Edith Cowan University (ECU) Bachelor of Arts (Visual Art and Writing) Alumni, Gemma Ben-Ary has come together with Curtin University Bachelor of Arts Honours (Visual Art) Alumni, Mandy Harwood to present their collaborative exhibition IMMATERIAL at Spectrum Project Space in July.

The term ‘Immaterial Labour’, adopted by second-wave feminists to describe the alienating conditions pertaining to the performance of femininity and domestic roles, is the point of departure for the artists. The IMMATERIAL exhibition embraces and makes manifest those connections between women’s art and the idea of invisible labour. In these works, the abject and the delicate, work together and repurposed materials are crafted into empathic, beloved offerings. The artworks in this exhibition span a range disciplines including weaving, textiles, ceramics, digital video, performance, painting and drawing. The artists have also used diverse materials - you’ll see men’s handkerchiefs, glitter, bronze-coloured leather, horsehair and silk scarves among other things.

Interested in the ways that their practices intersect and overlap, Ben-Ary and Harwood’s approach has been to create a series of works in partnership before resolving a number of individual pieces on their own. The strategy for collaboration was to create unfinished objects and swap them with one another, relinquishing creative control and allowing the other to intervene, reconstruct, comment, react to, or build upon.

“There was a sense that we had to relinquish something or entrust it with the other, and this echoes the way that women have worked collaboratively and in a non-egoistic way throughout history, rather women’s work has always been about communicating, surviving, nurturing and sharing.” Ms Ben-Ary said.

“We have been meeting regularly over the past year to discuss our work, provide critical feedback and support one another in the development of new work and new ideas. We also routinely swap academic texts, songs, and other sources of inspiration that support or challenge our theories, we ask difficult questions of one another, and we critique one another's work, although at the same time we are very supportive of one another.” added Ms Harwood.

Accompanying the exhibition with be a catalogue essay by Dr Vahri McKenzie, Senior Lecturer, School of Arts and Humanities at ECU's South West Campus.

Event details

IMMATERIAL will be open to the public from Saturday, 22 July to Friday, 4 August at Spectrum Project Space, Mount Lawley Campus, Edith Cowan University.

Opening event

IMMATERIAL will be officially opened by Olga Cironis, with live music by Gabbi Fusco (WAAPA Honours student). 
Date: Friday, 21 July 2017
Time: 6.00pm - 8.00pm
Venue: Spectrum Project Space, ECU Mount Lawley Campus, Building 3, Room 3.191

Artist talks

Dates: Saturday, 22 and Saturday, 29 July 2017 
Time: 10.00am - 11.00am 
Venue: Spectrum Project Space, ECU Mount Lawley Campus, Building 3, Room 3.191

Open hours

Tuesday to Friday 10.00am - 5.00pm
Saturdays 12.00pm - 5.00pm