Curated by Amy-Clare McCarthy & Kieran Swann
Opening 05.10.16 6-8pm
Artist Talks 27.10.16 6-7pm
NETHERWORLDS are grappling at the corners of the everyday, carving dark sanctums thick with power, love, and potential. Through object and performance, this exhibition claims space somewhere between contemporary art, the spiritual, and othered identities and behaviours.
Informed by emergent contemporary relationships between ideas of magic, mysticism, cultural ritual, and art making, netherworlds reflects on theories of early performance as invocational ritual, and prehistoric art as sympathetic magic (first proposed by ethnographer Richard Andree). Drawing on ideas of communitas, perceived and actual power, and the exoticised ‘other’, netherworlds foregrounds contemporary perspectives on the crafting of safe space and the empowerment of diverse artists through ritual and talisman or creative contexts.
Through her sonic practice, Naomi Blacklock subverts the history of her gender and cultural identity as ‘othered’ via accusations of witchraft or exoticised as ‘mystical’; Caitlin Franzman’s Magical Thinking explores the role of the diviner to work with methods and symbols of ritual in crafting contemporary work; Anastasia Booth embodies the subversive figure Baubo, comic, obscene and lascivious, alongside performers who portray the powers of similar mythological women; Blake Lawrence considers images and encounters of men who have sex with men through the lens of natural spiritual practice; and Clay Kerrigan’s work reflects the contemporary re-emergence of pagan practices within queer communities. With further writing by curators Amy-Clare McCarthy and Kieran Swann, reflecting on the intertwined history of art and magic, and emergent queer and feminist pagan practices, netherworlds opens dark and powerful spaces.
Naomi Blacklock is a Brisbane-based artist, working primarily with sound installation, text works and performance, her artworks involve an exploration and examination of mythologies regarding wild women archetypes such as sirens, witches and banshees, and the female scream as they have been treated in performance art and feminist psychoanalytic theories.
Anastasia Booth works across sculpture, moving image, photography, sound and performance. Her practice playfully interrogates the portrayal of women’s desire in cultural production and symbolic discourse, with a particular focus on fetishism. Employing strategies of subversion, abstraction and appropriation, her works draw influence from contemporary subcultures, art history and mythology. By reconstructing these visual codes through the formal and theoretical languages of artistic practice, her works speak to the problematic, humorous and often paradoxical relationship between depictions of the feminine and women’s desire and agency.
Caitlin Franzmann’s practice explores contemporary art’s potential to instigate change by way of critical listening, dialogue and self-empowerment. In reaction to the fast pace and sensory overstimulation of contemporary urban life, she creates situations to encourage slowness, mindful contemplation, and social interaction in both galleries and public spaces. These situations include immersive sonic spaces such as wearable listening sculptures, architectural interventions and audiowalks. Caitlin’s practice is social, drawing on diverse communities as principle collaborators in generating unforeseeable possibilities. She often works site-specifically – researching, experimenting and developing new work in the environments she is responding to. Recently, her work has extended to public spaces, celebrating the inextricable links between space, ecologies and human life.
Chantal Fraser is a multimedia artist with a BFA (Honours) from Queensland University of Technology. Fraser’s practice engages in pushing the boundaries of adornment, intersectional experience, social positioning, and gender through mediums such as collage, installation, performance and digital media. She has exhibited at various national institutions and galleries such as QUT Art Museum, UQ Art Museum, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Footscray Arts Centre, Blindside ARI Melbourne, Bus Projects Melbourne, MOP Projects Sydney and Casula Powerhouse. Fraser has exhibited at international institutions including La Cité internationale des Arts in France, Les Brassières in Belgium, Tjibaou Cultural Centre in New Caledonia and Harris Gallery, University of La Verne, California USA. This year Fraser has been included in two satellite exhibitions as part of Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival and will also be discussing her work as part of the Cindy Sherman Public Program at QAGOMA.
Clay Kerrigan is a poet, writer, model, teacher, and ritual artist living in Los Angeles, California, where he received his Master’s degree at the California Institute of the Arts. Blending fantasy tropes, queer archetype, goetic magic, and made-up rituals in visions of possible deaths through homo-fucking, fighting, and family-making, he deconstructs notions of “community” in an attempt to navigate a shared ultradimensional solitude. Clay reaches backward while dreaming forward on the timeline of humanity, hoping to see through the veil, into the divine, through the lenses of sex, gender, and age in essay explorations of queer monsters and their societal practices. Clay has produced chapbooks for Darin Klein’s Box of Books VIII and The Earthfire Institute Wildlife Sanctuary. He is currently a staff-writer for End/Pain’s online magazine ISSUES, a writing instructor at both Los Angeles City College and Glendale Community College, and an editor for Litmus Press.
Blake Lawrence is a queer Sydney-based artist working across wearable forms, performance, and digital and camera-less photography; most recently, the alchemical printing process of Cyanotype. His work addresses personal history, fantasy and spirituality, the queered and natural environment and sexuality. His work is deeply tied to the Australian landscape, particularly the estuaries and agricultural lowlands of his hometown Palmers Island, in Northern NSW, and those surrounding Sydney. He performs post-gender neo-burlesque locally, under the moniker Canoe, and is a member of the club costume/character duo, Wisteria Hysteria.