Sharyn Raggett holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Photomedia) from UNSW Art & Design, and an Advanced Certificate in Graphic Design from the Sydney Graphics College. With 20 years’ experience as a graphic designer and illustrator, her work has also been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Primavera, First Draft Gallery and Annandale Galleries.
Digital C-Type prints on metallic paper
If you close your eyes and imagine a loved one, I can almost guarantee that the impression you will find won’t be crisp and clear; it will be muffled and somewhat muted, just a memory of a gesture or the sound of a laugh; yet somehow you know it is them.
From scratch takes a subjective and structural approach to exploring the concept of biography and memory, or how to tell the story of a life – in this case the life of Elizabeth Chifley. I’m interested in what we choose to commemorate, but even more so in what we choose to leave out. The gaps inherent in piecing together an understanding of Elizabeth Chifley are what intrigue me most.
I saw parallels in the lives of Mrs Chifley and my own grandmother, and sought to evoke the sensation of muffled and muted memories by retracing the footsteps of these women – in baking from scratch.
My chosen object was the hand-cranked eggbeater, which I used to systematically make cakes and biscuits from Elizabeth Chifley’s recipe collection. I documented the traces left by the beaters in the mixing bowl – the build-up of scratches and inevitable reflections – then processed the images as digital tin-types, replicating the early photographic process. This technique blurs the line between portraiture and abstraction by further removing the images from their original context. It makes the ordinary extraordinary, which is in turn a metaphor for the way I’ve come to think of Elizabeth Chifley.