The Face of America
Michelle Hamer is a Melbourne (Australia) based artist who uses signage and language to reflect the restrictions, shame and mixed messages we all experience at some point in our lives and that she negotiates everyday. Corbett Lyon, director Lyon Housemuseum, describes her as an ‘urban flaneur’ – someone who observes society. It is these delicately timed personal and political observations that she brings to her arresting visual, tactile and vibrant artworks.
Hamer graduated architecture (RMIT University 1999) but gave up her career to navigate EDS - a connective tissue disorder (like Australian pop singer/ songwriter Sia). While living with a chronic disability forced constraints on her ability to thrive in her chosen profession, it also led to reimagining herself and an accidental career as a visual artist.
Endlessly confined at home, time felt slowed with only the escape of drives to medical appointments. She spent hours painstakingly hand-stitching the freeway signs that appeared to be personally warning her through the darkly humorous undertones of urban and suburban landscapes.
Michelle Hamer's hand-stitched and drawn work is darkly humorous and familiar. Based on her own photographs and collected text it is concerned with being present in contemporary narratives and complexities. She is interested in the way that language (including signage) can define space and reflect on personal and global beliefs. Her works oscillate between fast and slow; past and present; analogue and digital; 2D and 3D; personal and political and become markers of rarely captured but revealing moments of 'everyday' fear, aspirations and trauma.