Reviews/Visual Art

Untold secrets and imagined landscapes

29 June 2023

Linde Ivimey’s captivating sculptures and Susan Roux’s striking large scale paper works make for a rich and rewarding experience at Art Collective WA, discovers Craig McKeough.

Syndicate 5 + 1 Survey, Linde Ivimey 
Embed, Susan Roux
Art Collective WA

There is likely no other commercial gallery in Western Australia that delivers such consistently strong showings of contemporary art as Art Collective WA in Cathedral Square.

Its rolling exhibition schedule of collective members and guests – usually with two artists paired up to deliver simultaneous shows – offers the chance for thoughtful curation and plenty of variety for the viewer.

The latest offerings continue that trend, with a rare chance for Perth to see the captivating sculptures and objects of expat Linde Ivimey along with collective member Susan Roux’s striking large-scale paper works.

The artists’ styles are quite different but they find common ground and harmony with their skilful and inventive use of materials, enabling them to work well together in this space.

Ivimey, who started her art career in Perth and trained at Claremont School of Art in the 1990s before moving to Sydney, has carved out a space in the national contemporary art scene with her distinctive sculptural style, which is characterised by her use of an extraordinary range of materials in appealing and often compelling ways.

Sculptures of people and animals stand on wall mounted shelves. There is something discomforting about them - one has a stitched mouth like a zombie, another elongated fingers with bulbous tips.
There’s a twist of the macabre in Linde Ivimey’s sculptures. Photo: Acorn Photo

For Syndicate 5 + 1 Survey she brings 10 new works commissioned by a group of local collectors known by the somewhat ominous title of “The Syndicate”, along with a survey of works from earlier periods. 

The commissioned pieces dominate one side of the gallery and immediately force a double take – they resemble young children in form and size down to the small soft toys some of them are clutching and the first impression is of a group of preschoolers let loose in the gallery.

But something isn’t quite right in the playground with this posse of youngsters. The way most of them are covered in a network of mesh made from woven bird bones is the first clue, along with the realisation that, amid the fabric, paint, bones and feathers, none of them has a face that we would recognise as human.

They are from a fantasy world; playful with just a twist of the macabre. Their collective title of Parvuli is Latin for childhood, and Ivimey credits Ernest H Shepard (illustrator of AA Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh books) with some of the inspiration for their existence, suggesting we shouldn’t be disturbed too much by them.


Her smaller sculptures and objects also exhibit this uneasy blend of quirky charm and horror, with their mishmash of forms and a laundry list of materials, from fabric, bones and teeth from birds, fish and other animals, to stones, resin, dried viscera, and even laundry lint. The real skill on display here is Ivimey’s eye and hand in bringing these disparate elements together so adeptly, gifting her creations lives of their own.

Susan Roux produces some gleaming surprises. Photo: Acorn Photography

It is up to the viewer to decide what these lives may be. Each miniature figure or object seems to carry its own story; their form and the materials from which they spring hinting at untold secrets. The longer you spend with them the more powerfully they draw you into these hidden histories. 

Susan Roux is best known for her spectacular installations in paper, usually dyed in tones of grey and stitched and manipulated into sculptural forms.

Here she brings the same approach to a more two-dimensional plane, as meticulously stitched paper forms are attached to a substrate of papers and backed with a cotton lining. The results are imagined landscapes, or perhaps skyscapes or underwater scenes. And Roux adds elements such as bursts of twisted aluminium to produce some gleaming surprises.

As with Ivimey’s work, each of these six 2.2m x 1.5m pieces rewards extended interrogation. There are layers of complexity to delve into, and they are cleverly suspended from the ceiling within the gallery rather than on the walls. This gives them a strong presence in the room and enables the viewer to walk around them and understand their structure and something of how they are put together.

There’s a lot going on in this small gallery space, and it is well worth investing the time to become immersed in the artworks to fully appreciate the way each artist has applied a mix of vivid imagination and advanced technical skills to reveal something profound in unexpected places.

Syndicate 5 + 1 Survey and Embed continue until 22 July 2023.

Pictured: Something isn’t quite right in Linde Ivimey’s playground. Photo: Acorn Photo

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Author —
Craig McKeough

Craig McKeough is a writer and visual artist, with a lifetime’s experience in journalism, covering everything from the arts to horse racing, politics and agriculture. Craig has always been drawn to the swing; an egalitarian, grounding piece of equipment where you can go as high and wild as you want, but you’ll always return to where you started.

Past Articles

  • Isolation no obstacle for artists

    Over the last three years the Mycelium project has presented 12 exhibitions, one in every region of WA. The culmination of this project, Open Borders, celebrates the creative energy of our regional artists, says Craig McKeough.

  • Take a trip down memory lane

    You’ll find plenty to spark memories of your own in Placemarks, an exhibition that sees artists explore far flung places from childhood, former homes and old haunts in the suburbs.

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