2020.3 Anita Johnson

ANITA JOHNSON, H2O 2003 (detail), turpentine, wood, resin, galvanised steel, recycled metal objects. Gift of Macquarie University 2020. Photo by Effy Alexakis.


Cowra Sculpture Park 



turpentine, wood, resin, galvanised steel, recycled metal objects 178 x 165 x 90cm 

178 x 165 x 90cm


Gift of Macquarie University 2020

Accession number

H2O is a playful insight into Johnson’s sculptural concerns. The sculptor enjoys tantalising the observer with the seemingly familiar, reconfigured. The result is the arousal of curiosity – memory, meaning and possible intent are all made malleable and subverted. A metaphorical narrative is being invited and invented. Utilising and unifying recycled, found objects and new materials, H2O presents a figure bent forward as if presenting a votive offering  – an inverted, opaque conical form, suggestive of a see-through container of water.  The figure’s headwear and elbow bracelets appear to be early, ancient Assyrian in style. A gauge sits atop of the figure’s headwear. The figure’s skin colouring is a muted dark brown (carved wood) which contrasts sharply to the bright-silver shine of its military-like garb (galvanised steel). The figure’s ‘legs’ are three metal wheels – the sculpture can be moved if desired. Larkin’s visual language here potentially links the observer to memories of learnt history, similar contemporary themes and events, lived emotions, the essential necessities for life, and the socio-political issues that divide and unite people in ensuring those necessities – water gives Life.