Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Feminage. The logic of feminist collage


My work will be in this new group show in Sydney. If you are around pop in and check it out!
Opening: Saturday 4 August at 3pm

Feminage Roundtable: Saturday 25 August at 3pm

Chaired by Catriona Moore with Jacqueline Millner, Virginia Fraser and others

Artists: Karla Dickens, Elizabeth Gower, Emily Hunt, Mehwish Iqbal, Deborah Kelly, Fiona MacDonald, Paula do Prado, 
Sangetta Sandrasegar, Sally Smart, Tai Snaith, Nancy Spero, Jemima Wyman

Feminage. The logic of feminist collage 
Feminage frames collage as one aspect of the diverse legacy of feminist art practice. The title re-inflects US artist Miriam Schapiro’s 
art historical slogan to further complicate the terms ‘collage’ and ‘half-century of feminist practice’.

In the 1970s, informed by feminism, gay rights and conceptual art, women artists creatively collaged the visceral, often violent 
encounters of family life, work, immigration, welfare and religion. These micro encounters demanded a more nuanced form of collage, 
a process of cutting-and-pasting together of new forms of identity, new social competencies, and alternative ways of being in the world.
 Feminist collagists took up the more radical lessons of Hannah Höch and reinvented the everyday in a social as well as purely aesthetic sense.

Collage’s dynamic, chimerical logic of fragmentation and suture continues to open new angles on sexual, post-colonial and cultural 
identities. The artists in Feminage, in the main keep to the classical approach to collage, researching and sourcing, glueing, overpainting
 and alienating existing images. In an era when media mash-ups, morphing and online surfing are familiar cultural processes, Feminage 
weighs collage’s rejection of singularity and paradoxical logic. Each artist adopts collage as radical verb, embracing collision and 
weaving and an affective spectrum running from the slow pulse of stitch and weave to sharp, kinetic shock. Viscerally each uses
 images of or about women as a "body politic" a site of resistance and sign of not accepting the status quo.

The Feminage exhibition is the first in a series of three annual exhibitions and platforms to discuss a proposed new National Feminist
 Art Exhibition in March 2015. Much of feminist thinking was seemingly comfortably absorbed into the post-modern movement, 
yet in most democracies women artists only occupy 20 per cent of the walls of museums and galleries. (Seen.paradoxa statistics page.)
 This lack of statistical redress extends to the institutional neglect of feminist thinking and aesthetics.

Two decades ago, art historian the late Joan Kerr (1938-2004) initiated a three-part women's art project using Australian Research 
Council funding. There were three main outcomes. The first, the thematic and collaborative compendium Heritage: The national women's 
art book, 500 works by 500 Australian women artists from colonial times to 1955, was launched on the 20th Anniversary of International 
Women's Year in 1995 at the National Gallery of Australia. Opening on the same day was the National Women's Art Exhibition organised
 by Kerr and Jo Holder with more than 150 exhibitions of both historical and contemporary art by women across the country 
envisaged as a "great imaginary exhibition". Finally, Kerr and Holder edited Past Present: The national women's art anthology memorialising
 and critiquing the program with commissioned texts, extracts from catalogue essays and reviews. The new National Feminist Art
 Exhibition in March 2015 aims to cover the decades that followed.


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