The Body Politik

Louella Adey, Naomi Hamer, Bailee Lobb and Alice Tait. Curated by Jackie Terrett and Naomi Hamer.

27 October - 7 November 2015 
Opening Night Tuesday 27 October 2015, 5-7PM

The Body Politik invites you to play with the political and to find your voice in the conversation. What happens when your body fails you or stops living up to expectations? When you find yourself not represented at all? The Body Politik is an investigation into the practices of four emerging artists from the UNSW Art and Design Textiles program Louella Adey, Naomi Hamer, Bailee Lobb and Alice Tait. The exhibition explores the global and intimate feminist body; mental illness and disability; infirmity/disruption and the family unit; the national body of Australia's backlash towards the global refugee crisis. We invite you to form a tactile relationship with the exhibition through touch and by participating in soft sculpture workshops ignited by the activist aims of The Body Politik.

ID: Installation view of "Now Your Mess Is Mine". The image field is filled with  crocheted upright soft-sculptures, resembling globular ten-pins. The sculptures stand approximately 1.3 m tall, and the surfaces of each sculpture are horizontal rings of brightly coloured yarn.
Image: Naomi Hamer, 'Now Your Mess is Mine', 2015, installation view. Photography by Lauren Bonner.

Where does your body sit in the politics of today?  
Exhibition Review by Emma-Kate Wilson

Four emerging textile artists from UNSW Art and Design have joined together to put on an exhibition at Kudos Gallery, Paddington to explore notions of the body. Artists Louella Adey, Naomi Hamer (and co-curator), Bailee Lobb and Alice Tait in association with fellow student and curator Jackie Terrett, think about your body in relation to and in the context of each others. All artists use textiles as a starting point, carefully handmade to express their concerns within the contemporary society we inhabit and our place within it. 

As you walk into the exhibition you are given a choice - which way to begin, left or right? Alice Tait's Babies lure you to the right and Mumma Blobbity is close by encouraging you to stroke her voluptuous teats, absorbing you into Tait’s motherly practice. Tait's work is the first example we see of the close tactile relationship all the artists share with their work. Her sculptures comment on the gaze in relation to the female body and the constant fascination that the female body can garner walking down the street. As with Madonna, Tait turns the sculptural body into an idol by putting her up on a plinth.

Around the corner Louella Adey's Sound Bound invites you to move around her foam installation with the white noise peacefully inviting you into a tactile relationship with her work. The beautiful hand painted and hand sewn bruises and decay on the foam reflects the foams sound absorbing quality. The work invites a state of play, like abacus beads, furthering an intimate bonding session with Adey’s imagination. Adey's own sentimental reasonings reflect her mother's loss of voice due to disease and beyond this, the physical body and embodiment of personhood. The foam and tight rope play off each other and the white noise pulls elements together to metaphorically represent sound and the loss of it. Bailee Lobb's Orgasm and Bodies in Flux play off each other, drawing the mind to think firstly about Lobb’s own body; our bodies; then to think about the media's portrayal of the female figure and more and more down the rabbit hole of body dysmorphia, consent and manipulation. With Bodies in Flux we are left thinking ‘when will she stop with the alterations? How big and plump does her body need to look to reach perfection?’ Where Bodies in Flux deals with the external female form, Orgasm probes us to look at the internal female representation. Our own personal state is not left as a question, the title of the work directs us to think about our own orgasm. Lobb has made the orgasm to be something beautiful, feminine, glittery and with little bows attached. On the flip side, consent is considered, how far will people push the boundaries and test the space left open by the artist. How far can you push your body in Lobb’s Orgasm?

Naomi Hamer's Now your mess is my mine confronts and demands you to step within the boundaries and explore the personal space of the individual sculptures. Each piece holds the time a refugee is held away from Australia illegally. Permanently struggling the limitations of a placement in any society. Hamer uses crochet to reflect the interweaving and connection of the material: "If this is broken it all falls apart and I think there is a beautiful truth to that, not dissimilar to our relationship to each other." Hamer places herself and her artwork into a political context. She believes that we need to take a responsibility for the refugee crisis, and her 'Mess' (as affectionately nicknamed by Hamer and Terrett) invites you to sit in their space and contemplate our ethical responsibility to one another globally and locally.

Emma-Kate Wilson was a participant of the White Cube Program.

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