Kathy Temin’s practice explores memory, history, and loss and is structured around the tension between oppositional dialogues, such as emotion and abstraction, remembrance and play. Synthetic fur is associated with soft toy imagery, and her use of this material in her iconic soft sculptures offers a challenge to systems of art making and questions of taste. These curious objects oscillate wonderfully between Seussesque cartoon landscape, seventies interiors kitsch, and totem-like modernist sculpture—think Barbara Hepworth or Constantin Brâncusi. She is interested in exploring the intersections of cultural, personal and historic memory through the garden, citing the influence of her father’s history of displacement as driving her concern. In both her large-scale installations and smaller domestic sculptures, she deliberately and repeatedly uses abstracted and idealised topiary-like tree forms in bright monochromes. In the smaller works she engages with modes of display from the home such as the shelf and sideboard—this is what the trees are then based on. Her monumental scaled works combine sentimentality through soft material and monumentality through scale. She wants her viewers to read these manicured landscapes as spaces to remember and to celebrate life, while also asking the question of what a monument or a memorial can be.
Kathy Temin (b. 1968, Sydney, Australia) lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. She has exhibited across a range of artist-run, public, museum, and commercial gallery spaces and outdoor projects. Her most recent works include The Chancellery Column Seat, 2020 at Monash University Clayton, White Garden: White Christmas, 2018, commission for Kanye West, Los Angeles, and The Koala Tram, 2015 as part of Melbourne Art Tram. Professor Kathy Temin is Head of Fine Art at Monash Art Design & Architecture, Monash University, Melbourne.