What would be the one thing you would grab in a fire? What is the object you hold most dear? These are the questions Melbourne artist Tai Snaith asked eight writers to respond to for her solo show, The Best Things in Life Aren’t Things. She then drew these objects, based solely on the writers' descriptions. This exhibition pairs the texts and drawings side by side.

Writers including Anna Krien, Alicia Sometimes, Lorelei Vashti and Benjamin Law wrote of objects with little monetary value – a torn party dress, an asthma pump, an empty jewellery box – that are priceless for sentimental reasons and because of the powerful memories they evoke.

Across each of the works, Snaith explores our relationship with objects, the way an object can be “imbued with a certain power, even a soul”, and our attachment to these irreplaceable personal icons.

Snaith sees the process of drawing an object based solely on a writer’s description as like “what happens in your imagination when you read a novel and imagine the characters’ houses, hairstyles and accents…it is more saturated than it actually would be, and more surreal”. Her drawings explore this interplay between artist and writer, between drawing and text, between fiction and reality.

The Best Things in Life Aren't Things opens tomorrow, June 29, at Helen Gory Galerie, Prahran. It runs until July 23.

helengory.com