Umbrella Studio contemporary arts’ latest trio of exhibitions – Defective Rituals, Birth/Rebirth and The Logic of Dreams, will launch at the gallery tonight.
Defective Rituals, showcased in the main gallery space, features the work of Carolyn Craig, Caity Reynolds and Katelyn Jane-Dunn, and explores expectations of femininity through different mediums.
“Jonathan [McBurnie] asked if I would put a show on here, specifically around the female body,” Carolyn said. “I thought it would be much better to have a couple of people around that as a discourse and not me alone. Caity, Katelyn and I had all been at the Queensland College of Art at separate times but overlapped, and I felt each of our practices delved in that social discourse but in very different ways – together it would make a more complex and cohesive dialogue than any one voice would have.”
“I know Carolyn and her work well, and I felt like there’d be an interesting dialogue between my work and hers,” Katelyn said. “With Caity and I being a similar age, we have kind of similar viewpoints and thought it would be interesting to see how our works speak to each other, because I come from mainly photography which can be quite insular, so am always interested in talking to and working with artists using other mediums, thinking about similar things.”
“When I met Carolyn we were both completing our Honours degree and both went on to our PhDs after that – the first time I met her, our lecturer told us to do our elevator pitch on what our practice was about and Carolyn and I both said essentially the same thing,” Caity said. “There were a lot of overlaps, and I knew it’d be an effective relationship between us. I’d also seen Katelyn’s work previously and knew aesthetically there’d be some overlaps with things we’re drawn to in our processes and material relationships. So when Carolyn sent me an email, I knew it would be a good show because we already had that relationship in our practices, even if they may not be similar.”
Carolyn said her only hope when audiences saw the exhibition was not necessarily for them to agree or align with the work, but to make them think.
“The idea for me in having a practice is to trigger inertia; so my only aim with having an art practice is that perhaps someone’s inert thinking or that paradigm of thinking is triggered – whether they think my way is of no interest to me, but just stirring thinking as a practice.
“I’m a visual artist but I don’t really care if I do visual art; it could be anything, and my interest is in its discourse and ideas generation. Even if people get really angry about my work, that’s still thinking so just triggering a response is good because society is engaged and constantly creating inertia in our brains. It’s a way of reinvigorating thought patterns.”
Umbrella Director, Kellie Williams, said the exhibition had arrived at a time when femininity was a pivotal dialogue in the community.
“In terms of the content of this exhibition, I think it’s incredibly finger-on-the-pulse with what is going on right now in the world. In art circles it has been for a long time, but even now in pop culture and general circles this is the big topic, the #metoo campaign, the white ribbon stuff in Australia. Not just the body but all of these issues interconnected with what it means to really be a woman,” Kellie said.
“I have to admit my own bias because these ladies are playing with themes that cross over with areas I explore as an artist too. In the broader Townsville sense and what Umbrella sets out to do, I think it’s important that we continue to program artists like these girls from further afield so that the community and artists here can engage with different dialogues about different thematic content, and also make these relationships. I think that’s really important – things will live on beyond this exhibition because it was here.”
Catch the launch of Defective Rituals, Birth/ Rebirth and The Logic of Dreams at Umbrella Studio contemporary arts tonight from 6:30pm. The exhibitions will run until 12 August.