Robyn Stacey

Review: Visual Arts, Photography
Robyn Stacey at Jan Manton, Brisbane
Guest Relations Brisbane


I have stayed in many hotel rooms in many cities and towns. The experience of being in a hotel room, although now it is mostly apartments, is usually enjoyable but always with a tinge of weird. You enter this borrowed space and establish your presence while always being aware of the temporary nature of your stay.

Eventually you have to check out by a time previously designated. This is your borrowed part of the city being visited. It is somewhere where you stop and gather your thoughts after a day’s work, touring or visiting friends.

It is with these thoughts that I approach this latest suite of photographs from Robyn Stacey, an artist whose work I have long admired. Robyn has exhibited a couple precursors to this series of Guest Relations, being one for Sydney and Melbourne, with this latest being about Brisbane experiences.


Using a camera obscura she has projected the textures and colours of outside world into the plain atmosphere of the selected Brisbane hotel rooms. Sometimes we can see the occupants of the room. At other times it is as if we are in the room looking back to the walls; we are then the occupants.

The effect if that the room’s former emptiness is filled with the images from the city-spaces immediately outside the hotel window. Those occupants that are present have a look of far away eyes about them. They are in that moment of contemplation you often find yourself in when alone in these borrowed rooms.

Robyn has brought the outside world into their thoughts by wrapping it around the walls and ceilings of the room. Do these images really exist or are they projections from the thoughts of the hotel guest?


This form of tableaux is always open for translation by the viewer.  These sumptuous images draw the viewer in and allow for a host of translations based on the viewers own current situation and experiences. This is the beauty of Robyn Stacey’s work.

This series is  not documentary or prescriptive. Rather the photographs are empowered with all forms of triggers to engage the viewer by linking into their own visual and personal histories.

I highly recommend a visit to the Jan Manton Gallery and to spend some time contemplating how you react to each and every one of these tableaux. And when you get the time, do travel back from these photographs to look through some of Robyn Stacey’s former artworks.

Jan Manton Art, Brisbane – click here.

Empire Line – click here.

Stills Gallery in Sydney – click here.

The exhibition in Brisbane at Jan Manton is open from 2 July to 2 August 2014.


Recommended: Rating 10/10 (yes I like this series and many before!)

Paul Costigan, 17 June 2014


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