i s s u e two
GOfish 2. First published in July 2009 by Advision ABN 65066093023 Printed by Chambers and Whyte Wagga Wagga
ISSN 1836-3636 GOfish Magazine 4 Gurwood Street Wagga Wagga NSW 2650 Australia +61 2 6921 8025 email: firstname.lastname@example.org web: www.gofish.org.au Art Director and Editor Michael Agzarian Designer and Assistant Editor Missy Dempsey 2
Contributing A r t i s t s
Sarah Keyes Stephanie Smith Bobbie Tulloch Janelle Sing Jenna Sher Sarah Miller r e a feature artist Nicole Eyles Elli Ioannou Jude Paradice Suze Ingrham Izabelle Nordfjel Caitlin Morrison Therese Geronimo Steph Scott Jenny Blake Natalie Coombs Anita Frank Janelle Sing Gabby McMillan Katie Fairservice Melanie Evans. Sonia Kretschmar Bobbie Tulloch Missy Dempsey Donna Hartwig Amber Murray Jessica Sutton Erica Halse Nikita Agzarian Emily Snadden Ruby May April Larivee Luba Lukova Karin Broos Nina Las Vegas (Callaboration) Kim Winderman Jena Sher Claire Perri Jen Sung Zena Santos Belinda Fraser Bonnie Swift Angela Pearce Louise Manner Canney Kinloch Hayley Hillis
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be inspired Earlier this year at an after-party for the AGideas design conference I was confronted by a suave, Troy Mcclure look-alike (you may remember him from such shows as ‘wearing a pink sweater does not attract women’) who confidently to strike up a conversation with me “Sooo, what do you do?” he asked, “I’m a Graphic Designer”, I replied “ah a designer… what does a designer do?”- A question that would make Stefan Sagmeister roll over in his grave if only he were dead. In reply, what I really wanted to do was put on the drollest, looking-down-my-nose style voice and grunt “designs things”, instead I thought I’d stop my inner monologue from its whimsy and answer the question properly. At first I tried to explain that it encompasses a lot of different things. As I began to rattle off a text-book answer I realised I could point out a many different things in the room as examples of design. Looking down at his knitted pink sweat featuring a tiny logo of a polocrosse rider I explained that Ralph Lauren designed it (or just threw his logo on it). Looking around the room I pointed out the stickers on the beer, the posters on the walls and the shoes on his feet. At first I was slightly amused by his question but as I had rambled off that nearly everything in the room had been designed by someone I almost surprised myself. Design is communication and literally everywhere you look, from the band posters in the streets to your Mum’s leopardspotted G-string that you’d rather not have seen. In the past women designers and artists have not been recognised as having the same stature as men. This issue aims to recognise a broad range of (creative) women and their capacity to produce works that are beautiful, impressionable and powerful. Looking through the images the age and sex of the artist seems irrelevant because the standard is extraordinary. Even with new computer programs and technologies it’s really good to see everything from embroidery to vector art come together all in the one book. I’m proud to have been a part of this women only issue and will flip through it with my grand kids when I’m old and wrinkled and hopefully it will inspire them as it has me, and hopefully you. Missy Dempsey Guest Editoral
women’s This womens’ issue was inspired by the work of JR1 and his exceptional projects in Africa, including Women and Heroes about women and their ability to overcome unimaginable suffering. I spent hours on-line researching and sourcing artists from all over the world - in itself a very rewarding experience - chatting to artists who (once they knew about GoFish) were keen to participate. This process also had a fantastic snowballing effect as each artist I met had links to other artists who, in turn, had links to other artist and so it went on. The result was a vibrant and diverse community of artists from all over the world talking together about their work, ideas and philosophy. It was a great to be part of that artistic network. And now through this publication, you are as well. As I checked the final proofs I was struck by the brilliance on each page of this issue. GOfish2 is a fantastic collection of work created by female artists and writers from Australia, America, Sweden and Canada. r e a - featured artist
The featured artist of GOfish is r e a (b.1962). r e a is an artist of Indigenous heritage from the Gamilaraay and Wailwan peoples of Coonabarabran in north-west New South Wales. r e a completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales’ College of Fine Arts in 1994, followed by a Master of Arts in (Visual Art) by Research at Canberra School of Art Australian National University. As an artist who uses new technologies of photography and (in particular) digital media, r e a disrupts stereotypical views of Aboriginal art, art commonly thought of as comprising simply dot paintings and bark paintings from “traditional” areas. Also appearing in this issue is New York artist Luba Lukova who recently had a solo exhibition Umbrellas, Social Justice & More at the La MaMa La Galleria in New York. The piece Brainwashing is a part of her Social Justice collection which ably showcases Lukova’s masterful use of metaphors and symbols to express themes that include peace, war, ecology, immigration, privacy, health coverage, media, corruption and censorship. Of course a publication like this takes time, dedication and many people, many long hours to put together. It may not be an easy job and there were days when the whole thing became a distant blur constantly moving further and further away and into the distant horizon. However the encouragement of friends and colleagues helped it come together, particularly Debbie, Liz, Sarah, Janine, Nina, Nikita, Paul, and Alan. My thanks to all the contributors and supportors including Carol and the staff at Chambers and Whyte and Andrew at the Wagga RSL. Finally, a big thanks to Missy for her creativity, hard work and persistence. With over forty five artists and fifty pages this issue of GOfish, is a fabulous showcase of work from a very diverse group of female artists. Enjoy. Michael Agzarian Editor _________________________________________________________________________________ 1
From 2004, JR has been working on the 28 millimetres project, The 3rd stage of the 28 millimetres project - Women Are Heroes. http://www.jr-art.net/
eye on the prize Sarah Keyes
I love fashion. I always have. I love putting an outfit together, the fun and whimsy of it. As I’ve aged I’ve come to love fashion for what I feel it really is: Fashion is art, If you really think about it, it’s practically inescapable. Everyone wears clothes (excluding nudists of course!). And yes, whilst I can appreciate that there are people out there that aren’t ‘materialistic’ and ‘couldn’t care less’, those people still have to get up in the morning and throw something on to cover their naked form. And while they might say, oh I don’t care I just whack on whatever I’ve got on my bedroom floor, someone made that. Years and years ago, someone designed that t-shirt you’re wearing, someone designed those jeans and now, although you may not know it, nor might you care, you put those clothes on and you live your life in them.
Fashion is the most accessible form of art.
Though it’s difficult to believe, there are people out there that don’t listen to music. And whilst it is believed to be one of the most widely embraced art forms, the people that chose to turn their ears away still put on their work shirts in the morning and catch the train to their job to earn a crust and live a life, and they do it wearing fashion. It’s everywhere. It’s constantly transforming. It embodies self expression and individuality. It represents art and human nature. It amazes and excites me, and I love it!
Tristan Tait | Wagga Wagga â€˘ Australia
Bobbie Tu l l o c h
self portrait Janelle S i n g
greek posters J e n a Sher
sushime Sarah M i l l e r
rea r e a 1 (b.1962) is an artist of Indigenous heritage from the Gamilaraay and Wailwan peoples of Coonabarabran in north-west New South Wales. In 1994 she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the University of New South Wales’ College of Fine Arts, followed by a Master of Arts in (Visual Art) by Research at Canberra School of Art Australian National University. r e a has worked as an assistant curator of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collection at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and has been an artist member of Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Cooperative since 1992. She has also served as a Director on the Board of Boomalli and her work has been widely exhibited both internationally and within Australia. As an artist who uses new technologies of photography and (in particular) digital media, r e a disrupts stereotypical views of Aboriginal art, art commonly thought of as comprising simply dot paintings and bark paintings from “traditional” areas. In her early work, r e a was very much inspired by black female artists who also challenged stereotypes such as Lorna Simpson, Adrian Piper, bell hooks and Carrie Mae Weems, as well as well-known artists who have challenged the status quo such as Joseph Cornell, Marcel Duchamp and Andy Warhol. Her recent work is influenced by a number of artists’ who work in a cross art interdisciplinary practice, such as Gary Hill, Tracie Morris, Steve McQueen and Kara Walker. In her series Highly Coloured: My Life is Coloured by my Colour (1992) and Definitions of Difference (1994), r e a ’s art displays an obvious resemblance to the work of Warhol, particularly through the reproduction and replication of photographic images and the use of Marilyn Monroe-esque neon azures and magentas. As r e a herself has said: “I grew up in the era of kitsch, Elvis, movie stars and red dresses, and my mother painted all her kitchens yellow and purple, so I can't help but relate to wild colours and pop art!” (NGA, 1998) 1 r e a, the artist writes her name in all lowercase with a space between each letter. This is the artists’ professional name used to make reference to her practice, which examine the colonisation and categorisation of the English language.
