Preliminary Artist Statement for the local : current exhibition
at Wollongong Art Gallery, 2010

The Brickworks series seeks to explore ideas of home, house and shelter. A major part of the “Australian Dream” is owning a house. There is, in fact, somewhat of a national obsession with ownership of property.

Having become a home owner myself just recently, I wanted to survey the emotions and associations related to home ownership. Do we desire walls and bricks around us to separate ourselves from our surroundings and community? Or are they in fact the promise or manifestation of independence and liberty – financially and otherwise? Do we centre our work and our lives around this one edifice, working hour per hour, brick by brick, towards our ultimate goal of owning our own abode? Is it the least, or part of the ultimate materialism we are buying ourselves into?

In my art practice I don’t confine myself to any particular media or form. Instead I tend to become preoccupied by a place, situation or emotion that intrigues me, to then tease out its details and unique qualities. I then explore the most appropriate media to evoke the feel of it, often concocting my work from materials and stories that are inherent to it.

The universal symbol for building a house, the humble red brick, forms the basis of my current works. This small earthen unit, which has been serving for centuries as the building block for our homes.

I started by considering the brick’s physicality: its colour, weight, dimensions and proportions, as well as its perception by society and what it represents as a symbol. Additionally there is the brick as a single unit, and as a part of the whole, the wall.

My works depict the brick out of its known context and play with its materiality.

Settlement artwork by Bettina Kaiser
Installation view of artworks First Home Owners and A brick is a brick is a brick
First Home Owners (front) and A brick is a brick is a brick (back
Brick Trick artwork by Bettina Kaiser
Brick Trick
Installation view of Brickworks