Isabella Sangster

Bachelor of Education (Secondary), Bendigo

In this series of paintings, titled Where are you? How do you feel about it? Are you sure? is my reflection upon so-called city life, particularly as a reaction to moving to a regional city from Melbourne. The subject of each painting is a window, through which we can see into someone's apartment and, by extension, into their lives. Each small-scale painting is 10.5cmx10.5cm and most of the space is blacked out to represent the confined nature of living in an apartment.

In my paintings, I want to reimagine the density of these people's lives for a piece that doesn't look into the future but rather to the major cities that dot our current planet. These cities are often overfilled with hopefuls who have moved from anywhere to see an overhyped concrete landscape for themselves. People have piled themselves on top of each other in impossibly tall buildings, dotted with tiny neon landscapes. At the peak of these buildings live those wealthy enough to escape the noise and clamour of the working world below.

This work was partly inspired by Liam Young's 2020 video 'Planet City'. In my work, I wanted to push the camera in from the marvellous futuristic architecture of Young's video to examine more closely the lives of ordinary people. As a painter, drawn to the work of Edward Hopper, I employ a voyeuristic look into the bleak and the "normal" in these everyday environments.

To capture urban density, I depict just enough of the individual lives inside the windows allowing viewers to create their own narratives about those people painted just out of view.

Image gallery