by paul wighton 12
I was naturally creative and my mother encouraged and nurtured my creativity. She used to say to people that I was going to grow up to be a painter like Albert Namatjira. I had no idea who he was until I was in my early teens. I realise now that she saw him as an important Indigenous person and associated his creative life with his (public) visibility, which was for her about freedom and human rights. By the time I’d arrived at university in my mid 20s I still had this idea that I was going to be a painter, but painting and drawing were not my form, photography was. I had a background in photography before I went to university. A cousin who was a wedding photographer introduced me to the camera. I didn’t have the conceptual skills to develop my work or the knowledge to explore and examine history/art history, to place myself within a contemporary context creatively; art school gave me these skills. I continued on a tradition from my mother in collecting photographic images of family members until I was able to use photography as a form to document my own family images. My mother wasn’t a photographer but she had this obsession with collecting photographs, for her it was about gathering family history to pass on to her children.
Photography has been the link for me to move from focusing on a creative career in a single art form, to an area that has opened up multiple layers and levels of creativity that have allowed me to explore my ideas and not limit them by form.
Where do you think Australian Indigenous art will head in the next 10 years? Will we see more digital media and photography? I would hope the arts community are able to view each artist and their practice and not as an homogenised group of people, who are continually categorised as either ‘Traditional Aboriginal Artists’ (dollars) or ‘Urban Aboriginal Artists’ (zero-dollars)! This idea of who is authentic and who is not an authentic ‘Indigenous’ artist is a division that needs to end because it doesn’t give us the power to determine our own artistic identity and practices.
From your experience, do you think female artists receive proper recognition within the arts community?
Q&A with r e a
by paul wighton
When did you first become interested in photography and visual art?
I am laughing to the point of falling on the floor! NO! I do think that women artists working in digital processes were acknowledged and supported in the beginning, but in the bigger picture it’s not enough. We need equality in all areas of the arts and the world! In my opinion I think curators need to be braver and take more risks, they need to challenge the status quo.
What are some of the advantages of using digital media?
I donâ€™t think that there are any special advantages in digital media than working in any other creative process. I think the advantages and disadvantages come from the way an artist interacts with the medium and is able to realize their creative ideas. The only advantage for me was that I was an asthmatic and digital processes became a way I could explore photography without using chemicals.
What project/s are you currently working on?
| | | | | I have a number of works in
progress and currently I am developing a new body of work for a solo in April 2009 at Breenspace in Sydney; followed by another exhibition of new work mid year at Manly Art Gallery & Museum, Sydney. As an artist, I think that I either become overwhelmed, lost and confused by the world I live in or completely self-obsessed with my creative practice, process and making the work.
