5 October 2018

Making : Memory opened tonight

Rox De Luca, Michele Elliot and Laurie Paine

open 11am -  5pm Friday - Sunday 5-21 October

Artists conversation 21 October 2pm 

Artlink review by Craig Judd

Michele Elliot

Laurie Paine

Rox De Luca

4 October 2018

Essay: Making : memory by Lisa Sharp


Making : memory

Rox De Luca, Michele Elliot, Laurie Paine

Friday 5th October until Sunday 21st October, 2018

In a Copenhagen museum there lies a peat bog-mummified body of a woman, over two thousand years old.[i] She was found in 1879 lying curled up and fully clothed, just a metre below ground level. Unaware of her great age, she was brought to the local doctor at Ørum who had her body undressed, and all her clothing washed and dried in his yard. Her name, her identity, any memories, all lost. Now known only as the Huldremose Woman, for the place she was found, the Huldre Fen. She had lived, loved and died in the Bronze Age, between 160 and 340 BCE. The textiles and objects found with her, so extraordinarily well preserved, poignantly, though not fluently narrate enough to evoke so much about this woman - her body, her life, her self.

She wore a woollen dress woven in a checked pattern. Made in 2 parts, the skirt was fastened around her waist with a leather strap held in a woven waistband. A scarf, made on a tubular loom, was pulled over her head and held in place under her arm with a needle fashioned from a bird’s bone. The skirt was probably blue/green and the scarf red. Over this she had on two sheepskin capes, an inner one worn with the sheep fur facing her body and the outer one with the fur turned out. The inner cape was a patchwork, assembled from 11 small dark brown lamb skins stitched together. It was well worn, bearing 22 sewn patches. Stitched inside one patch were a collection of objects; a fine bone comb, a narrow blue hair band and a leather strap. As these objects were contained in a bladder and stitched in, they must have been significant to her; amulets or charms perhaps. Around her neck were 2 amber pearls strung on to a piece of wool thread and on one of her fingers, the impression of a ring remains, worn at the time of her death. She was about forty years old. Under her woollen dress she wore underwear, a plant-based fabric of linen, nettle or hemp in a plain weave, because as we know, wool, while warm, itches the skin.
‘I am a gift.’ [ii]

There is something very touching about these antique textiles, and their capacity to hold and convey such intimate details of the woman who wore and perhaps made and mended them. In many ways, the three artists of Making : Memory carry on the legacy of this unknown woman from Huldremose; their works in the exhibition not only exploring the powerful bodily attributes of cloth, particularly as worn clothing, but also continuing even through disruption, a human legacy of textile traditions. For artists working with cloth, clothing and textiles, weaving, collecting, sewing or assembling, whether well or badly, for function or not, is to access knowledge and techniques that have formed a collective, generational endeavour. Touching cloth is an evocative and haptic experience; bringing forth deeply embedded memories of self, family and community. Rituals around textiles recur in our lives; we are wrapped and clothed and wrapped again between birth and death. ‘Cloth sheathes our bodies in a second skin: swaddling us in cultural belonging.’[iii]

In terms of making, the crafting and labour apparent are at once learnt skills as well as meditative methods. And so, it is with a keen sense of their maker’s hands on and in the material; holding, dying, gifting, stitching, keeping and weaving cloth, collecting, sorting and assembling objects that pervades the reading of these artworks as made memories, a comingling of collective as much as individual histories.

‘I am given as a thank you for all good received.’[iv]

Rox De Luca’s works bring together a self-reflective exploration of a personal, familial and cultural past through a site of intersection with the contemporary moment of consumer-driven globalism. Tangible childhood memories hang from the walls in physical form. Suspended from simple wire hangers is a collection of worn but clearly cherished articles of clothing. Plaintive, evocative, innocent, the clothes tell of a particular time – a Melbourne childhood of the 60s and 70s and more; of sisters, sharing clothes, thrift, motherhood, and a father’s work. Accompanying the kept clothes, affectionately named Baby Dress, Cossie, Mama’s dress, The smock and MTA Coat are De Luca’s distinctive garlands of weathered plastics, which she collects from Bondi Beach, later sifting and threading them on to wire or string. These could be interpreted playfully, as colourful wreaths given by the sea or with sinister menace, as manacles of waste products disgorged by a polluted ocean. Either way, their careful arrangement and display gives rise to a tension in the indexation of things. Here, discarded rubbish found on the beach has been made lovely; collected and carefully arranged by colour and size. There, lovingly cherished objects have been worn and dulled by time, their seams fraying, colour fading, and age spots staining. The value of the object and the action of art has caused it to sit on a sliding scale, somewhere between fetishizing and aestheticizing.

While De Luca’s colour palette appears at first glance to be an exercise in contrast, in the context of her oeuvre, many of the pieces evoke the migrant diaspora experience. Growing up as an Italian Australian, the red green and white flag was for her a constant template for memories made in the new country. On another reading, there is a wider diaspora of ocean crossings undertaken by mass-manufactured plastics – and paired with the regulation green uniform of the MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) Coat the tendrils of red soya sauce caps sets up a dialogue about migration and between ephemerality and permanence.

Michele Elliot’s work, the lovers, is a series of 7 separate textile pieces. Elliot works from the starting point of discarded clothing, the everyday familiar of low-tech and commonplace things. A critical distinction in the work though is their humble reception by Elliot as gifts, rather than merely as found objects. Taking her needle and thread, she stitches with awareness of the person whose body inhabited the garment. The work is repetitive and time consuming; long lines of monochrome thread pierce and run over the surface, the action of sewing transforming the object from a utilitarian shirt into an undulating textile body. Pinned to the wall in a row, their visual weight and verticality strongly suggest the moving body yet curiously, equally resemble a hang of abstract paintings. It is as if painterly gestures of colour, form and void have left the constraints of frame and support in order to twist and writhe upon the white gallery walls. Somehow, the process of hand sewing seems to have made the clothing more closely resemble the bodies that wore them, as if they were indeed that second skin, that swaddling in belonging.

While the series references Magritte’s painting of the same title, in which a textile barrier impedes an embrace between anonymous lovers, these lovers are differentiated bodily actions, and the embrace is contained in the way they embody the action of making. After all to mend a cloth is to love it. Indeed, tender attributes are gently ascribed to each work in the naming - riviera, M, mountain, painter, meadow, protector, poet, in quiet acts of homage to the givers; among them a goddaughter, a mother and a close friend.

At her loom, Laurie Paine captures vignettes of everyday life, weaving slices of her own history alongside observations on contemporaneity into the structure and composition of her works. Made with wry humour the Social Security Suite is a suit of clothing - a hairshirt, flagellating whip and crown of thorns woven out of letters from Centrelink. Rather than a community of belonging, these missives depict the artist’s struggle to fit within a ‘one size fits all’ collectivisation, her memory made physical by this studied fashioning of a torture costume fringed with thorns and nails. In another series, R.I.P., obsolete train tickets are woven in to the fabric with fine silver threads over a black ground cloth. Viewed from a distance, the everyday journeys fall into a larger reference, of a cross or crossing, referencing the ongoing allure of travel. This technique is repeated, but on a much more personal level with an Untitled series on pale linen. One in particular holds a discreet memory; waxed paper straws from Paine’s grandparents’ milk bar in Balmoral. The attempt to pin down these otherwise disposable or transitory objects is haptic memory making; by embedding them into the textile they become permanent memorials.

Some of Paine’s most recent works are exhibited in the elegant Untitled trio of weavings on black silk with gold thread. She recounts how these are a continuation of of an earlier body of work in which she, unknown even to herself, was able to draw from early memories and associations with textiles (her mother’s collection of cushions). Without consciousness or deliberation she had figured her weaving with Palestinian embroidery motifs, ‘stylized, and yet still recognizable: a language that we recall but can no longer read.’[v]Years later, she still uses this figuring and invents upon it, but now with consciousness and deliberation. One of the weavings is an elegiac poem, made in memory of her mother and culture.

‘Can’t you see, I curl up, while I become too small for my skin, while
I become too small, my voice becomes broader, taller, deeper, my
prayer will fill everything.
I am a gift, know me by the light, I am a gift.
I am a star.’[vi]

Making : Memory is an exhibition that gives voice to the innate human activity of making as a means of accessing and exploring memory. Rox De Luca, Michele Elliot and Laurie Paine are artists who have an eye to the larger significance hidden in the everyday rituals, to the cycle of days where we wake up, wash, clothe ourselves, eat, touch, cherish, love and lose. Taking worn clothes and handled objects out of and back into the everyday through their making (and re-making) as artworks in a gallery is a reverent and transformative gesture. It is a gesture that enables not only a commentary on pressing contemporary issues of migration, mass manufacture and the value of a human life but also connects to a shared human memory of the warmth and beauty of textiles. Alongside the Huldremose woman we still live in a time where these cloths not only hold our bodies, they warm us and they identify us.
Lisa Sharp
5 October 2018

