Art of the body

I went to a really interesting exhibition this week at Adelaide Central School of Art. It featured the work of two women, Deb Prior, whose work I have seen previously (I have one of her pieces actually) and Cheryl Hutchens. It was a really interesting and thought provoking night. Each artist took, I think, a long time to create the various works – and those repetitive ‘womanly’ arts/crafts of sewing, knitting, beading featured strongly. The primary theme was the body – not the body beautiful, but the messy, odd, unpredictable, quirky, very human body, the one we actually live in – that is also beautiful, but not in obvious ways. Deb’s work also incorporates domestic textiles – blankets that have had a long life for example, and pillows that are stained from use – sweat marks are outlined and embroidered to highlight rather than hide. I found it all intriguing and a bit unsettling – their explorations seemed to me to bring them to a point of understanding or acceptance that is unusual and hard to grasp – like poetry can be.

One piece that I really liked was an old woollen blanket that had small round holes cut into the fabric at regular intervals. The circles were then sewn back in a different order, so that the colours and pattern of the original blanket were all mixed up. Apparently the piece was made thinking of Deb’s grandmother, who had (or has) dementia – the holes in memory that mean that her life is all there, but mixed up and sometimes forgotten. The renewed blanket is then displayed flowing out of a blanket decorated pelvis – like a metaphor for birth or blood or the flow of life maybe. I’m not sure I’m doing it justice, but it was lovely – you’ll get the idea a bit from the photos (click to enlarge). I’ve also included some photos of a few of the other works at the exhibition – just a taster…

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2 Responses to Art of the body

  1. Mandy says:

    Fascinating and different 🙂

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