Featuring the work Elsie Wright’s Doily for JM.
Exhibiting with artists Crisia Constantine + Sophie Reid-Singer, Deborah Eddy, Simone Eisler, Emmalyn Hawthorne, Natasha Narain and Michelle Vine.
Group exhibition curated by Crisia Constantine.
Project Gallery – Queensland College of Art, Southbank, Brisbane.
16-27 February, 2021.
Vinyl, paper rope, coated wire, 800 x 800mm.
“This exhibition proposed to explore the recycling of plastic in a responsible and meaningful way that balances ecological concerns with the recognition of plastic’s versatile features. 'The Plastics' invited artists from different mediums to reflect upon their own day-to-day use of plastic and to create objects that examine the environmental, aesthetic and technological implications of plastic. Most significantly, this exhibition aims to illustrate how plastic connects with history, and permeates heritage and tradition. If plastic is a long-lasting element, then we should use the existent plastic to tell long-lasting stories through new long-lasting art objects.” Curator Crisia Constantine
Installation view and detail
Images by Louis Lim.
Group exhibition view and detail of individual works
Images by Andrew Willis.
Elsie Wright’s doily for JM
Process and concept development
The work is made using recycled vinyl I have cut into strips. The materials, including coated wired were mainly sourced at Reverse Garbage. I had learned the technique of coiling in the 1990’s and it was both engrossing and quite satisfying to return to this intimate way of fabrication. A lace doily was my design reference. The motif is one I had included in a major public art commission a decade ago, based upon a RNA (EKKA) prize winning doily made by Elsie Wright (1898-1986).
The artwork operates across multiple registers. It is about exploring an ethos of reuse not just in simple material terms but also as we might apply across our practice and lives, to reconsider and reinterpret our past to reshape our future.
The central core of my work is that of relationship between individuals and the possibility for intimate and meaningful engagement. Expressed in this work through my labour and attention as I coiled the inner circular base of the eight-lobed star while I spent precious hours with my elderly mother in early December after a year of COVID separation.
Research into traditional craft based skills and material culture have informed my work for almost three decades. Ideas of transparency, layering and permeability have been ongoing motifs in my practice and recur across media and scale to articulate fluid reciprocal relationships. I have developed a visual language with traditional mediums of lace, Jaali-work (stone carving), paper cutting and embroidery as reference points within my work. These traditional techniques all deal formally with the relationship between the structure and void, presenting resilient objects that are open to allow engagement between inside and exterior.
My extensive use of plastic and industrial materials gives me pause for concern as we become increasingly aware of the perilous situation that our world is facing as resources decline and the environment is irrevocably damaged. Travel in India introduced me to companies and designers working to devise strategies to use recycled materials. I have drawn from this research combining a traditional textile technique of coiling with repurposed industrial plastic materials. Thus the work is a meditation on all these elements and a celebration of enduring relationship that is glorious in all its imperfections.