WE’RE NOT DEAD YET looks at women artists and the way ageism renders them invisible, relegating their art to that of “hobby”.
“[It] says ‘pay attention to us, we are not dead yet and still have things to say about art’,” curator Anna Louise Richardson says.
Six female artists aged over 50 converted Fremantle’s Moore Gallery into an edgy domestic space.
Walls went up in the heritage-listed building, there’s a white picket fence and a cute puppy in a kennel (no animals were harmed in this exhibition, it’s a fluffy toy).
Divided into domestic spaces from the kitchen and bathroom to the bedroom the exhibition “subverts and celebrates” the home as a site of matriarchal power, Richardson says.
Living in Saudi Arabia with her young children, Daveena Cox experienced first-hand the limitations of a society where women aren’t allowed to drive or go out alone.
Small still-life paintings show her first months through images of beautiful, middle-eastern tea pots and food. “In some ways my life is very small, there are no beautiful beaches to go to, no beautiful cafes to got to, no garden,” she says.
Not ferrying kids around does free up time for large canvases that speak of the resilience and strength of women, not their repression, she says.
Lisa Dymond looks at the attitude towards ageing women through sculpture: “[A] cloak of invisibility begins to shroud them, and they diminish…this exhibition will confirm that we are artists who make noteworthy artworks.”
Megan Christie, a veterinarian turned furniture-maker, turns the practical into the exotic and beautiful, while Karen Millar’s sculptures draw from nature.
“I explore the opposition of older women as fragile, fixers, the glue and not the important functional part,” she says.
As an international cyclist, the press referred to photographer Lyn Nixon as a “mother of two”: “[I] hope that my [art] work will be viewed as that by Lyn Nixon, artist,” she says.
Printmaker Monique Bosshard Curby explores body and states of mind, and questions who decides when someone is too old to work.
“How do we get judged?” she asks.
We’re Not Dead Yet is on at the Moore Gallery, Henry Street, until February 13 as part of Freo Royale.
If you get your Herald early there’s a symposium and high tea on older women in art Saturday February 6, 2–6pm. Tix $25 at werenotdeadyet.coma.au
by JENNY D’ANGER