Marina Strocchi left her residency New York City, returning home to Australia, just three weeks before its first Covid case was announced. Having grown up in Melbourne and worked throughout her career in the Northern Territory and Australia’s Central Desert, Strocchi was inspired to produce new, formally innovative works while reflecting on her time spent living in NYC.
In this new body of work, Strocchi approaches the mythic city on a haptic, and lusciously affective level. As a visitor – an Australian in NYC, that perennially recurring character – her perspective is constantly on the move, soaking in as much as possible as much of the time as possible. During her time in New York, Strocchi was living in Brooklyn and had a studio in Manhattan, and would frequently traverse the city between these two neighbourhoods. In an artist’s statement, she describes taking the D over the Manhattan Bridge, between the brownstones of her home and the 1920s warehouses where her studio was set. Focussing on movement through this city which is so ready to be read as symbolic, Strocchi is able to draw down a human, embodied experience of her setting from the ideas about it which run up and away into abstraction so easily. Columbus Circle in the snow, 2021, for example, foregrounds modes of transportation against skyscrapers – their patterning dense and idiosyncratic, like blue notes – in a tender and affectionate portrait of the cityscape as the artist anecdotally encountered it. In a sense, the architectural features of the city are approached like characters. Strocchi describes an interest in “the sheer mass and density of the buildings, the repetition of shapes, the walls of windows, sometimes reflecting, sometimes receding, and always towering over the mere mortals who inhabit them.”