Portrait of the artist © Marsha Dunstan

Permitted Walks, Marsha Dunstan’s latest work and first photo-book, continues her exploration of our relationship with the built environment with an investigation into the limits of personal territory and agency in a time of crisis and uncertainty. These 51 photographs, published in book form, are her diary of the first days of the 2020 coronavirus lockdown, when the entire population of the UK was permitted one period only of outdoor exercise a day.

“Walking gave shape to the days but at the same time it set up a persistent dissonance, a discomfort. I was walking to exercise my now very restricted physical freedom because a state of emergency had been declared: we were under deadly attack. Yet no bombs fell, there was no ‘damage’ to be seen. Roaming largely empty pathways and undisturbed streets, I realised my expectation of disaster was conditioned to involve visible destruction. The words ‘disaster struck’ are always accompanied in news reports by violent images of war, famine, giant mudslides or tsunamis. The glorious weather only confused me further. Terrible things do happen on sunny days (why is this so hard to believe?) … During this time, I walked 258 km with my camera. This is my diary: one image from my permitted walk per day and a front page headline from a national newspaper.”

In the series, Dissolve, the 19th-century docks of Canary Wharf reflect the ephemeral traces of the physical and economic might of the modern financial district in London. These images touch on circularity and transformation, intimations of vulnerability and the role of visual seduction in historical narrative. Previously, her Pink tree has has been a recurring and unruly feminine presence in the urban landscape.

Born in Australia, Marsha Dunstan has lived and worked in London for many years. While pursuing a career in newspaper journalism, she studied drawing at the City Lit. She gained her BA (Hons) at Wimbledon College of Art in 2007 and her MA (Fine Art) there in 2009. Her work is represented in public collections in the UK, including Vital Arts and the Canary Wharf Group, and private collections in the UK, Germany, Belgium, Australia and Colombia.

Artist’s book
2020   Permitted Walks
2021   Two prints from Permitted Walks are included in Vital Arts’ #100NHSRooms project.
Solo exhibitions
2014   Dissolve, the Schraube Museum, Halberstadt, Germany. Part of Monat Kunst Halberstadt.
    Dissolve, Long White Cloud, London E2.
2013   Under the pink tree, Vital Arts at the Royal London Hospital, London E1.
2012   Threshold, University Centre Milton Keynes Gallery, UK.
Group exhibitions
2014   CGP London Open, Cafe Gallery, Southwark Park, London SE16.
2013   On Site, Unit 3 Projects, London E3.
2012   Inter-action MK Open Exhibition, Milton Keynes, UK.
2011   London Group Open Exhibition 2011, Cello Factory, London SE1.
    Aggregate group exhibition and Open Studios, ASC Empson Street, London E3.
    Photomedia Open Salon 2011, Charlie Dutton gallery, London WC1.
    I-SHO, The Gallery, Edwards Lane, London N16.
    2 normalcy bias, Listros Galerie, Berlin.
2010   Painting: A Question of Confidence, University Centre Milton Keynes Gallery, UK.
    Cabin Fever, Tupajumi Foundation at the Co-Prosperity Sphere, Chicago.
    normalcy bias, X-Ray at The Perseverance, London E2.
 2009   MA Show, Wimbledon College of Art (UAL), London.
    Intersections, The Nunnery, London E3.
2008   Secret Lives, Rivington Gallery, London EC2.
    Approaches to What?, The Nunnery, London E3.
2007   Curve, La Danza Studios, London N1.
    Open Studios, Martello Street, London E8 (part of Arts Unwrapped).
    BA Degree Show, Wimbledon College of Art, London.
    Deutsche Postbank Exhibition, London EC4.
2006   Niche, the Crypt, St Pancras, London NW1.
    Deutsche Postbank Exhibition, London EC4.
2005   Open Studios, Martello Street, London E8.
    One-Night Stand, A Gallery, London SW19. Deutsche Postbank Exhibition, London EC4.
    Deutsche Postbank Exhibition, London EC4.

1st Biennale / Monat_Kunst_Halberstadt _ Dokumentation/Catalogue (published 2015).
an Magazine – November 2011 (‘Make Digital’).