This is an edited extract of a longer article and interview. For the full text go to www.gofish.org.au 15
In PolesApart, r e a’s most recent multimedia work, the artist extends earlier ideas and enters new territory. In the silent video that she has created expressly for this exhibition, r e a embodies, enacts and performs the part of a fleeing figure. The protagonist, an apparently ageless Aboriginal woman with closely cropped hair, is running through a bushfire-devastated forest. The fire-blackened trees through which the woman weaves are tall, stark and forbidding. There is little ground cover. The woman is wearing a long black dress that places her in an earlier era than the present. The woman
who has taken flight successivelyruns, crouches in fear, stumbles, rests, pauses to take stock, picks herself up again, resumes her fugue. From whom or from what is she trying to escape? Why? Are her invisible pursuers real or imagined? Viewers watch the lone woman’s flight, as through a glass, darkly. This poetic, lyrical work has the qualities and virtues of silent film. Each beautifully constructed, black-edged, sepia-tinted frame acts as a window through which we bear witness to the mysterious woman’s unfolding drama. In identifying with her desperate although enigmatic attempt to escape pursuit by unseen forces, viewers too become implicated. We begin to identify with her subject position, her humanity.
given permission to ‘borrow’ the child from the General, taking her on a tour around Australia. Ruby worked as Dame Nellie Melba’s personal maidservant during that time. This has now become incorporated into r e a’s extended family history. Ruby was destined never to find her family or to return home. On the other hand, Sophie made the courageous choice to run away from the white people for whom she was working, to flee her domestic servitude. Eventually, Sophie made it back home, where she was to remain for the rest of her life. There is a sense in which PolesApart is a tribute to those women, from whose lineage r e a is a proud descendant. Through her embodied performance as an Aboriginal woman fleeing all forms of servitude, r e a is not only reanimating this familial, collective memory, but transmitting and preserving it. At the same time she is rejecting an identity that has been imposed and enforced by others, to the point that it becomes worn like a straitjacket. Ruby, r e a’s grandmother, and her grandmother’s sister Sophie (r e a’s great aunt) were members of the stolen generation, removed from their family and taken to the Cootamundra Girls’ Home2 circa 1916 when Ruby was just five years old. Ruby was to remain under the strictures of the Aboriginal Protection Board until approximately 1934. There, at the Cootamundra Girls’ Home, the sisters were trained as maidservants, before being sent out as virtually unpaid labour for wealthy white people. As historian Peter Read has written, “As the children approached the age of fourteen or fifteen the question arose of their employment. The girls at Cootamundra were better prepared for the work – described by one of them as ‘slavery’ – for their training in the home [had] coincided with exactly what needed to be done anyway. It consisted of the scrubbing, washing, ironing, and sewing that the Board did not want to pay anyone to do”.3 Following this forcible ‘education’ process, Ruby was farmed out to work as a maidservant for a General, who lived in Victoria, close to the border of New South Wales. One of the military man’s great friends was the celebrated operatic diva Nellie Melba, who immediately took a shine to young Ruby. On one occasion Melba sought and was 17
kanny Nicole E y l e s
Sarah Keyes | Wagga Wagga â€˘ Australia
Jude P a r a d i c e
Rory Madigan | Wagga Wagga â€˘ Australia
Suz e I n g r am
April Larivee | Long Island â€˘ North America
natalie Izabell e Nordfjel
human Caitlin Morrison
circus Therese Geronimo
