The grand exhibition spaces of one of Australia’s leading regional galleries are both the location and the focus of an exhibition by sculptor and installation artist Louiseann King. Her exhibition solis, on show at the Art Gallery of Ballarat until 7 April, has prompted a rehang of a part of the Gallery permanent collection so that her work provides points of contrast and dialogue with the paintings from the collection on the walls.
King is a gatherer and maker; she collects discarded ephemeral objects such as handmade lace, glass, mirrors and furniture and uses these objects to create sculptural installations based around themes of traditional ‘women’s work’ and her own relationship to the landscape in which she lives. Through her work she gives a voice to the nameless and voiceless women who originally created the delicate pieces of lace and crochet which she transforms by casting them in bronze. She uses bronze-casting, a field traditionally dominated by men producing monumental works, to create pieces which appear delicate and fragile.
Two exhibition spaces, which have been part of a chronological display showing the evolution of Australian art, have been overturned using a thematic approach. One space is now devoted to works which show aspects of women in society from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century. These works surround a large installation which incorporates bronze castings of lace and crochet – women’s work – set within domestic and scientific glass ware, creating interesting reflections and viewpoints.
A second room brings together traditional landscapes from the collection which have been selected to chart the course of a day from dawn to night. This room contains a large glass vitrine topped with delicate castings of natural branches but is dominated by a soundscape featuring Australian bush recordings by sound artist Philip Samartzis.
The exhibition draws from King’s own experience living in the Australian bush at Eganstown and her work is partly a meditation on the experience of being surrounded by the calm of Nature. As Professor Ken Wach writes in his catalogue essay that King, ‘does not merely follow her bliss; rather she searches for felt contacts’.
Gallery Director Louise Tegart said that galleries needed to be open to the idea of artists being able to provide a different level of meaning to our history and collection.
‘The mix of old and new works creates bold juxtapositions, questions our assumptions and reveals new conceptual connections. We are delighted to be supporting a regional artist to show us new ways of looking into and at the collection.’
Part of BOAA ART 2018.