Wednesday, October 20, 2010

6 degrees=5 artists=1 great show

On Sunday I headed off to White Canvas Gallery in the Valley to see the show 6 degrees. On display was the work of five female Brisbane artists, connected by their common mentor Majena Mafe. I was so glad that I made the effort, as this was really one of the strongest shows I’ve seen in a long time.

All the work had a powerful and positive feminine energy, supported by layers of conceptual rigour. It felt as if the artists had delved deeply within themselves to create works that were soulful, emotional, complex and yet spoke with clarity about their individual concerns.

Kate Cooke’s sewn mesh sculpture and evocative shadows spoke of the constraints placed on women, and strongly referenced drawing with its use of line and tone.


Above: Kate Cooke


Mela Fitzgibbon embroidered pointed feminist commentary on gorgeous pink silk, which cascaded luxuriously from the wall.


Natasha’s brightly coloured and multi-layered paintings were rich with detail and time spent devoted to the recording of personal narrative.

Above: Natasha Narain


Sandra’s feminine basket forms were wrapped in fleece like a mother’s arms. At first glance they speak of holding in a way that is sublimely gentle and nurturing, but on closer inspection questions are raised. Is that tendril penetrating the basket form? Is this a loving or menacing embrace?

Above: Sandra Pearce


Ann Russell created amazing bricolage, exploring mythical worlds and characters, like the one above, Ariadne'’s Orb. You can see Ariadne, the spider if you click on the photo to enlarge it. I’m not often a fan of bricolage, but these pieces were constructed so sensitively while still with a definite nod to outsider art, that they managed to be both fun and beautiful as well as having a story to tell.

The artists have also put together an extensive catalogue of their work, 6 degrees, available on Blurb, which is a great idea I think.


  1. How delicious Amanda! Thank you for posting these gorgeous photos...I also just LOVE your new header on the blog (I haven't seen it before anyway as I usually read your blog as an RSS feed.) You are doing such incredible work. You're inspirational!

  2. Thanks for sharing this. It's really great when you can't get out to exhibitions and shows like this any more to have a personal guided tour :O)

    Partiularly like the paintings by Natasha and the bricolage by Ann Russell.

    BTW I'm reading a really interesting book atm about experimental printmaking and installations. You might like it too. I got from library but on Amazon too:

  3. Thanks for sharing, Amanda. I really liked your photo of Kate Cooke's work: for some reason that use of a grid always intrigues me...

  4. wow, what a fab exhibition ... it all looks like really inspriational work. I hope one day I am able to get out and see things again ... it's such a pleasure! Thanks for sharing :)

  5. Wonderful post, Amanda, and so great to see this exhibition through your eyes. Your descriptions of the works are beautifully articulated.