The Yellow Vest Syndrome review

Extract of review of Yellow Vest Syndrome by Nyanda Smith

…Perdita Phillips’ practice of walking in country is represented in her film ‘herethere’ above and below which documents her traversing a steep incline of red rocky earth in the Kimberley. Her figure, clothed in a white lab coat, purposefully walks up and back down, the rise. Screened on a small DVD player placed high on the wall, both the location and the activity (Phillips’ face is out of view until the end of the loop), are positioned as just out of reach for the viewer. The reduction of scale causes the vista to be dwarfed, the detail lost in swathes of colour that appear near-abstracted. In this way landscape, and her relationship with it, are inaccessible. We must rely on our imagination – neatly pointing to the way in which we construct landscape.

Phillips’ corresponding photographic series depicts [a] geologist… conducting a survey at Wheelbarrow Creek. Segments of his figure are variously shown, in a structural breakdown of activity: his toolbelt and clothing (drill cotton), hands clasping flower sepals, doodling field markings in a notebook. We don’t see his face, are simply given these clues to …[the geologist’s] relationship with landscape, as observed by Phillips. Again, they don’t fall into any easy way of reading, further muddying our understanding by positioning landscape as mediated by interpretation.

Smith, N. (2009). The Yellow Vest Syndrome: recent West Australian art Artlink, 29(2), 84-85.


Exhibition details (artwork images)