Contemplating Balance, curated by Asha Southcombe, seeks to explore where the line is drawn between control and acceptance of the uncontrollable within prints by Talitha Benson, the performance work of Lucy Keatch and sculptural installations by Renee Pastore.
Finding this balance between control and the uncontrollable is a constant and ever changing challenge that is affected by our past experiences and knowledge. It affects how we deal with our own emotions, relationships, the decisions we make and our outlook on life. The artists showcased in Contemplating Balance navigate the boundaries of control through their medium, personal experience, identity and emotions, in an attempt to understand where this balance lies.
Renée Pastore is an emerging contemporary artist, creating and researching on Kaurna Land (Adelaide, South Australia). Her practice primarily focuses on expanded painting, sculpture, and installation.
Renée uses the human body as a tool, helping her to negate themes in her practice which dissect organic bodily processes in conjunction with identity and social pressures.
Renée presents these concepts and themes through a queer and feminist lens; curating artworks that invite viewers into a vulnerable space to reflect. Her practice brings attention to aspects of the body such as skin, organs, and bodily fluids, creating a tension between abject and beauty.
Renée has exhibited artworks in the following group shows:
RAW Arise – Emerging Artists | Adelaide, 2019.
MMXXI – UniSA Contemporary Art Graduation Show | Adelaide, 2021.
“Through my work, fluidity and ferociousness are examined, showing a ‘body’ that is vulnerable and searching -”
I showcase installations that act as a site for research and investigation. Viewers become integral components of the work, performing, and therefore ‘activating’ the work into an instrument for interrogation and self-reflection.
I utilise visual language which adheres to humanistic, bodily qualities. I consider my installations one mass of work, collated to re-present a human body. Bringing attention to aspects of the human body such as skin, organs and bodily fluids; there is a harmonious dissonance between abject and beauty. The suggestive yet somewhat grotesque nature of the gloss, and slime is subtly concealed with high shine surfaces, and contrasting matte cloths; thus, creating a great tension and unsteadiness.
Familiarity is recognised in repeating right angles throughout, noting to domesticated stereotypes found within bed sheets and tablecloths; juxtaposing industrial materials associated with trade and labour-intensive work such as chain and pipe. Linkages are then made between traditionally female led arts such as textiles, while gender performativity and feminist theories are pulled on with the inclusion of industrial materials that are associated with masculinity or the male body.
“Within the nucleus of my resolved work is my studio practice, a fascination of materials and a love for process. A lifetime of research. A subconscious who secretly rules each creative decision made, a gut feeling I’m forced to follow”.
Talitha Benson is a Canadian born artist, working and living in Adelaide, Australia, who explores the themes of mortality with nature and the everyday. Her research observes cultural and historical death practices and beliefs as well as the scientific theories of death, decay and extinction. Working primarily with printmaking and photography her work is two dimensional. Her recent work looks at the intersection of science and death in regards to life cycles as well as the theory of oppositions. Talitha has exhibited work in the FSASA Second Year exhibition ‘20x20x20’ at UniSA where she was a recipient of the 2020 FSASA Second Year Prize. In 2021 she was selected to participate in the SASA Creative Lab Project / May Revisions, interventions, extensions in SASA Gallery. Talitha exhibited her work in the ‘MMXXI’ Grad Show at UniSA where she was awarded the Ethel Barringer Memorial Prize awarded to an outstanding student majoring in printmaking. Talitha was selected as one of 27 students to have their work exhibited in the 2022 Helpmann Academy Graduate Exhibition at ACE Open.
My work explores death, mortality and extinction. These works are monotypes made using only ink, turpentine and paper. The limitations imposed on myself regarding my medium and materials speak to the tension in the process and the finished works. The tension for myself lies between holding and not holding control, like the polarities within the materials. The theory of opposition has informed some of my work, as I observe more intently the universal balances at play within the everyday. My complexity with tension and control expands onwards to other polarities such as comfort and fear, for without an equal dose of both, life spirals out of control. When creating these monotypes, I play with control on a small scale, allowing the tension to arise in the chemical reaction between the ink and the turpentine, whilst I create boundaries with the paper size and thickness. The process speaks to comfort and fear, as I feel comfortable with the medium and repetitive nature of printmaking however there is fear in my conscience as I choose where to drop the turpentine on the ink, what will become of this after it’s rolled through the press? These questions pull on strings in my mind, everything about our existence is precariously balanced. The control we hold is forever being pulled and pushed, we let go of one aspect to grab on to another. Are we deciding where we hold the tension or where we let go of the tension? Is it or is it not the same?
Lucy Keatch is an emerging contemporary artist, currently living and working on Wurundjeri Land in Naarm (Melbourne). Her art investigates methods and processes that signal and reposition nonhuman agency as actions of intelligence and power utilising installation, sculpture, performance and ceramics. Lucy’s art practice analyses the personal and societal connections between her own experiences as a queer person and the subordination of ecology/nature/nonhumans. This culminates in the subversion, deconstruction, and dismantling of the binary thinking and dualistic narratives that surround queerness and human/nonhuman agents.
Lucy completed her Bachelor of Contemporary Art at the University of South Australia in 2021; in which she exhibited and assisted in the coordination of the Contemporary Art Graduate Exhibition, MMXXI (2021). Lucy has also exhibited in three group exhibitions May (2021), SASA Gallery and In the Round (2021), SASA Gallery and the Helpmann 2022 Graduate Exhibition (2022), ACE Open. Lucy is currently undertaking a Bachelor of Fine Art (Honours) at RMIT.
“I know you say I’m the love of your life – and I very well may be – but I hope I’m not ii” explores the problematic welcoming of enculturation in the sphere of romantic love and actively establishes a narrative that subverts this through a recollection of my personal experiences as a queer person. This work is the second edition in the series and has a specific focus on my development since the first performance in the realms of love, sexuality, romance, sex, queerness and identity. Rooted in the idea of collapsing notions of private/public territories, this work shares deeply personal romantic experiences and explores themes of domestication and feminism. The installation and subsequent performance reclaims the space within a young person’s life – where they have felt the pressure to conform to patriarchal and heteronormative standards of romantic love – as instead a place of realistic/honest growth, strong independent identity and queer feminist power.
Banner image: close up of ink and turpentine monotype print on paper by Talitha Benson. The ink has a speckled appearance on the paper, with lighter drip patterns where the turpentine has been applied, dispersing the ink – photo by Ella Maude