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Engaging new group exhibition featuring four female artists
Inhabited Architecture is a new exhibition at Chrissie Cotter Gallery featuring four talented female artists who explore the representation of memory, emotion and family tensions in relation to the domestic realm of the home.
The works of Ro Murray, Freya Jobbins, Mandy Burgess and Susan O'Doherty can be seen in this exhibition. These four artists of varied disciplines explore their own interpretation of the theme of the "inhabited architecture" of the house or home.
Ro Murray is a Sydney based artist with a background in architecture. She uses various techniques and multimedia in drawings and sculpture. Through her art, Ro comments on world and environmental issues such as climate change, the use of plastic, and human rights issues such as refugees. For Inhabited Architecture Ro is exploring new work on her "dead filed" architectural negatives by overlaying them with red and black lino prints.
The negatives hang around three walls of the gallery, reminding me of a row of boldly coloured terrace houses, with one piece taking centre stage, hanging pegged from a frame in the centre of the room. While the artist is not prescriptive regarding the meaning of this work I choose to see it as a comment on the issue of homelessness and the impossible housing market in Sydney today.
Freya Jobbins is a contemporary artist based in the south west of Sydney. Her art practices include assemblage, collage installation, wearable art and printmaking. Freya is well known for her spectacular plastic assemblages created from deconstructed dolls and plastic children's toys. However, she also creates larger site-specific installations and sculptures. In this exhibition, Freya's works explore the spaces we inhabit and how they contain memories and emotions, history and tensions.
In her installation "There is no such thing as a Forever Home", Freya creates a fantasy room, a space containing homes within homes and crowded with "inhabitants". The work aims to take the viewer on a journey back to their childhood memories, yet on another level the role of the plastic toys is subverted as bollards are used to keep the viewer at a distance, making it plain that you are not invited to touch or "play" with these particular toys.
There is no such thing as a forever home by Freya Jobbins
The detail in this work is mind-boggling when you think about how many individual pieces are used and how long it would take to put each piece in place. I also love the remarkable sculpted balls Freya creates from dolls shoes or feet and other plastic pieces. A number of them are used in this work.
Mandy Burgess is a Sydney based artist who creates sculptural forms from hand-made plant-fibre paper, a material she enjoys working with due to its contradictory nature - it is strong yet at the same time, it is also fragile and impermanent. Formerly an architect, Mandy took courses in painting and drawing while living in New York and then completed the Bachelor of Fine Art at the National Art School when she returned to Sydney. Mandy has collaborated with Ro Murray in the last two years on installations concerning the idea of home and homelessness in particular relation to Australia's treatment of refugees.
Mandy is exhibiting two works in Inhabited Architecture. "The house will weep" consists of three paper doors made from handmade banana fibre paper, ochres and dyes. From a distance, the doors appear to be made from metal. The colour, size and form of the doors is even more impressive when you learn they are handmade from paper.
Her second work is titled "Hearth" and is a representation of a deconstructed fireplace and hearth, again handmade from banana fibre paper, with each piece hanging separately and giving a 3D type effect. These pieces remind me of a rustic stone fireplace which is noteworthy given they are sculpted by hand from paper.
Mandy explains that the Inhabited Architecture exhibition carries further the idea of home. She says, "I have used paper architectural elements such as the fireplace and doors to hint at psychological undercurrents that often exist in the places we live."
Susan O'Doherty is a Sydney based contemporary artist. Her practices include painting, sculpture and mixed media assemblage and constructions which deal with gender and social issues (both personal and political) and the ethereal nature of time and mortality. In Inhabited Architecture Susan is exploring the home as an occupied space and commenting on how a façade of an ordered and beautiful home can often hide emotional tension or conflict.
Her 3D wall pieces assimilate a wide range of familiar found objects such as furniture parts, kitchen implements, glass, china, metal, wood, plastic, textiles and ceramics which are set within wood framed boxes. Susan uses contemporary and vintage found objects in her works but amongst the domestic objects, you will also see more menacing objects, such as knives or guns which are used to represent a sense of threat or violence.
Some of the paintings and mixed media assemblages of Susan O'Doherty
Susan's paintings complement the assemblages with overlapping themes and subjects. Painted backgrounds denote domestic décor with repeating motifs suggesting the patterning of tiles, wallpaper, curtains and carpets. She uses a strong colour palette to draw the viewer into the domestic scenes.
The Inhabited Architecture exhibition commences at Chrissie Cotter Gallery on 15th March 2018 and will run until 25th March 2018. Opening night is on Wednesday 14th March from 6pm - 8pm.
There will be Artist talks on Saturday 17th March from 2pm and a free children's workshop conducted by Freya Jobbins on Sunday 18th March from 10am - 12 noon where children have the opportunity to make a mini version of their own fantasy home.
You can see this exhibition at Chrissie Cotter Gallery in Camperdown
Chrissie Cotter Gallery is located in Pidcock Street, Camperdown, next to Camperdown Commons. The gallery opening hours are Thursday to Sunday, 11am–4pm. Entry is free and the gallery is wheelchair accessible.