Women At Work
Curated by Linda Walker
The exhibition Women At Work brings together seven artists: Kerrie Stratford (Southend), Diana Wiseman, Mary Daily, Jean McArthur, Jo Fife (Mount Gambier), Francesca da Rimini, Yoko Kajio (Adelaide). A catalogue essay has been written by Adelaide critic and philosopher Dr Teri Hoskin.
These artists work in a range of mediums: painting, textiles, prints, pottery, collage, installation and performance.
By responding in personal and skillful ways to cultural and environmental issues, including landscape, water, family, travel, freedom, hope and domestic crafts, their works reveal different and specific practices that result from tireless dedication to the production of beautiful and thoughtful artefacts.
Women At Work is part of FRAN FEST, a month long festival commemorating the 40th anniversary of The Women’s Show held in Adelaide in 1977. It was one of the largest Australia-wide exhibitions of women’s art, showing over 400 works. The festival reflects upon and celebrates the history and achievements of women’s artistic practices, then and now, across the State.
FRAN: Feminist Renewal Art Network, 26 August – 24 September, www.franfest.com.au
Something drives me to create art. It’s always been there, since childhood. It’s landscape and the spaces and colours, the marks and textures. I work intuitively, moving from complexity to simplicity, toward abstraction, with no message. The process of making art takes me to a peaceful place.
Why do I do what I do? Because I can’t help it! Go down to the Potter’s House and you will find … a head full of ideas, a heart full of hope, and two hands to wedge, to knead, to centre, to heft, to shape, to mould, to build, to cut, to add, to tear, to fire, to glaze, to fire again … to crack, to unpack, to hold, to keep, or to castaway …
Water is one of the elements of earth. Feeling water, thinking of water, playing with water, listening to water. The nature of the world cannot be explained only in terms of the finite. This work seeks to express nature though technology, addressing the balance between the synthetic and the natural. It conveys the synthetic/organic nature of life, bringing out new forms in the observation of nature.
My work for this exhibition draws upon my experience as a woman with an art practice spanning several decades. This experimental work was inspired by a combination of past drawings, sewing techniques, and a response to women’s domestic art in the form of lace making.
Women all over the world spend much of their time doing unpaid work, the mundane tasks of daily living, for their families. They create, mend and embellish. They weave the fabric that holds the world together. As a war baby, I am unable to discard things. Therefore, my work, my life, is weaving leftovers, saving seasons, recycling precious threads, or papering over altered words. I need to save or document things in case they disappear…
Francesca da Rimini
Certain subjects compel me – alchemy, folklore/folk law, emancipatory social experiments, the nature of cognition, and states of ‘madness’ and ecstasy. I approach art-making as a hexing, a spell, a witch’s ladder to another realm. To paraphrase anarchist anthropologist David Graeber, a revolutionary act is to behave as if one were free. The soundwork is by Michael Grimm – WarpTHREAD, 10 tracks, each 66.6 seconds in duration.
I consider my works to have messages that I hope will be seen by the viewer and taken to heart. My experience with my works has taken me to a place where I believe I learn more about people and myself through what comes out – into drawing and then into painting – from ‘a well’ deep inside me. The alchemy of colour, the magic when combinations collide and become ‘white light’ and pulse drives the way the image unfolds.