The Art of Being Here
Vivien Dwyer – The Art of Being Here
The Art of Being Here is an exhibition that celebrates many years of momentary observations by visual storyteller Vivien Dwyer. Since moving to Singleton with her husband John in the 1970s, Vivien has recorded her experiences through a prolific series of artist’s sketchbooks. These exquisite works reflect her deep immersion and presence in a world that shifts quickly around us. More than simply providing quick drawings or studies, Vivien’s sketchbooks communicate the artist’s singular focus on truly seeing and recording what is before her, in all its profound detail. Here, the act of documentation is intrinsically connected to the artist herself, and the sketchbook provides Vivien with a trusted means to navigate her surroundings and indulge her unending curiosity. These books are both unedited personal diaries of her experiences and unique snapshots of her place in time, which raise the ordinary to extraordinary.
Vivien has completed some 46 sketchbooks over the last forty years. Many books specifically focus on the beautiful heritage buildings and gardens of the local Singleton area, while others tell the story of changing land use in the Hunter Valley. Several of the sketchbooks present Vivien’s responses as an embedded artist-in-residence, carefully reproducing the locations she is drawn to, sometimes by invitation, sometimes by chance and sometimes after years of wishful planning.
Behind the sketchbooks are layers of history, stories and events that deeply connect and bind the local community. Vivien’s works undoubtedly serve as keepers of memory; their importance reflected in Kit Foggo’s quote:
“…invest in your memories because no one can take them away from you and they only become more valuable to you with time.”
The sketchbook pages come with both illustrated and written observations by the artist. Each page witnesses Vivien’s physical presence in the ‘here and now’ and provides a testament to a distinct moment in time and place.
While Vivien Dwyer’s sketchbooks are the main focus of The Art of Being Here, the exhibition also includes watercolours, paintings and prints that were developed from her sketchbook process. Many of the works on display have been kindly loaned to the Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre by their owners for the duration of the exhibition – we extend our gratitude to the lenders for their great generosity in supporting the exhibition.
At selected times during the exhibition, Vivien will be available in the Singleton Arts and Cultural Centre as artist-in-residence, providing visitors with a unique opportunity to directly observe her skills and hear more about the many projects she has undertaken.