[i] The Huldremose woman, The National Museum of Denmark, Copenhagen
[ii] Ursula Andkjaer Olsen, ‘I Am a Gift’ (extract), a contemporary Danish poem written in response to and shown alongside the Huldremose Woman.
[iii] Anthony Camm, ‘some kind of longing: textile works 1995-2015’ Michele Elliot, Exhibition Catalogue Essay, Ararat Regional Gallery, 2 April – 22 May 2016
[iv] Ursula Andkjaer Olsen, Op.Cit
[v] The last 50 years: an example of Palestinian culture in the Diaspora – Palestinian embroidery and heritage material in Australia’, http://palestinecostumearchive.com/oz.htm
[vi] Ursula Andkjaer Olsen, Op.Cit

25 September 2018

Making : memory - Rox De Luca, Michele Elliot and Laurie Paine

Friday 5th – Sunday 21st October, 2018

Opening: Friday 5th October 6-8pm

In conversation: Sunday 21st October – 2pm

Artist and Articulate co-director Margaret Roberts in conversation with the artists, Rox De Luca, Michele Elliot and Laurie Paine

Open hours: Friday - Sunday 11am to 5pm

Making : memory  came about through exchanges between the artists that focus on collecting and accumulation, gesture and process. This body of work presented by De Luca, Elliot and Paine coheres in material conversations around the life of textiles and objects. The artists incorporate once-used and familiar objects, re-imagined and transformed through weaving, stitching and assemblage.

About the artists:

Rox De Luca lives in Bondi, New South Wales. De Luca’s practice reflects her interest in the serious global issue of waste, specifically plastic waste that our species generates daily. De Luca uses weather-worn plastics sourced from her local beach and one of our nation’s most popular, Bondi Beach. Sometimes plastics are accessed from elsewhere for example, aviation seals or the thread-like remnants left by the drilling process of the plastics. The resulting sculptural garlands and tangled constructions are reflections of her coastal home and the greater human landscape of waste. For this project, Rox would like to incorporate found and reclaimed textile materials in her sculptural pieces.

Rox De Luca  Mama’s dress with green garland, 2018,  clothing, found plastic, wire detail

Michele Elliot is a visual artist and occasional writer based in the Illawarra, NSW. Her work encompasses sculpture, installation, textiles and drawing and comes out a material practice. Whether in large scale installations using thread and fabric constructed in the space of the gallery, or with her more intimate objects, Elliot’s focus on connectivity, mapping and the body often results in a strange balance between restraint and excess. Her survey exhibition, some kind of longing : textile works is on display at the Tamworth Regional Art Gallery in Sept-Oct. It includes works that span more than two decades. Currently, Elliot is Artist-in-Residence at Tender Funerals in Port Kembla NSW, through funding from Create NSW.

Michele Elliot green floral (detail), 2017, gifted clothing, cotton thread

Laurie Paine is an artist living in Hurstbridge, Victoria. Paine’s practice is concerned with the inherent language of cloth and its influence on our lives. Dating from her own discovery of the relevance of designs to her Palestinian cultural heritage and subsequent investigation, this theme has continued through the work. Further, Laurie has explored these notions of language in cloth through travels; Africa, Central America, and most recently, East Timor and Laos, where women have strived to maintain their cultural heritage through the ever fluent metaphor of hand woven cloth.

Laurie Paine Rose, (detail), 2010, linen, rose, thread, 6 x 7 cm

15 September 2018


Open 11am - 5pm Friday - Sunday, 15-30 September

Navigation 4
Footsteps in the Corridor, curated by Nadia Odlum: Rebecca Gallo, Sara Morawetz, Vanessa Berry, Judy Marsh, Margaret Seymour and Mollie Rice



Rebecca Gallo An irregular dancing (Parramatta to Granville) 2018

Judy Marsh  Left Leaning 2018

Vanessa Berry, Parramatta Road: Landmarks and Monuments, 2014,

Mollie Rice, Field Study, Parramatta Road, and Studio Translation #1, Parramatta Road2018,

Sara Morawetz, étalon (provisional light metre), 2018
read more about Sara's project in Aesthetica Magazine

9 September 2018

Footsteps in the Corridor opens Friday 14 September 6-8pm

Open 11am - 5pm Friday - Sunday, 15-30 September

Navigation 4
Footsteps in the Corridor, curated by Nadia Odlum: Rebecca Gallo, Sara Morawetz, Vanessa Berry, Judy Marsh, Margaret Seymour and Mollie Rice

Offered as a response to Parramatta Rd, a stretch of urban space that is hardly friendly to pedestrian activity, this exhibition claims space for walking by drawing together artists whose practices engage with processes of urban navigation. 