How I want my yellow, the yellow that I was. The yellow that I wish – that I dream of, now. Yellow is the happy, it is the tooth-bared grin which reaches the eyes, it is a warm candle burning invariably, it used to be unconsciously existent here. But yellow is not me anymore. So, now I wish I told of how a dash of red has been added to this pallet, a dash so that I turned to hot rust. Rust that chases bliss, that yearns for more, rust that falls inelegantly (too eager), but picks right back up – ambitious. Or perhaps if a tinge of black, smudged by a careless, scruffy painter had turned me to a dirty gold. This gold that shimmers and catches the tiniest glints of light, that indulges. A gold of promise, of forever. Maybe had it been measured drops of blue, to turn me lime-leaf green, the green of a protective shade, of another’s closeness, green of a quiet tranquillity, of the piercing sun through veined leaves; maybe then I’d still be close enough to my yellow. But it was a clumsy, careless one who spilled this black and blue, who didn’t stop until I was purple; who went so far to this indigo, darker than the sea. This indigo is bruises, a colour of loneliness, of a yawning void, a continual, plaguing longing. And I am left. Left by the clumsy, the careless, the scruffy, left in this puddled pallet, wondering how to be yellow once more? The yellow that I miss so, the yellow of my happy forgotten. But yellow is so many shades from these bruises. April Larivee | Long Island • North America Steph
red star Jenny B l a k e
yes, we are better than you Natalie C o o m b s
self portrait Janelle Sing
I used to be able to list the number of people well-acquainted with my breasts. There was the lifeguard, who witnessed my less-thanladylike nip slip at the pool. My mother, who sadly was on the sidelines for the event. The trickle of boys who dared to get friendly over the years. Blurry-faced girlfriends hungering for comparison, the sister who forgot to knock before entering the bathroom, the fellow gym-goers who caught a glimpse as I wiggled into a bra after yoga, the surgeons who saw me decked out in a plastic-bag-like frock ... All these people visited Boobville, most accidentally, and survived to tell the tale. Some were given an all-day pass, while most were denied admission at the entry gate. All in all, Boobville didn’t welcome people with open arms (or an open shirt). There was a strict discrimination policy that needed to be adhered to. No douche bags, no nuding up for longer than 2.3 seconds and no trespassing. Entry was only allowed with a visitor’s card and a password. It would’ve been easier to crack a secret service code than bust open my tightly sealed brassiere. Until my breasts took over. I first noticed they were acting out when they rejected a bra. And another one. And another. And another, until wearing a bra was confined only to dresses that absolutely required one for fear of a Britney Spears-flashing-the-paparazzi-moment.
Next, they started volunteering for exhibitionist events ... a low-key life drawing here, a full-blown black and white half-naked shoot there. The girls were out and they were loving it. The final step in my transformation from prude to nude was The Exhibition. Friends of friends of friends attended the event, each peering closely at the photos lining the walls. I perched in a nearby chair, peeking out occasionally to gauge the reaction. The photographer was chuffed; people were all over her work more than Paris Hilton over a 20-something oil heir. My boy bestie reassured me that my twins looked fabulous. A nearby pic was showcasing another girl’s see-you-next-Tuesday so I was pleased not to be the most exposed of the night. At least 50 people, some strangers, some friends, some acquaintances, saw me half-naked. Wonderful. Somewhere, out in the abyss, is an undeveloped roll of black and white semi-nudes of me. I hope the developed photographs arrive on my doorstep when I’m old, grey and wrinkly, with a libido drier than Brian Griffin. I’ll proudly and carefully pull them from the old envelope and show my husband, my children, my grandchildren, that one day, a long time ago, Nanna was truly magnificent. And her breasts weren’t half bad either.
Kim Winderman| Long Island • North America
Missy Dempsey | Wagga Wagga â€˘ Australia
a rock Melanie Dilshani Jayawardene | Canberra â€˘E Australia v ans
war brides Sonia Kretschmar
fakebook | Missy Dempsey
Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga
paris au revoir Judith O â€™ D w y e r 34
ja no me? Missy D e m p s e y 35
gosford 3 diving Donna Hartwig
Samantha Mullavey | Wagga Wagga â€˘ Australia
iâ€™m a rabbit Amber M u r r a y
bear group Jessica S u t t o n
E rica H a l s e
DrivingbacktomyhometownfromSydneyis usuallyablandfive-houraffair.Thehighlight ofthe452-kilometretripisfindingaclear enoughradiostationsoIcanbeltoutthe tunes.Ihavedriventhisroutethousandsof times;Iknowtheroadinsideandout.Iknow whichexitshaveaMcDonaldsandwhichones haveaKFC.Ihaveseenthelandscapechange from green to brown to black. As I drive deeperintoinlandNewSouthWalesIcan’t helpbutfeelasenseofanticipation;Ican’t wait to get to Wagga. 40
