Contemporary Australia: Women, showcases a broad range of innovative and challenging ideas in a variety of mediums
The 1970s was an important decade in the shaping of the art world. Without the emergence of Feminism, Australia would not have the visual culture it has today. Contemporary Australia: Woman now showing at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane is a celebration of this achievement.
It is important to note that this exhibition is not purely Feminist in nature. It aims to advocate a plethora of emerging and established female artists living and working in Australia. It is a celebration of how women, through a multitude of practices, have shaped art in this country.
Accompanying the exhibition is Women in Film, a diverse cinema programme, curated by the fabulous Margaret Pomeranz, which also highlights how women have contributed to the development of Australian cinema.
This year the exhibition focuses significantly on performance art. In its opening weekend, the exhibition has already featured Performance Fee by Brown Council (Sydney) where for two dollars viewers receive a kiss and Mass Monument by artists Jess Olivieri and Hayley Forward. Here, the artists utilise the gallery’s own staff to produce a movement performance that interrupts the gallery space in a similar vain to a flash mob dance.
Most spectacular was the ephemeral Smoke Fields by Rebecca Bauman. For this event, Bauman teamed up with a pyrotechnician to send vivid coloured smoke into the air. Audience members stood transfixed as they watched enormous smoke clouds transform and swell as they billowed into the Brisbane’s CBD.
Inside the gallery, audiences will find artworks of the more traditional medium. Painting is prominent inclusion this year and all the works exemplify incredible technique in this tradition. Most impressive are Marie Hagerty’s beautifully finished paintings, which explore the processes of both figuration and abstraction.
Contemporary Australia: Women showcases a broad range of innovative and challenging ideas in a variety of mediums. Audience members may be confronted by some of the ideas presented in this show, but will leave with no doubt of the value of our women artists and the contribution they have made in shaping Australia’s artistic culture.
Contemporary Australia: Women runs until July 22 at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane.