GIRLZ review by Frank Strachan printed in the ODT 2/8/12

This all-female group show stems from the artists’ desire to emphasise the presence of female makers within the Dunedin art scene. In a gallery whose exhibitions have inadvertently, but predominantly, entertained male artists, this group collectively respond to (or collectively respond through) their femininity.

From Sinclair’s reliably picturesque landscape painting to mi$$match’s pink explosion of hip-hop inspired attitude, or from Carran’s portentous, pendulum-like stack of prisms hanging from the ceiling to McIsaac’s small but striking descriptively entitled sculpture: Lipstick ascending on caterpillar tracks on a hill in a blizzard in a jar, there are multiple departure points for contemplation beneath an overriding statement about female presence in the art world – precisely what that statement is, however, is ambiguous. The works are said to be in dialogue with one another and while some visual analogies are apparent, the objects’ exchanges are otherwise vague.

Separately, the arrangements are complete and thoughtful – they can easily be imbued with unique and even profound significance; collectively though, their lucidity wavers. This is not a condemnation of the collection but a reflection on the strength each work harbours in isolation. Girlz is thus an enjoyable exhibition by virtue of its variety, attitude and female solidarity rather than by way of coherency.


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Conceived as a two-year project, ‘a gallery’ opened in February 2011 at 393 Princes Street, Dunedin and closed in September 2012. Strategically placed south of the center of town nestled between tattoo studios, sex shops and a needle exchange. What was integral in the selection of the gallery space was that it would be able to be viewed from the street through the street level floor to ceiling windows. This would allow the artists showing to be exposed not only to viewers visiting the gallery, but also those walking past, as a gallery was to represent artists that did not fit within the commercial gallery context or the so called experimental project space’s, this would be the best way to expose a particular group of artists selected by gallery curator/manager Jay Hutchinson, artists he respected and admired and felt were not being represented in the gallery scene at the time.

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