RE POST:Art Guide Australia article

pussy galore.jpg

Maragrita Sampson, Pussy Galore, altered and gilded chair with textile.

The Charged Object: soft sculpture and the aesthetics of touch

Naomi Gall  |  Posted 11 Mar 2016

Everyone has a favourite jumper. It’s snuggly, warm, comforting and familiar. Through soft sculpture installations, The Charged Object takes these feelings out of the domestic space and into the gallery context. Exhibition curator Felicity Martin comments, “We’re familiar with a knit jumper, for example, it’s worn, it is a textile used within a domestic environment so we’re very comfortable with it, we understand it within that environment. But when you put it in a gallery it totally changes the way we experience the jumper.” This exhibition explores the way in which tactile materials can become charged with meaning and significance when placed within an art gallery.

The artists in The Charged Object: Margarita Sampson, Michelle Cawthorn, Brett Alexander, Paulo do Prado, Anne Graham, Nicole Monks, John Brooks and the Yarrenyty Arltere group utilise knitting, felting, weaving and various other textiles techniques to create works that are predominantly large scale installations, some of which incorporate media projections and animations. When selecting the artists Martin had a strong desire to include both Indigenous and non-Indigenous work and she fell in love with the handmade soft sculptures of the Yarrenyty Arltere artists. The curator also turned to the book Soft Sculpture and Beyond: An International Perspective by artist Jutta Fedderson as a starting point for the exhibition. Along with fellow curator and exhibiting artist Paula Do Prado, she selected a diverse group of artists “I think it’s going to be really interesting,” she says, “because there is a range of different works and different types of materials, and each work carries its own memory and associations as well.”

Although there are serious aspects to some of the works, Martin is quick to point out the humour in the show and the seemingly inevitable sense of fun which surrounds the objects. Laughing, she admits that presenting a gallery full of soft, sensuous, incredibly ‘touchable’ materials, but not allowing anyone to touch anything might be a bit mean. So the curator has a plan.

“We’re working on the idea of a sculpture made by the community out of gloves called Don’t Touch. And she explains that, despite the title, “people will be able to touch that particular piece. The gloves will be decorated through sewing, applique and different techniques.” Martin admits that she considered how children in particular might experience the exhibition when she thought of this addition.

The Charged Object showcases textiles, textile techniques and the tactile power of the soft sculpture.

The Charged Object: soft sculpture and the aesthetics of touch
Gallery Lane Cove
9 March – 9 April 

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