Mon, 27 Sep 2021

CANBERRA, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- Exhibitions at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) aimed to introduce more women artists to audiences.

Opening this Saturday at the National Gallery of Australia, "Project 1: Sarah Lucas" brings together recent work by one of England's most influential artists. It will run until April 2022.

"I think Australians are going to love Lucas, an artist who uses crude and humorous imagery to explore the representation of gender and confront the realities of bodily existence," said curator Peter Johnson.

"Project 1: Sarah Lucas" features two recent sculpture series. "She has transformed everyday materials like stockings, vegetables, cigarettes to sculpture and photography," he said.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exhibition was delayed and the artist was unable to come to Canberra for the opening.

"But we're really excited that with modern technology, you're able to have zoom sessions with the artist, and she's been intimately involved with the installation," Johnson told Xinhua.

"Project 1: Sarah Lucas" is a part of the Know My Name initiative, which was launched after research revealed only a quarter of the NGA's Australian art collection was by women.

The first part of the "Know my name: Australian women artists 1900 to now" exhibition opened in November 2020. During the six months of the exhibition, co-curator Elspeth Pitt said they had "so much support from visitors and members of the public, as well as our colleagues in galleries and public and private collections across Australia."

"I think mostly what's been very rewarding for us is how excited and happy the artists themselves have been," she said.

Part two of "Know my name: Australian women artists 1900 to now" runs from June to early next year.

"Across the two presentations, there are approximately 400 works by 250 artists. So it's really one of the most significant and comprehensive presentations by women ever staged in Australia," said Pitt at the media event on Thursday.

Among the works were the sculptures crafted by Polish-Australian Ewa Pachucka from sisal and hemp. The artist weaved the fibers to create a pastoral scene with barn, haystacks and human figures. "I try to master my ability with fibers because this material is more human than marble or wood," she had said. "To me it looks more like flesh."

Simryn Gill who was born in Singapore used cutlery and chilies to form the pattern of a big spiral on the floor. Chilies were introduced to Southeast Asia by the Portuguese, while silver-plated cutlery was disseminated by the English. These seemingly unassuming objects speak to the histories of colonization.

Mazie Karen Turner's cyanotype work depicted the scene of things scattered by children. "Mainly these things were found on the floor, to be picked up," she wrote. She photosensitized lengths of cotton onto which she arranged domestic paraphernalia and then exposed the cotton to the sun, recasting the forms as white on blue.

"We try to get works across a diverse range of media," said co-curator Deborah Hart. "We are also looking at artists from diverse backgrounds.

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