Footsteps in the Corridor is the final and culminating show in the 'Navigation' series curated by Nadia Odlum, which presented female artists and writers exploring the navigation of public and private space.

For more information, visit www.nadiaodlum.com./navigation

Mollie Rice, Field Study (Parramatta Rd), detail, 2018, ink on rice paper, 32 x 1100 cm

25 August 2018

19 August 2018

Caitlin Hespe's Which Way opens Friday 24 August 6-8pm

25 August – 9 September 

Opening event: Friday 24 August 6-8pm

with writing by Gabrielle Chantiri

Which Way is the third in 'Navigation', a series of exhibitions curated  by Nadia Odlum. 
For more information visit www.nadiaodlum.com/navigation

Caitlin Hespe, package, 2017, photo: Peter Morgan

I am interested in ways. Ways we have been, come, and are going. 
In the things that mark our ways, and the things that direct them. 

I am currently studying for my Master of Fine Art at the National Art School, where my research-based practice is centred on art about tourism, places and direction finding. Exhibited as installation, Which Way will comprise collected anti-souvenirs and a series of obstruction devices constructed from found objects and inappropriate consumables. 

Caitlin Hespe

For documentation if this exhibition, visit click here

3 August 2018

Chantal Grech: Walking a Word open from Saturday 4 August

open 4 - 19  August, Friday - Sunday 11am-5pm

opening event Saturday 4 August 2-4pm


El Iskandariya – Alexandria(a novel)

Chantal Grech Walking a Word  2018; Photo: P. DeLorenzo

Walking a Word  is fundamentally a work of drawing, a performative act made with the whole body expanded into everyday life. It is my body walking/drawing the word  on the shared ground of the 5th arrondissment in Paris. The word où refers to the question – ‘where is home’. Three walks spread over three separate days in the same location repeatedly ask the same question as if there might be different answers to be found. Each of the walks takes a particular shape– o, `, u, ­­­–shapes that together spell the word ‘where’ in French. The city itself offers (and obstructs) more than one possibility for walking these shapes. 

In this work the word  is used as a hinge between two modes of being. One a pragmatic reality, the common act of walking in a public space in which we share the ground with others, unknown to us; the other, language, a constructed reality integral to the body, spoken or written on a page. 

The first performative act is the act of walking, the second is the act of writing the narrative fragments that grow out of certain moments in the walk, on the wall of the space (another shared ground) during the process of installing.  

This project is not unlike a rhizome (a growth mechanism in nature where roots spread horizontally rather than vertically and new shoots arise from nodes formed along the way. The characteristic of the rhizome is that it always has multiple entry points.) The act of walking the question ‘où’ is full of points of intersection, visceral experiences triggered sometimes by totally incidental events. These might be seen as nodes relating to a web of lived moments past and present, all of which exist on one plane and which in this instance give rise to small strands of writing. Past, present, fictional and ‘real’ events are placed here side by side. (Some of the written fragments presented are from a fictional text, also set in the 5th arrondissment of Paris, which takes its roots from ‘real’ situations (WW11, Egypt) in which a woman explores her contested origins.)

As a migrant child growing up in Australia, born in Egypt of Greek and Lebanese parentage whose home language was French, (though no one in the family was French), the search for home and the nature of belonging has been an open question in which the answer has not been fixed. Sometimes it is found in the voice/text of others who have come the same way, at other times it resides in competing places, in habits, sometimes in a borrowed language that floats irrespective of place. This is the subject of the present project, the third of three projects on the question of home and belonging. The first, Points of Departure involved the writing of the novel Alexandria-El Iskandariya set in Egypt and Paris and the reading of written fragments to the empty space of Articulate. The second project, Reading to the River, proposed that home could be found in certain voices/texts of others. It involved a number of performative acts in which passages from a French text (The Curved Planks-Y. Bonnefoy ) in which a mythical child crosses the river in search of home, were read to the river Seine (Paris) and Parramatta Road (Sydney). In this last project the question asked is whether ‘home’ can be found more intimately in language, independent of place. Place then functions as a gathering point, a site of multiple entries and departures.  

This work also arises from my experience of visiting Paris in which the first day or so always involves a kind of déjà ‘vu’ (in this case ‘heard’) and a surreal feeling of intimacy with total strangers who speak the language that only my family in Australia spoke to me when growing up. The search now is more pressing as I begin to lose words in French through the death of aging family members though the emotional need for particular and sometimes forgotten words remains strong.

Chantal Grech