Shaun Wilson has utilised war dioramas in his studio practice since 1984 where, as a twelve year old, these boyhood assemblages were foremost part of an expansive collective to represent the memories of family war narratives mapped onto the various tableauxs he created and later exhibited in numerous public displays at his local school, later abandoning miniatures for a painting major at arts school in the early to mid 1990s.
Yet it wasn’t until after the death of his father Peter Wilson in late 1999, a significant juncture in his personal and professional life, that Wilson returned to miniatures through a Master of Fine Arts at Monash University and following, a PhD at the University of Tasmania as a means of using scale as a device for memory, initially to represent a metaphoric relationship between war efacements and the demise of his father’s embodiment through cancer, and later, a mode to communicate the engagement of place in art.
As he now revisits these instances again nearly two decades later, the war miniature becomes a more outward looking device to expand a dialogue pertaining to the relationships of the socio-political and, especially, the role of irony reflected in a metamodernist framework, and its impact on places where localities take on their own kind of relationships with trauma and intervention. The works in this exhibition bring with them a mobility about their agency which talks of the consumption of collective ridiculousness and the relativist understanding of a visual totality; a kind of wunderkammer of sorts which commands the viewer to a Swiftian sense of narrative inasmuch propensity as the work summons in emotional currency, invested in what Wilson considers to be his most valid tool - the merger of craft and the disruption of simulacra.
Jessica Schwientek, curator. April, 2018