14 August – 6 September 2003

Destiny Deacon's current exhibition at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery consists of 19 large photographs, a new video work and an editioned souvenir tea towel. Dominating the large gallery is Deacon's Oz series which includes four imposing, larger-than-life-sized versions of the characters from the Wizard of Oz. Deacon has interpreted them in her idiosyncratic way. Each figure is formed from two separate, greatly enlarged Polaroid images of home-fashioned dolls, titled for their attributes: Slow, Scared, Travelling and Sad.

The Wizard of Oz story offers Deacon a template for personas characterised by dissatisfaction. There is a pathos to their lack of personal strengths but also an underlying sense of hope as our familiarity with the popular tale informs us that Dorothy, the Lion, the Tin Man and the Scarecrow eventually triumph over the adversity imposed by their personal weaknesses. It is a story of human foible.

Deacon's attractive, richly coloured photographic prints seduce the viewer with a visual appeal that is more than just a palatable coating to the more serious concerns of her work. While her playfulness displaces the difficulty of many of her subjects, it relaxes the viewer enabling tough themes (including Aboriginal deaths in custody, mandatory sentencing, poverty, and violence) to be brought into full view, she is no Mary Poppins offering a spoonful of sugar to make the medicine go down. Her project is probably closer to William Blake's—identifying the destroyer of joy, the worm in the rose. In her pictures, beauty, exuberance, tenderness and play exist in the same frame as that which poisons them.

Deacon's new video collaboration with Virginia Fraser, Matinee, features two people soundlessly dancing the afternoon away in a large, empty, light-filled room. The only work in this show featuring human beings, it has been edited to resemble animation in its emphatically expressive details, and the way it renders improbable movement plausible.

In 2002 Deacon was the only Australian artist to be chosen for Documenta 11. Documenta, perhaps the most important survey of international contemporary art, is held only once every five years in Kassel, Germany. Deacon has also been included in numerous important survey exhibitions including the Fifth Havana Biennale in 1994, First Johannesburg Biennale in 1995, Yokohama Triennale in 2001, Australian Perspecta in 1993 and 1999, the Biennale of Sydney in 2000, the Adelaide Biennial in 2000. Her work is held in most major public collections including the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Queensland Art Gallery and the National Gallery of Australia as well as numerous private collections in Australia and overseas. D-tour is Destiny Deacon's third solo exhibition with Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.

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