News · 27 January 2024

Interview with the Artists – ANTECEDENT

Col Mac. New Things to Worry About. Install view, 2023. Photo: Joe Rukli.

Antecedent – a group exhibition featuring work by Miranda Hine, Jenna Lee and Col Mac explores spaces and absences in forms of visual storytelling and record keeping.

Drawing from diverse sources like European ghost stories, historic houses and colonial dictionaries, this group exhibition highlights the nooks and spaces in our histories, and helps us potentially see the present with more clarity.




Miranda Hine (MH): The exhibition brings together the work of Jenna Lee, Col McElwaine and myself. We’ve been aware for a while now of several overlaps in our practices – interest in the archive, histories, storytelling and language.

Jenna Lee (JL): Antecedent asks viewers to reflect on the relationships between archive and identity, the ephemerality and enduring, and the interplay of presence and absence within narratives. But for me at least, what’s not present in the exhibition text is that Antecedent is a show alongside two other artists whose practices and processes inspire my own. 

Both through their use and access of memory and archive, but also through a group dynamic we have where we discuss, celebrate, and share each other’s works outside of this show. Of course, there is a thematic relationship between our works, but what I think makes this even more potent is the relationship between us as artist, we have responded to each other’s works by being responsive to each other.

Col Mac (CM): Antecedent explores spaces and absences in forms of visual storytelling and record keeping. In the same way you wouldn’t expect to understand a piece of music after a single listen, through revisiting art and the archive we can find a deeper understanding for the work and the connections that might not have been immediately clear. 

The exhibition addresses relationships between archive and identity, fleeting and enduring, presence and absence. Through painting and sculpture, we each play with expanded modes of archiving that embrace non-linear chronologies, fluidity of language, the ghostly and intangible.






MH: Recently I have been working only in painting, although my background is in sculpture and installation. My art practice is tied up in my museum research and curating practices. This is the first exhibition where I’ve fully brought these threads together in one body of work.

JL: As an artist, I would describe myself as deeply rooted in materiality, placing significance and importance on the materials I choose and the transformative processes they undergo. My approach prioritises the inherent memories and histories embedded in these materials. I have a deep love for working with source materials that have had a life, allowing me to intervene and alter them in ways that resonate with the new truth I wish them to carry going forward.

CM: I am an interdisciplinary artist who primarily focuses on painting. My current work engages with art history and our relationship with time and place through painting.



MH: Lots from different areas! I have always been drawn to installations by artists such as Fred Wilson, Barbara Cleveland and D. Harding because of the way they use ambiguity and narrative, often in relation to the museum. When it comes to mark-making, for as long as I remember I’ve been mesmerised by the work of Vernon Ah Kee, Edouard Vuillard and Jenny Saville.  Jenna and Col both inspire me hugely. So does my mum.

JL: I draw inspiration from Larrakia Country and Language, perceiving them as living entities intricately linked to the body. Every piece I create is anchored in these sources of inspiration, constantly asking myself questions like, ‘How does this connect to Country? How does it contribute to the vitality of language? How does the work resonate with my own body?’

Because of this way of seeing and making, I am drawn to artists like D.Harding, Judy Watson, Jonathan Jones, Lindy Lee and Simryn Gill.

CM: I love going to museums and I try and read as much as I can when I am researching a project. I also spend a lot of time in nature, taking my dog for a bush walk every morning and that gives me a lot of time to think and actively be looking for inspiration.






MH: My Mum, Jo-Anne, is an artist and an art teacher. There were always hundreds of art supplies in the garage and she ran after-school art workshops for local schools which I always went along to. 

Making things became second nature to my sisters and I, and it was always accompanied by Mum’s deep knowledge of art history and ways of seeing the world through ideas and materials. Rather than being a discovery, I think my love for art just developed naturally from there.

JL: My love for visual arts was cultivated through the strong cultural foundation my Dad instilled in me and my siblings. Growing up, we were always connected to our culture, with both parents ensuring that our lives were enriched with cultural experiences through books, food, art, and objects. 

My Mum is an educator with a background in home economics who transitioned into special needs education over the past decade. Having a mother who was both a teacher and a stay-at-home parent for the first 16 years of my life contributed to a childhood filled with rich experiences in learning and creative expression. 

She filled the mornings, weekends and school holidays with paper craft activities, a material that was readily available and cheap. It is through her that I learned many of the skill I now use in art.

CM: I always loved drawing as a kid but I didn’t come from an art family so the first time I went to a gallery I would have been around 17, after that I was all in.


Antecedent exhibited in the Metro Arts Galleries 3 FEB – 9 MAR, West Village, West End. 

Click here for gallery opening times.



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