Exhibition: Make Your Mark

This is the inaugural exhibition at the new White Rhino Artspace. The exhibition “celebrates creative expression as a valuable tool in promoting wellbeing and community spirit.” There are works by 13 contemporary female artists, mediums including sculpture, textiles, installation, and paintings.

The team behind White Rhino consists of three women, all of them showing works in the exhibition. On the opening night the rooms were packed and there was a great buzz and positive atmosphere. It was exciting and inspiring to see the support and energy they have generated.

Caroline Kronenberg: Shadows
Caroline presented three works – a bamboo sculpture and two A2 sized framed photographs. The sculpture was one of a series created in collaboration with a bamboo master during a residency in Thailand. The seed-pod form was inspired by local fish traps. I was very interested in the photographs shown, and especially Caroline’s statement that this documentation was of the shadows, the cast mark of the form.

This idea of documenting and extending work was also seen in Matthew Bromhead’s drawing (22-Jul-2018). I thought I’d documented a lot of shadows in my own work, but a quick search of the blog didn’t turn up any evidence on that. Something to bring to the fore in the future.

Jane Bodnaruk: Holding by the seams

Jane’s work here references the roles of women sustaining and maintaining their families – the repetition, the joys, the tedium, the traces we leave of our voyage. I’ve shown some of Jane’s work before (13-Nov-2016) which explored the journey of women convicts on the first fleet. It’s interesting to see the themes of women, the domestic, tedium, responsibilities, developed in different ways.

Chatting with Jane at the opening I was particularly taken with her comments on the highly deconstructed shirt. She thought about how to make it a drawing of a shirt. Fascinating.

Christine Wiltshire: Strung, not unravelling mistakes

Christine “works with, and at times subverts, the traditional rule based conventions of hand knitting, whilst considering the generative potential of unintentional made mistakes. These mistakes occur randomly and often mark the site of an internal or external distraction of the maker.” In the exhibited pieces, rather than going back to a mistake and fixing it, Christine changed material (cotton and nylon threads), improvised any adjustments (for example to get the number of stitches the pattern expected), and continued knitting.

Christine explained to me that she deliberately chooses to use techniques in which she is not highly proficient, that she finds awkward or difficult. Some of that is an interest in the development of muscle memory, but there is also opening up oneself to making mistakes, to see what happens. In an earlier work Christine used cross stitch. At first she unravelled the piece entirely whenever she made a mistake in the pattern and started again. Realising this could leave her with very little to exhibit, Christine adjusted her brief so that she stopped working on a piece and began fresh with each mistake. Some attempts were abandoned quickly, one or two advanced much further, but I don’t think any were “completed”. There is so much to think about here – the nature of work, particularly repetitive (women’s) work, perfection, learning, “finished”, enough…

Ruth Hadlow (mentioned many times in this blog) has been a significant influence on Christine. I think this can be seen in the clarity Christine shows about her focus and interest, the rules or briefs which she sets herself, the open-ended outcomes she welcomes.

Tracy Stirzaker: Double wedding rings: something blue
Tracy is one of the three partners in White Rhino. I wrote about her solo exhibition in Lane Cove earlier this year (25-Mar-2018).

Tracy’s artist statement references Irish philosopher and poet David Whyte who writes of Three Marriages – to another, to work, to self. The wedding rings here refer to the marriage to oneself, the importance of commitment to oneself, and Tracy’s research into anxiety, depression, and self-worth.

The idea of the Three Marriages is new to me, but it’s an interesting experiment to try to declare “I am enough”. It’s about on a par with “I am an artist”.

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