any aspect of my ideas, my art, my public persona, my personal narrative or my self that the artist has encountered online. And yes, it can be critical. Or graphically sexy. Or both. Or none of these.In the first instance, a digital image/video of the work – or works, as more than one will be considered – must be emailed to both Steph (email@example.com) and me before 31st January. The artists whose works are accepted will be advised within two weeks. They will then have to undertake to ship their works to the gallery in time for the works to be laid out and hung/displayed on 1st May. The logistics and cost of shipping works to and from the gallery is the responsibilty of each invited artist. The gallery will assume no liability for loss or damage. Unless the gallery is otherwise advised, the works will be offered for sale under the gallery's usual terms, the details of which will be emailed in the form of an agreement as soon as the work is accepted for the exhibition. I have also agreed that the gallery might display works that were given to me as gifts from online acquaintances as part of the exhibition – I've written of several in previous posts – but these will not be offered for sale. Also among the works exhibited will be a few sketches and photography I have made in collaboration with artists and models I've met via social media. Above: Me, aged four, daydreaming (and posing, as always), in Newcastle, New South Wales.