ERINYS


Skye Malu Baker, Cade Burgess, Wandi Cao, Mia Carey,
Nicholas Currie and Lorna Quinn

Curated by Cade Burgess

 

CONTENT WARNING: This exhibition contains references to sexual assault which some viewers may find upsetting



Shame is a tightly woven thread that extends through the history of feminism and into the present day. The relationship between the emotion and movement is multifaceted, its complexities a product of their subjectivity. While we each hold own unique feminisms, we simultaneously bear our own private and internal association with shame.

In her book See What You Made Me Do, Jess Hill argues that people of all genders experience shame under the weight of the patriarchy. Shamefulness is the root cause of men’s violence against women, and is frequently felt by victims in the wake of abuse. This is an experience bravely shared by Sophie Collins, in her extended essay small white monkeys: On Self-Expression, Self-Help and Shame. Like the Erinys of the Oresteia, who’s furiosity is extinguished by an unspeakable catalyst, survivors like Collins are left to navigate a path to recovery while carrying the burden of their trauma.

In the midst of the epidemic of violence against women, ERINYS seeks to provide a safe space to grieve the weight of shame and to examine its subjective qualities, so that we might collectively begin to heal. Within this virtual exhibition, six artists respond to the first two chapters of small white monkeys: On Self-Expression, Self-Help and Shame, by Sophie Collins.

ERINYS will be accompanied by a comprehensive study of the key individuals that pioneered the George Paton Gallery’s involvement with the feminist movement from the 1970’s to present day, with a focus on the feminist identities of said individuals.

 

For access to the text: https://www.thewhitereview.org/feature/small-white-monkeys/

 


We acknowledge the Boonwurrung and Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation as the sovereign custodians of the land upon which we work. We extend our respects to ancestors and Elders past, present and emerging, and acknowledge that sovereignty was never ceded.

 

Wandi Cao, ‘The Nipple Monologue’ (partial), 2021. Video. Click image to play video

 

Who beautifies breasts and who makes nipples evil?

This story is based on my personal experience and discusses why women’s nipples are such a taboo, compared with men’s nipples. The first version of The Nipple Monologue was created in June 2020 during the Monologue Writing Bootcamp mentored by artist Anji Taratuta. This version is part of the original script, for ERINYS.

 


Nicholas Currie, ‘Mother’, 2021. Oil on canvas

 

Respect all forms of mother.

Men who say they don’t like cats scare me. Feelings of uneasiness as the bitterness of the normalisation of hating cats, driven from a self-appointed value on whether you get affection without earning it. Mother is earthy with swirls and sways, the passage of time learning and achieving the respect of the cat.

 


 

In every hotel we stay in,
My mother and I steal clean white towels from the bathroom;
Sometimes we take bleached linen off the carts in the hallways,
To match the cracked magnolia walls;
Of a rundown house in the suburbs.

The soft towels have turned crunchy;
and I pick small black hairs off the fibres that form ringlets in my palm.
I live alone now and scrub the shower twice a week
With thick heavy bleach.
My mother cleaned it first,
She scraped at the black mould
but its residue lingers and I stare at it while I wash the sweat off my face.

 

Cade Burgess, Untitled, 2022

 


Skye Malu Baker, ‘Ablution Solution Triptych‘, 2020Cyanotype and ink-jet print on paper

 

When time is un-metered and soup-like, when the edge between eye and I cannot be found, I make my own delineations in ablutions. Here, in the bathroom, I am all that I am not.


Influenced by the temporal slipperiness of the autobiographical and the active properties of the technologies and materials with which she collaborates, Skye Malu Baker’s work is concerned with the narrative glitches in their many forms. Semiotic instability is seen as intriguingly undefined space that makes way for the poetic and the unsayable.

 


Lorna Quinn, ‘Time and Star’, 2021. Oil on board

 

In her practice Lorna Quinn considers the triangular relationship between landscape, inner experience, and painting. By travelling to a particular place, working on site, and then developing the work in her studio space at home, a tension is created as she distances and then attempts to re-connect across that distance. Visually, her paintings represent scenes that hover in-between real and imaginary, and this friction between the landscape and her creative projection onto it, in many ways becomes the subject of the work.

Images and memories associated with negative life events can ‘haunt’ a person. In certain therapies that treat this type of residual emotional pain, such as Imagery Re-scripting therapy, patients are invited to revisit the memory of a troubling event, and to creatively re-invent its outcome in a way that eases suffering. In the context of Erinys, she is interested in this process of creative re-invention as a means of nurturing collective healing from shared experiences of shame.

 


Mia Carey, ‘Night Walks’, 2021. Ink-jet photographic print

 

(This series contains dark images that are best viewed away from sunlight)


Mia Carey is fed up. Dwelling over an email reply by a Federal Member of Parliament in 2019 in response to a gendered violence rally she was organising, she has sought to finally reply in a way that feels most empowering for her. Working through a counter-archival basis Mia’s practice compiles both the real and imagined experiences, through a range of digital technologies, of what it is like to walk home at night. Mia’s practice is continuously seeking new mediums for community mobilisation that are able to critique systems of power and call for accountability on the erasure of experiences within the institutional archive.