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Awkward Beauty

Exhibition  /  06 Oct 2011  -  31 Oct 2011
Published: 09.09.2011
Midland Railway Workshops
Management:
Elisha Buttler
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Intro
(...) Awkward Beauty is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Munich-based contemporary jeweller Helen Britton, Perth garment designer Justine McKnight and Perth photographer Michelle Taylor. The exhibition takes the complex notion of ‘beauty’ and spins a multi-layered, multi-material narrative around this (...)

Artist list

Helen Britton, Justine McKnight, Michelle Taylor
Awkward Beauty is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Munich-based contemporary jeweller Helen Britton, Perth garment designer Justine McKnight and Perth photographer Michelle Taylor. The exhibition takes the complex notion of ‘beauty’ and spins a multi-layered, multi-material narrative around this; a narrative which is imbedded within the vast physicality of a 17 hectare historic railway workshop site on the outskirts of Perth, on Australia’s isolated western coast.

Each artist has created a body of 10 works (jewellery, garments, photography) as a direct response to the work created by the others. In some instances this process of exchange, reaction, interpretation and collaboration has occurred across continents: some of Britton’s works were made from her studio in Munich, Germany and shipped across seas to McKnight’s studio in Perth, Western Australia.

The work of all three artists is informed and inspired by the aesthetics, spatiality and suggestions of identity encompassed within the Midland Railway Workshops. In the heart of these workshops lies a modern creative enclave called Midland Atelier, managed by FORM, and this is where the project came about, when Britton was a visiting artist-in-residence in 2010-2011 and where Taylor has a permanent studio.

The railway workshops are in themselves an awkward beauty: at once majestic, fragile, industrial and domestic. Largely untouched and unrenovated, the historic workshops are poised in a rare and fleeting space between a crumbling history and a tangible future. As an artist Taylor has captured this space, creating a visual narrative through her placement of Britton’s jewellery and McKnight’s garments among walls, floors, cornices, windows, shadows and shafted sunlight.

A complex and dynamic dialogue has emerged from the direct and reflexive process of exchange that has been ongoing throughout the making of this work. This artistic response to one another’s work creates a layering of garment, jewellery, body, space, light and architecture, as textures are built up by the juxtapositions and contradictions between materials, surfaces and forms. Awkward Beauty is a quality that enters each artist’s practice and work at many levels, and as such has become a point of commonality and convergence.
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