I mentioned yesterday that during our day in Mandurah, we stumbled upon an art exhibit. We were literally about to sit down on a picnic bench to wait until we could go get seats for our movie when we spotted the sign for Contemporary Art Spaces Mandurah. Just around the corner was an art space that not only had an amazing exhibit happening but just so happened to be offering free food and drinks while some of the artists spoke about their pieces! The exhibit we were privileged to see was called "Wearable Art Mandurah" - an event where "local, national, and international artists are invited to create revolutionary works of art on the body." Come along with me and I'll show you some of these amazing pieces!
Gondwana Triumphant by Annie Williams
We heard the artist speak about her inspiration for this piece - a local landscape had been destroyed by a wildfire, which devastated the local flora. The black/white/gray of her piece indicate the ash and remnants that were left after the fire. And yet, it also speaks to the growth and life that came after the fire as the land was resilient and everything eventually returned to life. When on the runway the model wore a black bodysuit over which this piece hung, almost like a cage. Here is what Ms. Williams wrote about her piece for the showcase program: "The unique flora of Australia is destroyed yet invigorated by fire and water. My work celebrates the adaptation to fire and triumph of plants evolving over millennia. Heat fused, recycled plastic and reticulation pipe, ubiquitous in our modern landscape, represent the resilient ancient flora that thrives phoenix-like after the fire.
Mourning Birds by Meagan Howe
The artist spoke emotionally about this piece, as it was inspired by a very sad wildlife phenomenon occurring in Australia. Here is what she wrote in the showcase program: "Flesh-footed Shearwater, migratory birds that breed in Australian waters. Autopsied fledglings reveal stomachs full of plastic, mistakenly fed to them by their seafaring parents looking for squid. Too heavy to fly, the die on the pristine beaches of Lord Howe Island. Mother Earth is mourning." You can see the dress looks very much like a mourning outfit from centuries before. The dead birds on the skirt were made from recycled plastic and the whole piece is a testament to how we are treating our planet and its inhabitants.
Suburban Splendor by Jacqueline Gibson
"This creation celebrates the splendour of the suburban backyard where life flourishes around the flowering gum and the summer air is cool from the flutter of wings both big and small. The vibrant colour of our local flora and fauna is a delight to visitors. Our ordinary is exotic." That last sentence definitely sums up how I feel about a lot of Australia! This dress is a celebration of life that is found here.
Kolukalu by Seinileva Huakau
"Kolukalu is a representation of the environment we live in now. It speaks about how different generations of the same family have adapted and adopted new materials into the traditional making practices. By relearning, practising and teaching these techniques we not only keep the tradition of weaving, we learn how to preserve our environment."
I Am So Dizzy by Deb Hiller
"Inspired by the optical illusions I found fascinating as a child, I created my artwork. My intention is to use form and a strong black and white design mimicking and accentuating movement, to show the feeling of spinning until you lose control and balance. Getting dizzy is so much fun." We heard the artist speak about this piece as well, and she emphasized how the three layers of the skirt were built to be independent of each other for maximum movement. I would love to see this dress on someone and moving!
Icy Willow by Antoaneta Tica
"Since ancient times, the willow was associated with life-giving water. But as freezing rain, water is destructive causing great damage to trees through the weight of ice that covers them. At the same time, it gives them an unseen beauty. Once again, the willow, symbol of life and rebirth, includes both feelings of sadness and joy." A staff member informed us that this piece was built from melting plastic bottles and pulling the plastic into the beautiful strands that create the unique dress and headpiece. I can only imagine how long that must have taken the artist!
Il Etait Une Fois by Jacq Chorlton
"Once upon a time many fairy-tales had sinister backgrounds, darkness, violence and gore. Over the years these stories have evolved into the feel good tales that we know and love today. Il Etait Une Fois was inspired by my obsession with vintage children's books and the movement of turning a page."
Morte - an Australian Bunyip by Marie Wright and Tarelee Freeman
"Morte is our interpretation of a great Aboriginal myth that has been passed from one culture to another. The story behind the bunyip is a cautionary tale: be warned - be very careful around billabongs at night - you never know who might be lurking in the water..." This wearable art creeped me out and brought me joy at the same time - the detail on it was incredible.
In Bloom by Teddy McRitchie
"A woman is like a flower, if you care for her and love her enough, you'll have the honour of watching her bloom," Davis Dolezal. The correlation of women to flowers is reflected in my wearable art piece. 427 handmade paper leaves and 226 handmade paper flowers were used in this creation."
Voyage of the Ancestor by Catherine Shepherd
"Blue oceans crossed, fans symbolising sails and lanterns for stars, depict the journey of Chinese men to the 1890s Western Australia gold rush. Broken china pieces for family and culture left behind, constructed from plastic car bumpers that China will no longer receive as land fill and hand-beaded pearls for riches."
Just Breathe by Stephanie Munro
"My inspiration is anxiety. The reuse of respirators, ironically used to allow one to breathe, is juxtaposed against the theme of anxiety and one's inability to catch a breath. White eludes to the outward perfection, the greys, insecurity and turmoil. The cage and headpiece show strength but hint at inner vulnerability."
X-ray Vision by Lyn Blasgund
"Our fascination with what we can't see inside our bodies has inspired me to create a wearable art piece using discarded X-rays. The X-ray process with its silver deposits on synthetic sheets allows the viewer to see the intricate shapes of bones and tissue creating an abstract collage."
Here is a close up on some of the X-rays used to create the previous dress!
Miss Margaret's Marvellous Adventures by Diana Kelley
Miss Margaret has a deep appreciation of the unique Australian landscape. She travelled widely, recording the beauty she loved. Here we have an ancient beauty presented through a modern medium. Age may blur the edges of her memory but the fine details she capture through her lens are here to be a part of our future."
This dress was stunning in person and contained an incredible amount of detail. Here is a close up on part of the skirt so you can see what I mean!
All told this is only about 1/3 of the fabulous wearable art pieces we saw on display. In November there will be arts festival and we plan to return so we can see these pieces actually on the models! If you are curious and want to learn more about Wearable Art Mandurah, be sure to check out their website here!
And now I gotta know, which piece is your favorite?!