Friday 2 – Saturday 17 June 2017

Opening Event: Friday 2 June 6-8pm

Artist Talks: Saturday 17 June 3-5pm

When one of my favourite authors, Siri Hustvedt, wrote an essay, My Louise Bourgeois, about one of my favourite artists, I got a little excited. Emotional, even. Louise Bourgeois has become the poster-grrl for many women artists, embodying and transcending the moniker of Confessional Artist. Woman Artist. Confessional Woman Artist. Mother. Difficult Woman. Hustvedt’s essay is the catalyst for My Emotionalism; an exhibition where the primary mutual endeavour of the artists gathered is to translate emotional states. And more.

The artists exhibiting in My Emotionalism Grace Burzese, Cybele Cox, Danica Firulovic, Ali Noble, Katy B Plummer and Helen Shelley – share compelling affinities and complexities. They are frank about the role of emotion in their practices, and they are materialists.

Eliciting feeling through colour and form. Expressing emotion through gesture, action, video, and sculpture. The artists in My Emotionalism consider the deliberate articulation of their emotional selves as a central component of their practice. Concurrently these artists are also avid object makers. The physical presence of the artist is evidenced through the visible handling of paint, clay, fabric, thread and perspex.

Importantly, the practice of these artists cannot be simplified or confined to the disclosure of their internal lives. Greater than their autobiography, the artists also engage in active dialogues with minimalism, expressionism, feminism, capitalism, ornamentalism, high-low art, symbolism and ritual, psychoanalysis, craft and humour.

Louise Bourgeois revelled in the ambiguity of her art making. She was at once fierce and tender, protector and aggressor, she-he. Her work is the site of her emotional and psychological struggle – fear, rage, love – it is, ‘a visceral experience of the artist’s war with and love for the materials themsleves, yielding fabrics and threads, but also, resistant marble and steel and glass’. I suspect her broad appeal lies within the multiplicity of her art making and personality. ‘For LB it is rarely either/or; it is usually both-and. Hers is the Janus face. Contrary. Ambiguous. Clever. Vitriolic. Loving.

My Emotionalism takes it cue from the complexity of Louise Bourgeois’ works. Hustvedt endorses artists, particularly women, to keep making work coaxed from the emotional realm. Works that are cryptic, inconclusive, personal and that have multiplicity, she understands the drive to, ‘translate real experience into passionate symbols. The experience that must be translated is both deep and old […] It is of the body, female and male, male-female […]

Quotes taken from Siri Hustvedt’s essay My Louise Bourgeois, A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women, 2016.

Ali Noble 2017

© Ali Noble 2017

The Artists

Grace Burzese

Grace Burzese, Anxiety, 2017, acrylic on canvas. 220 x 254 cm. Photography by Grace Burzese

I use abstraction to try and create an emotional space. This space can allude to an environment and how I embody the feeling of being in it; or purely a feeling. Anxiety contains an awkward energy. The shape, conflicting colours, the busyness of it all contribute to this. Just like when experiencing anxiety, it is hard to know when to stop adding to it. My compulsion is to keep working it, layering it until it becomes something else altogether, to hide what is raw. There is something repellent, but at the same time I would hope a rightness resides. A beauty or poise created incorporating all of these elements.

Cybele Cox

Cybele Cox, Pink Light Imp, hand slab built ceramic, (glazed when finished), glass, light, 55 x 45 x 35cm

The emotional realm is where we all dwell, when love, fear, aggression, joy, sadness and empathy are embodied. Like curious creatures these feelings crawl in and out of a semi-conscious stratosphere. Memory is nearly always connected to an experience that is filtered through the emotions. Without it we drone along like zombies, the living dead, eternally hungry, consuming material objects, clutching to identity, accumulating wealth, etc, to fill that empty void. It attempts to fill it, but all too quickly dissolves, revealing itself as an empty illusion. What authentically fills the void? Responding to the world around us is the reflective nature of emotionalism. The emotions are our angels and our demons who fuel the spirit. Spirit is life, animating the body. And so I am presenting a spirit incarnate, a cheeky imp, who obeys no body. This Imp embodies my emotionalism.

This work is available for purchase.

Danica Firulovic

Danica Firulovic, Exposed Square within White Rectangle, 2017, oil on linen, 86 x 86cm. Photography by Danica Firulovic

My white-on-white paintings, varying in tonal application, require a sense of calm and focus as the subtleness requires time to absorb. They are guided by my interest in reductive, non-objective art and the emotion evoked by the predominance of white. I am committed to the subject of feeling in order to create works that require a response of pure emotion.

Ali Noble

Ali Noble, Green window, pink cascade, 2017, powder coated steel, plywood, felt, thread, netting, polyester, dimensions variable. Photography by Richard Healey Finlay

To be honest, a lot of the time my work remains a mystery to me. Often I understand it retrospectively. General themes that pervade my practise are the ‘presence’ and affectiveness of colour, materiality and labour. For this work I became seduced by pink metallic fabric and pink netting. For me, these fabrics simultanously hold the qualities of beauty and ugliness, they also create appealing visual effects when the light hits them.

Katy Plummer

Katy B Plummer, THE HOOVED AND THE CLAWED WILL CONSIDER THEIR VIOLENT BOND, 2017, single channel video, mixed media, dimensions variable. Photography by Katy B Plummer.

A sheep and a lion face each other at a table, locked in a high-stakes negotiation. The stuff of their dialogue is an anxious tangle of love, hunger, biological uncertainty and, of course, violence. Neither is sure they can build an exit with language. No-one will come out unscathed.

Helen Shelley

Helen Shelley, New Life Old Life New Life no.7, 2017, mixed media on Perspex, 160 x 110cm. Photography by Eamonn Mcloughlin.

My art practice is an important ritual that brings to mind and honours my late loved ones. My work is concerned with the way rituals symbolically immortalise late loved ones and thus ensure our relationship with the dead is vibrant and ongoing.