Curated by Sabrina Baker; CCAS Gorman House
Obnoxious Ladies in the Australian Landscape’s curatorial statement points to the historical lack of female representation in exhibitions of Australian landscape art. In fact, if you flick through any Australian art history book what is revealed is a litany of men exploring the landscape under the various tropes of curiosity, exoticism, fear, romanticism, patriotism, and identity, while women’s expressions, through their relegation to the home, are largely interior and domestic.
In Obnoxious Ladies in the Australian Landscape, chicks and nature go head to head. The artists project themselves onto the landscape, leaving their footprints and imprints and their often-sardonic views of white Australia’s relation to the landscape and the exploitation of it for identity.
Camille Serisier playfully looks at the Australian landscape through her photographs which depict life-size kitschy dioramas of the bush that she constructs with hand drawn and painted props. Within these scenes she posits people dressed as native animals navigating their way though the scene. In Ken Done It! (A title on par with Kenny Pittock’s Ken Donut) a young woman peeks around a tree trunk in koala ears and nose. In Digging for China, a man in kangaroo mask and tail folds his hands into a pair of paws and timidly glances at the audience.
Jeweller Anna Davern creates contemporary breast plates of Australiana biscuit tins pierced with slogans such as ‘I’m not Racist, but’ and ‘IF YOU DON’T LOVE IT LEAVE’ subtly revealing the dark underbelly to a glossy, manufactured image.
Jacqueline Bradley leaves feminine markers upon the country with a row of slingshots replete with the female accoutrements of hair clips, thimbles and jewellery. Bradley has also made curious hybrid sculptures where items of clothing are morphed with objects from the bush; a felt hat is imbedded into a sandstone bolder and the threads of tweed jackets are twisted into rounds of fencing wire.
The Cube Space is taken over by Alex Pye’s living room chair, cow hide, bong and empties while we watch her on the big screen in Cumnock: The Musical! Part One and Two, doing wheelies in a quad bike and red lipstick and mooching around the home – distinctly marking her territory within the NSW country town of 275 residents.
These artists are casting their eye out upon the landscape, looking at their position within it and leaving a distinct impression upon it.
Image: installation view Camille Serisier and Anna Davern