Friday, May 18, 2012

Celebrate the 'F' word

Today I went down to our local art gallery and had a look at their current exhibition, "Celebrating the 'F' word".  It's 'f' for fibre, but I think it has a wonderful explicitly 'f' for feminist tone in the confident celebration of both domestic textiles and domestic content.

Some favourites included Mary Celeste's "Femicide Bomber", a sculpture of a woman in a black singlet with dolls, feeding bottles and kitchen utensils on the waist belt.  I also like Lindy Roberts' Colonial Cameos.  These medium sized frames in their traditional cameo style edging used fabrics from different countries in a colonial relationship, such as wool blanket, tapa cloth, shweshwe and cotton lawn hankies, with laser printed images in the centres.  Caroline McQuarrie had a crochet installation in the floor and on the wall, photographs framed with crocheted frames.  Catherine Moffitt is an artist who also works at the local state high school as a teacher and a dean.  In her heart series, she explores the emotions of the dean and the students.  My favourite was 'The busybody' (not shown on the website), with pointy hat shapes stuck to the heart.

Even the titles of the work referenced traditional female concerns in a way that I read as confident and proud and not twee.  One of Barbara McQuarrie's beautiful bright quilts was named "A Grandmother's Love".

I do have a quibble with the poor proof reading in the printed titles which go with each exhibit.  For example, Caroline McQuarrie's exhibit "The First Day of My Life" is mis-spelt to "Fist".  When artists have clearly put hours and weeks and months into their work, I think such slack errors are insulting.

If you have the pleasure of spending some time in Greymouth in the near future, then it's worth your while going to see this exhibition.

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