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Michelle Ussher
Army of Mirriams

Michelle Ussher was born in 1975 in Moree, Australia. She holds bachelor degrees from the Victorian College of the Arts (Melbourne), Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and the University of Newcastle, majoring in Fine Arts (Drawing), Fine Arts (Painting) and Industrial Design, respectively.

As an artist, she has exhibited her work extensively in both solo and group shows, most notably at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces (Melbourne), Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Heidi Museum of Modern Art (Melbourne), Linden Centre for Contemporary Art (Melbourne), Room 103 (Auckland, New Zealand), Galerie Gregor Staiger (Zurich, Switzerland), Studio Voltaire (London), Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), Contemporary Art Centre (Milan, Italy), Jewish Museum of Australia (Melbourne) and many others.

Michelle is a recipient of the Marten Bequest Traveling Scholarship (2009) and from February to April 2010 lived and worked in the Australia Council for the Arts’ London Studio. She has also undertaken numerous artist residencies, including the Paris Cite University of Sydney Power Institute Residency in 2008. Her work has been included in several notable corporate collections, including those of Art & Australia (Sydney), Monash University Museum of Art (Melbourne), Credit Suisse (Sydney), BHP Billiton (Melbourne) and Artbank Australia.

Now living and working in London, Michelle has completed several major commissions, including ‘There Are No Ordinary Days’, for Credit Suisse’s headquarters at Circular Quay in Sydney. Her work will also be featured in the forthcoming Adelaide Biennial at the Art Gallery of South Australia. The eight images published for the first time in this special feature are from a series entitled ‘Army of Mirriams’. In a statement written together with Mareike Dittmer for the above-mentioned Adelaide Biennial group show, Michelle writes:

Mirriam is more than one.

Mirriam is a vessel of memories she keeps rearranging to fit her ever changing most current self. She wears a cloak of politeness, ever charming and charismatic. She longs for emotional depth yet cannot still her heart other than through serendipity or the makings of a cardboard assemblage of treacherous nostalgic events.

Mirriam is sometimes not sure where one stops and the other begins as her skin is rather a membrane of confusion.

Mirriam is a designated eater of thoughts, who searches for moments when ideas become a taste on her tongue and rationality stuffs her belly while emotions run down her throat like warm whiskey.

Mirriam is a compulsive liar with amber eyes, a light blue conscience and a mint cashmere sweater she has knitted herself...

To summarise, Army of Mirriams depicts the narrative of a three-faced head relentlessly pursuing an object through a universe of parallel reflections. The print plays with the possibilities of perception in relation to fiction, holographic principle, alternate realities and contemporary theory. Utilising the repetitive process of printmaking, the series combines four images in ten permutations with five variations making each print unique.
Elsewhere, Michelle writes:

My work explores the potential for fiction to emerge within the pleasures of a contemporary hedonistic environment. The comprehension and digestion of complex incommensurable concepts as symbolic manifestations where the sensory is paramount intrigues me. Substantial research into the narrative possibilities of economics, politics, science, and history is important to my practice. Coagulating these ideas with my imagination I attempt to give form to the shapelessness of an anxious society. It is a purposeful yet intuitive process of translation. Within this creative mode I traverse different perceptions of growth and exchange, questioning the contradictory nature of freedom and its constructs.

David Prater
January 2012