Getting a behemoth like Maser’s ‘Higher Ground’ ‘off the ground’ is no mean feat. In their second year with Sydney Festival, Laura Pike and Anne-Louise Dadak of Province were part of the busy crew bringing the vibrant Escher-like two-storey megawork to life.
No strangers to large-scale work and certainly not afraid of colour, Anne-Louise and Laura were also invited to work on a separate collaborative piece with Maser in the Festival Village.
The work blends Maser’s large, crisp shapes and Province’s crazy detailing. “It came together pretty casually through painting with Maser on his ‘Higher Ground’ installation. We shared ideas about the wall and then when we started painting we just bounced off each other’s aesthetic, so the work changed and developed over time without any structured plan,” says Anne-Louise. “It’s been a really enjoyable process to work with an artist who has such a wealth of knowledge and experience internationally, as well as an extremely relaxed and encouraging attitude towards promoting local artists.”
The pair’s approach to their work is handson. “It’s so exciting to be part of someone’s installation of that size, seeing it take shape over time and experiencing the level of organisation and number of people involved. It’s been a huge insight!” adds Anne-Louise.
Last year, Province worked on the Sydney Festival public artwork ‘FUNPARK’ in Mount Druitt. Presented by Karen Therese, the site-specific installation was created in an abandoned car park of Bidwill Square, which built on a series of creative workshops with local residents.
“We’re interested in public art because when taken out of the studio or gallery context, because it changes our notion of an artwork as high-brow or inaccessible,” says Anne-Louise. “A large public art project usually involves a lot of research and ultimately should communicate and engage directly with the community. The challenge is making something that has artistic integrity but is still relevant to the audience – in a way you have to hand over the work to the public.”
Although Province combines the seemingly disparate practices of spatial design, graphic design and creative projects, what runs consistently through their work is the graphic language. “We try to transform space with colour and shape. How that translates from a traditional graphic design job to a wall piece can be a challenge! But we love seeing these different perspectives come together.”
Anne-Louise and Laura met in their final year of CoFA (College of Fine Arts) and worked alongside each other as directors at The Paper Mill in Angel Place. After freelancing and teaching for a few years, Province was founded in 2011. Moving into their studio at 66 Oxford Street (part of the City’s Creative Spaces program) has seen the business grow, allowing them to take risks and experiment with larger projects. One of the very first 66 Oxford Street tenants, they’re still in the City program today – but the studio has moved up the road to Darlinghurst.
Check out their work at Hyde Park North, which will continue to get colour and shapes added to it as the Festival goes on.
Head to provincestudio.com.au to find out more about Laura and Anne-Louise’s work.