Waterson was commissioned, along with 14 other established Queensland artists, to respond to iconic Ipswich Houses as part of Ipswich’s 150 Year Celebrations.
Waterson’s house portrait of Rhossilli titled Accumulation draws upon her architectural experience, as well as her historical and experiential impressions of the house. In the process of coming to know Rhossilli, Waterson worked through various ways of perceiving its space, light and form.
Waterson explains the process of making the artwork began with drawings based on architectural plans and photographs of the house, in which she reduced the front elevation to its essential horizontal and vertical lines. “Just as it had during the restoration, the characteristic façade emerged as the key signifier of the house – it’s face – which I set about interpreting and representing in the work, Accumulation.”
Each single piece of hand-cut paper was meticulously arranged, aligned, and tightly stacked to hold information that forms part of the original elevations and details of the house. Without each single piece of paper stacked against the other, the work is meaningless without the next. The end result is reminiscent of rotary card files or the mechanical movement from a music box.
Intuitively we read the artwork as a set: as we approach the work, the vague form of a house appears like an apparition and in a moment the distinctive form of Rhossilli is revealed. Shift a little to the left or right and the image of Rhossilli is lost.
“Walking through Rhossilli with the owner I was struck by the process of restoration he had undertaken… sifting through records, photography and house fragments to re-find the original Rhossilli. No single complete record documented it as a whole. I was moved by the house’s hidden fragility: its sense of place could have been lost during restoration. I hoped to express this fragility in the house portrait.”
Accumulation (Rhossilli) questions the completeness of memory and threshold of recognition. Via parts; record, accumulated memories, uncovered fragments and stories; the house and its fragile sense of place are re-found.