Glorious Descent

Glorious Descent
Acrylic on canvas 60 x 40cm

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Review

Dangerous Domestic Delights
Paint The Town Red, Group Exhibition
Fraser Studios, Chippendale
July 4 - 10 2010

Paint The Town Red was a group art show featuring the work of Maggie Aydin, Willurei Kirkbright, Jacqueline Larcombe, Susie Nelson, Rachel J. Park, Bec Sheedy, Jenna Tapai and Madeleine Cruise. The show was curated loosely around the core ideas and artistic methodologies that were celebrated during the rise of feminism in the visual arts in the late 1960's and 70's.

The diversity of works in the show ranged from text to edible sculpture and exemplified in material terms the complexity of the movement and its continuing resonance with female artists today. With the exception of an unfortunate video showing yet more slime in a recreated birth scene, the show was a considered yet playful re engagement with the sentiment of being a female art maker. There was a consistent sensitivity showed to materials and and honest portrayal of life's bindings and constraints, tests and turmoil's that women find themselves experiencing. One needed only to read Maggie's work to laugh out loud at the pitiful state of conformity and measured systems of worth that people are encouraged to perform and succeed within. Yet ironically, though this work was autobiographical one inevitably found them self laughing or gasping at a mere reflection.

Evidence of self enquiry, a consideration for 'who' the artist is and an assessment of the identity of the female artist resounded in the show. This was done with a pragmatic antagonism, which made for an 'un quietness' to encompass the exhibition space. Fraser Studios made for an ideal setting to support the proportions of the show: With Susie Nelson's impressive paint scaffolding work towering high into the loft of the warehouse, her slow tenuous drips of red paint tearing through through the paper construction. Whilst behind this a maze of suspended toilet paper drapery caught the inevitable undertow of a winter draft that whirled around the expansive floor space.

Undeniably though, it was Cruise's work that took the cake (sorry couldn't resist) for best at show. Proving that a woman in an apron is formidable in the kitchen and out ! Predominately known for her painting, Cruise transformed her sensuous use of shape, colour and texture onto a plate so as to create Dangerous Domestic Delights. Like any dutiful 1960's house wife Cruise prepared the evening feast in style, her red and white gingham apron splendidly matching her red lipstick. However as her performance progressed, spectators of the exhibition realised that all was not quite well in domestic bliss - the cake was blue the pasta was green, the eggs filled with jelly and worst of all: A sickly smell of pickled onions paired with sugar syrup wafted from the dining table. The work was designed by the artist to be a culinary feast that both seduced and repelled the guest so as to test the parameters of good taste and visual appeal, sensuous desire and rational recognition. What was initially meant to be a fixed installation work, similar to her earlier piece edible art evening 2009 evolved into a performance. The artist became protagonist for the role of women in the culinary history and as dutiful house wives. Cruise inverted every social expectation of the respectable evening meal in Dangerous domestic Delights and humorously empowered all women in the past and present that cook up storms in their kitchens.

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