29 July – 14 August, 2022
25 Easey St, Collingwood
The outer and inner life are not separate. They are the aspects of the totality of our existence. — Helen Gory 2022
Tracing the limits of what remains within and what must stay outside, Gory’s latest solo exhibition at Collingwood’s Backwoods Gallery brings together a series of large-scale works interweaving drawing, oil painting and collage. Define continues the artist’s ongoing exploration of the disconnectedness that permeates contemporary human relationships.
Pared back, the exhibition contains only six works – The Vessel, Peek A Boo, Grasp, To Lend a Hand, To Have and To Hold and Tear Drops of Blood – which have been refined and defined allegorically and metaphorically. Each artwork title is a clue to a story which, says Gory, ‘is relevant if the viewer wants it to be.’ In this way, the works unfold to multiple interpretations, allowing Gory to create a dialogue with her viewers. With historical references to Dadaism and Symbolism, the use of vintage imagery and black ink creates a visceral aesthetic. Thick gold pigment abounds, a colour symbolic of both tragedy and hope. Each of the works depict limits that have been breached, misunderstandings and misinterpretations. A human clinging to his last vestiges of dignity by smoking a cigarette while the golden hand of hope looms large like a carrot and stick. Society isn’t there when you need it most. A vessel holding flowers is broken, scratched, scarred.
Define is an exhibition that embraces ambiguity and contradiction. It is richly layered, and rich with meaning.