Take a crown. Flatten it. Now pour sump oil over it.

Get in your semi trailer and run over it 100 times. Now chuck the crown away. What you’d be left with is a black, toxic multi-layered scar stretched over the landscape.

That’s what Caroline Rothwell might have been thinking of when making her work ‘Crown’ for Sydney Contemporary.

We say might, because part of the wonder of art for Rothwell is that it’s ok to get a different message than the one the artist thought she was ending with.

For Rothwell, you don’t have to know exactly what the artist is saying in words to read the ‘visual language’ of the artwork. That’s partly because the artist might not be able to articulate what they are trying to say in words either. In Rothwell’s latest piece, ‘Crown’, the crown is a metaphor of land – in particular, land in places that were colonised by a ‘crown’.

‘I’m interested in subjects around land and colonization. I play with staggering this image, it’s not just one form. I’m always interested in looking at contested landscape – looking at what it means.’

It was in Australia that Rothwell, who was born in Hull, UK, ‘discovered this big space of ideas.’

She now shows in both Australia and the U.K., with a solo show curated by Nina Miall starting soon in London.

‘Showing internationally is important for Australian artists. The more people see Australian work overseas, the more people realize how good it is.’

If you’d like to see more of Caroline’s inspiring work, be sure to check out the Sydney Contemporary Art Fair this month at Carriageworks.