Saturday, August 29, 2009

Luggage revisited

I've written about these works before, but I found some more photos, so thought I'd revisit them. The installation shot is from the Luggage... Not Baggage show at PCL Exhibitionists in 2000.

I seemed to be a little confused about the titles when I wrote last time, but apparently this first work is called Why Prolong The Agony? I'm not sure why... It has human hair sandwiched between fly wire, so maybe I was using the idea of a cage entrapping people? I think it's a lyric from a song. This is about 20x20cm. I machine stitched the panels, then hand stitched them to form the bag. The handles are artificial hair plaits.

This work is called Just What Is It That Makes Today's Boys So Different, So Appealing? I've used the title a couple of times to suggest a paedophilic theme. They're clearly just snapshots, but by giving them a suggestive title, it forces one to reexamine the images. One becomes a voyeur, rather than just a mere observer. The photographs have been laminated into panels, then linked with key rings.

I seem to think, in the previous post, that this is called What Is It To Be Human? Initially I thought it must be the one with the hair, and I'm still not entirely sure that it's not! Then this would be Why Prolong The Agony? Not sure how that would fit either! The interior is plastic cling wrap that has been hand spun, then woven over a frame. The panels were sewn together, then covered in faux fur. This is probably the most useful of the bags, and also the least "artistic."

This last one is called What Price Love? It's made from cards that I'd received from men after I had, uh-hum, "met" them, which had their names and phone numbers. I chose only those cards which had a first name, but no last name. They were sewn between sheets of acetate. The stitching to form the bag is also machine stitching (the plastic was flexible enough to allow it to be squished through the sewing machine).

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Oklahoma City National Memorial

For this post I thought I'd start showing memorials that I photographed while doing research for my MFA (my thesis is
here). I went from Sydney to Tokyo, to the U.S.A. and Canada, Europe and Israel, all on a three-month trip. One of my favourites was this memorial, the Oklahoma City National Memorial.

"The Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum was created to honor those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever by the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. The Memorial and Museum are dedicated to educating visitors about the impact of violence, informing about events surrounding the bombing, and inspiring hope and healing through lessons learned by those affected." My main problem with this memorial was the inclusivity expressed by the statement above, from the website. I think things have gotten out of hand when those who were "changed forever" are treated the same as those who are killed in this sort of event.

Here is some explanation of the symbolism, again from the website:

Gates of Time
These monumental twin gates frame the moment of destruction – 9:02 a.m. – and mark the formal entrances to the Memorial. The East Gate represents 9:01 a.m. on April 19, and the innocence of the city before the attack. The West Gate represents 9:03 a.m., the moment we were changed forever, and the hope that came from the horror in the moments and days following the bombing.

Reflecting Pool
The pool occupies what was once N.W. Fifth Street. Here, a shallow depth of gently flowing water helps soothe wounds, with calming sounds providing a peaceful setting for quiet thoughts. The placid surface shows the reflection of someone changed forever by their visit to the Memorial.

Field of Empty Chairs
The 168 chairs represent the lives taken on April 19, 1995. They stand in nine rows to represent each floor of the building, and each chair bears the name of someone killed on that floor. Nineteen smaller chairs stand for the children. The field is located on the footprint of the Murrah Building.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Man Who Eats Meat Cannot Sneer at the Butcher

This small (15cm high) sculpture, titled The Man Who Eats Meat Cannot Sneer at the Butcher, was from the same exhibition as the works in this post and this one. It's a figure constructed from wire and chicken bones, and covered with sewn, cooked chicken skin, which I then salted to preserve it.

I worried about storing something with chicken skin on it, even preserved as it was. Eventually I took the skin off and had it outside in a friend's garden for a year or so. The wire rusted and the chicken bones have dried out.

Let Down Your Hair

This is a Rapunzel-themed work called
Let Down Your Hair. I've exhibited it three times in two different versions. The first show was at COFASpace, in a show of Sculpture students' work (the photos with the wooden floor), and the same version was then shown in my Honours Year Graduation show. The long plait is made from human hair matted together then braided to create the rope hanging from the ceiling. The brown paper is hand made and has hair embedded in it. Printed onto it are versions of the Rapunzel story, or commentaries on it, or poems with a similar theme, as well as a few hair-related texts.

Here are 16 of the original 25 prints. The others didn't scan so well, what with the small printing on some of them, and the hair in the paper...

The brown paper was quite thin, which is one of the reasons why I displayed it on the ground. For a show in Melbourne at MARS Gallery I decided to reprint the text onto white paper which also had hair in it. I then had the paper on the wall so that the text could be read behind the hair plait. It's in the centre of this image, in the corner.

Evolution Hasn't Finished Yet

This is one work that was exhibited with the figures I wrote about here. I have a few more works from the same show to post. I worked with the human figure, but with different materials and different sizes, and all slightly stylized rather than realistic representations. This work was called Evolution Hasn't Finished Yet. This work had its genesis in the chico baby sphere which I wrote about here. The resin started to separate from the chico babies, so I put it out in a garden (the garden of Patrick White's house, just for a bit of name dropping) to see what would happen. It was attacked by birds who ate the chico babies, but one shell was left intact, so I thought I'd coat chico babies in resin and deliberately create empty shells. The cicada shell works that also feature in the same post also had an influence with the idea of metamorphosis. I put the shells on circuit boards to suggest the influence that technology could have on our evolution.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Momentum in Canberra - Closing weekend

I've just come back from Canberra where the latest leg of the Momentum: 18th Tamworth Fibre Textile Biennial tour has just finished at the ANU School of Art Gallery. There was a diverse and well-attended symposium on the Friday, the closing night event in the evening, then on the Saturday a series of floor talks from the curator and 5 of the artists in the show. I spoke on both days, giving information about different aspects of the work that is in the show.

I took a number of snapshots of the exhibition so that a general feel for the show can be had, without trying for great shots of individual work. Most of the titles and artist details can be seen in this post. The first two photos are from the entrance, then the rest move around the gallery in no order.

Here are some photos from the closing night:

These are from the floor talks, in the order that people spoke. Vicki Mason, Jane Bowden, me, Annie Trevillian, curator Valerie Kirk talking about Louise Saxton's work, and Cecilia Heffer. Valerie Kirk spoke about the work of all the artists who weren't there.

And lastly here's a review of the show from The Canberra Times on Thursday July 30 (Times 2 section, page 8). It's the best review of the show yet, and of course by "best" I mean "talks about my work the most"!

The tour moves to Wagga next with the next show on at the Wagga Wagga Art Gallery from August 7 to September 30. See here for full tour details.

I also received some more photos from the weekend taken by Annie Trevillian:

Bruce Carnie, Annie Trevillian, me, Cecilia Heffer