When I was growing up in Wagga I despised it. I could not wait to get out. The idea of moving to Sydney was a driving force to do well in the HSC. To me, staying in Wagga after high school seemed like a contagious disease that gradually sucked the life out of you until you are left wandering aimlessly, floating through the same trivial bullshit week in and week out. This may seem dramatic, but once people caught one of the symptoms of the disease, like, getting a ridiculous loan to buy a “hotted up” car, or signing up with one of the local footy teams, their stay in Wagga is prolonged indefinitely. I knew from an early age that this was not the life that I wanted to lead. So as soon as I got accepted into uni, I packed up and left for the big smoke. Adjusting to Sydney life was not as easy as I expected. There were a lot of tears at first because everything was just so much harder. Travelling took hours, I hated
Wagga Wagga my middle of nowhere nikita agzarian
Central Station, no one watched AFL and I couldn’t believe how much uni seemed to be like a job for Sydney students rather than the constant party that I’d always imagined it to be. I quickly realised two important factors about young Sydney people, firstly, “Where did you go to school?” was always the first question people asked. Secondly, being from a public school in Wagga, I would forever, in their eyes, have “bogan” written on my forehead. Yes, it’s true, I’m really from Wagga, but not everyone is a toothless, barefoot bogan. Yes it has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in NSW, but I do not have a child. I don’t live on a farm, own any sheep or cows, drive to uni everyday and no, I don’t know your friend from Dubbo because it’s about five hours away. It feels really weird because, ever since I was fourteen I have done nothing but speak poorly of Wagga, but when someone who has no idea where it is, let alone been there, starts to bag it out, I find myself defending it.
I do understand that people who have no real need to go to Wagga would never go. As I drive through the city, I look out and there is no amazing architecture, beautiful landscapes or big landmarks. We have a dried-up lake, an extremely low river and a sport museum to celebrate the freakishly large amount of sport stars that have come out of Wagga, but apart from that there is not much that the largest inland city in NSW can boast about. But honestly, who cares. It has taken me twenty years to realise, but I love the stagnate pace of Wagga. After coming from Sydney where there is just so much to do, days are so hectic and things are constantly changing, it’s so reassuring to know that Wagga will never change, everything stays in place and although I will probably never live there again, it will always be home.
Emily S n a d d e n
Rhys Holland | London United â€˘ Kingdom
Natalie Coombes | Wagga Wagga â€˘ Australia
LOGO AND PROCESS
April L arivee
L u b a Lukova
girls frollicking Karin Broos 47
Nina L as Vegas Kate Lewis | Wagga Wagga â€˘ Australia
April L a r i v e e, Amy N o r r i s & Kim Winderman
Eugene Stadmichenko | Wagga Wagga â€˘ Australia
weave K i m Winderman
pantyhose poster J e n a Sher
the symphonic slience of my mind Claire P e r r i 52
Thric e my lover ; its not too late to be happ y
Please forgive my (in)sanity I am admittedly enjoying this stability if I could, I would, sustain this mad tranquility to be happy, for the rest of my life, takes great humility what cliche sentiments! surrounding my creeds of love if only, for those that surround me,
with warm embrac es, can somehow guarantee this continuation of smiling faces the termination of careless graces... of my and I wish I could give away the contents contentment.... without guilt thrilling your day to my selfish dismay because, oh, it's just the nearness of happiness that overwhelms my senses with no regard to nostalgic past tenses, don't go doubting your ability...
to be happy don't go contextualizing the contents of my conte ntment with your own negative resentment because, it's just the nearness of me that draws you closer and closer don't go doubting my sin cerity that enchants you spread the love, I say, with great clarity
J e n Sung http://jenderfuck.blogspot.com 53
she caused chaos Zena S a n t o s
just goes to show DavidFraser Pulleine | Wagga Wagga â€˘ Australia Belinda
bath tub Bonnie S w i f t
Angela Pearc e
passers by Louise Manner 58
woman with parot Canney Kinloch 59
flower arrangement by interflora
i m ag i n e
your next function
for a funtion thatâ€™s different from the rest, contact Renee at Wagga RSL on (02) 69 21 36 24
An independent creative arts magazine, this issue was dedicated to women artist, illustrators, photographers and writers.