Girls On Cars: Top Models In The Driver’s Seat

Girls On Cars Exhibition Lydia Hearst
Franki Hobson


Feb 23, 2016

One of Australia’s most celebrated models herself, Amy has worked for prestigious designers and fashion houses around the world and drawn on her inner circle to explore themes of female liberation, equality and personality, amongst others.

The exhibition consists of 20 multi-media works featuring fashion models, friends and personalities as the subject matter for the collection, including Lucinda Taffs, Nicole Trunfio, Lydia Hearst, Jessica Gomes, Lauren Brown, Simone Kerr, Dani Smith, Katie Davis, Sonya Kukanis, and Sophie Ward and others.

Girls On Cars Exhibition Jessica Gomes
‘Jess’ (2016) by Amy Finlayson. Mixed media on archival cotton rag paper. 53x53cm (framed), POA.

Amy’s ‘Girls on Cars’ exhibition depicts women in public situations embodying their negotiated gendered identities in and on a piece of machinery that is normally associated with the opposite sex.

Amy shot the images on a camera using 120mm film layered with mix media to create a metaphorical dimension to the work. The prints were then bathed in water mixed with enamel and polypropylene paints creating a marbling effect which represents the layers of personality that are accrued during the journey of life. Oil, pastel and pencil were used to create the finished product.

Here, we spoke to Amy to discover the story and themes behind the exhibition…

Q. What was your objective for the collection? 

“I wanted to express a time in my friends’ lives, and my life, where we were navigating the trials and tribulations that came with growing up. The uncertainty, irony, the lightness and the darkness of figuring out who you were and what you wanted your future to be.”

Girls On Cars Exhibition Lydia Hearst 2
‘Lydia’ (2016) by Amy Finlayson. Mixed media on archival cotton rag paper. 53x53cm (framed), POA.

Q. How did the models and personalities respond when you explained the theme?

“Everyone was very supportive and I think they all jumped at the chance to be shot in a way that they could somewhat control – they all styled themselves and chose the car to be shot on. It was a collaborative effort.”

Amy Finlayson Dani
‘Dani’ (2016) by Amy Finlayson. Mixed media on archival cotton rag paper, POA.

Q. How is female liberation and equality explored? 

“For the most part, cars are associated with masculinity, so by having a show of women only and positioning them on the cars, I have attempted to blur the boundaries that exist between male and female representations and associations in society.”

“Having the girls embrace their personalities, in public, on these cars, also helps to highlight how you can navigate your own expression of gender in society. (There is also one male in the show).”


Q. Explain the metaphorical dimension to the work… 

“The cars represent the (literal) vehicles and tools you use to navigate/drive/control your future. The layers of paint represent the metaphorical layers we accumulate throughout life. Sometimes dark, sometimes messy, they are a fluid representation of our emotional layers. The works are bathed in a pool of water filled with marbled paint, so this also links to the tale of Narcissus, who drowned in his own reflection, so these pieces also tell the story of being consumed with identity in today’s society.”


Q. What were some of the stand-out stories behind the lens?

“For Dani’s image, I paid a taxi driver in NYC $5 to park for five minutes while we busted out a few pictures. His response when we were done was, ‘I thought I would see more for $5’. Dani and I laughed it off – the sexual innuendo was just so direct it was comical and quite ironic.”

Amy Finlayson Nicole
‘Nicole’ (2016) by Amy Finlayson. Mixed media on archival cotton rag paper, POA.

Q. What do you hope viewers will take away from the exhibition? 

“To not be afraid to be yourself and jump at what life has in store for you.”


‘Girls On Cars’ opens on Wednesday February 24 until March 4 at The Centennial Hotel, 88 Oxford Street, Woollahra NSW. Visit www.thefincollection.com for more information.


By Franki Hobson


Franki Hobson has worn many hats during her many years as a women's lifestyle journalist and editor. Her launching pad was COSMOPOLITAN magazine, where she moved from News & Entertainment Editor to Features Director, covering everything from the legalisation of the Morning After Pill to Gwen Stefani, fashion, beauty, sex, health, fitness, entertainment and relationships. Franki Hobson is a contributing lifestyle writer for The Carousel.


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