Standing

Brenda Samuels, Emily Galicek, Hannah McKellar, Natalie Synnott, Shireen Taweel, and Zoe Wong. Curated by Emily Galicek
EXHIBITION  RUNS
   
March
   
30
 -  
April
   
10
“Standing” explores the interplay between physical labour and emotional labour undertaken by women, and the potential of the artwork to occupy the space in between.

INFORMATION

“I often talk about emotional labor as being the work of caring. And it’s not just being caring, it’s that thing where someone says “I’ll clean if you just tell me what to clean!” because they don’t want to do the mental work of figuring it out. Caring about all the moving parts required to feed the occupants at dinnertime, caring about social management. Caring about noticing that something has changed - like, it’s not there anymore, or it’s on fire, or it’s broken.

 

It’s a substantial amount of overhead, having to care about everything. It ought to be a shared burden, but half the planet is socialized to trick other people into doing more of the work.

 

posted by Lyn Never at 4:33 PM on July 15”[1]

 

“Standing” explores the interplay between physical labour and emotional labour undertaken by women, and the potential of the artwork to occupy the space in between.

 

As a concept, emotional labour has risen to prominence with the advent of intersectional feminist discourse. Fundamentally, it brings to light and challenges the problematic stereotype of the woman as the caregiver. She is the ‘hysterical’ one (to adopt an Austen-era term) prone to over-dramatisation. Stereotype or not, the word ‘labour’ has not been accidentally placed. Unrecognised financially, many would not class emotional work as work at all, but it is certainly no less taxing. As per the opening quotation, the Internet has proved a valuable tool in providing space for people to compare and discuss their experiences in relation to emotional labour, and has henceforth broadened discussion on its genuine place in a woman’s life.

 

Much in the way of art practice is also not financially recognised, physically ruinous or difficult though it may be. This exhibition examines the making of art as work and labour unto itself, and furthermore the contribution of the woman artist to such labour forms. When it is considered that the making of art is an inherently emotional act, coupled with the fact that it is a physical act, it is self evident that art occupies a fraught space. It requires interrogation.

 

Each work in this exhibition explores the intersections of physical and emotional labour in a unique way. Hannah McKellar’s intricate embroideries ride a fine line between anxiety as subject matter and obsessive technique. Natalie Synnott’s paintings are also depictions of emotional turmoil, produced in a self-depricating and humorous manner. Shireen Taweel’s labour intensive metalworking echoes the sentiment of obsessive technique, with significant homage and reference to her Lebanese heritage and upbringing. My own work embodies an emotional/physical metaphor in its use of Classical imagery of women. Zoe Wong’s work pays tribute to the mostly silent struggle for positive depictions of lesbianism in popular culture. Her shrines embody the emotional spectrum of loss. Finally, Brenda Samuels’ paintings are the product of a labour exchange wherein her daughter Miranda performed household tasks in order for Brenda to have time to paint.

 

It is a pleasure to present these works all together, and it is my hope that the intersection between them creates and fosters new dialogue.

 

- Emily Galicek  

[1] Emotional Labour: The Metafilter Condensed (2015) p. 2 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0UUYL6kaNeBTDBRbkJkeUtabEk/view?pref=2&pli=1

 

“I often talk about emotional labor as being the work of caring. And it’s not just being caring, it’s that thing where someone says “I’ll clean if you just tell me what to clean!” because they don’t want to do the mental work of figuring it out. Caring about all the moving parts required to feed the occupants at dinnertime, caring about social management. Caring about noticing that something has changed - like, it’s not there anymore, or it’s on fire, or it’s broken.

 

It’s a substantial amount of overhead, having to care about everything. It ought to be a shared burden, but half the planet is socialized to trick other people into doing more of the work.

 

posted by Lyn Never at 4:33 PM on July 15”[1]

 

“Standing” explores the interplay between physical labour and emotional labour undertaken by women, and the potential of the artwork to occupy the space in between.

 

As a concept, emotional labour has risen to prominence with the advent of intersectional feminist discourse. Fundamentally, it brings to light and challenges the problematic stereotype of the woman as the caregiver. She is the ‘hysterical’ one (to adopt an Austen-era term) prone to over-dramatisation. Stereotype or not, the word ‘labour’ has not been accidentally placed. Unrecognised financially, many would not class emotional work as work at all, but it is certainly no less taxing. As per the opening quotation, the Internet has proved a valuable tool in providing space for people to compare and discuss their experiences in relation to emotional labour, and has henceforth broadened discussion on its genuine place in a woman’s life.

 

Much in the way of art practice is also not financially recognised, physically ruinous or difficult though it may be. This exhibition examines the making of art as work and labour unto itself, and furthermore the contribution of the woman artist to such labour forms. When it is considered that the making of art is an inherently emotional act, coupled with the fact that it is a physical act, it is self evident that art occupies a fraught space. It requires interrogation.

 

Each work in this exhibition explores the intersections of physical and emotional labour in a unique way. Hannah McKellar’s intricate embroideries ride a fine line between anxiety as subject matter and obsessive technique. Natalie Synnott’s paintings are also depictions of emotional turmoil, produced in a self-depricating and humorous manner. Shireen Taweel’s labour intensive metalworking echoes the sentiment of obsessive technique, with significant homage and reference to her Lebanese heritage and upbringing. My own work embodies an emotional/physical metaphor in its use of Classical imagery of women. Zoe Wong’s work pays tribute to the mostly silent struggle for positive depictions of lesbianism in popular culture. Her shrines embody the emotional spectrum of loss. Finally, Brenda Samuels’ paintings are the product of a labour exchange wherein her daughter Miranda performed household tasks in order for Brenda to have time to paint.

 

It is a pleasure to present these works all together, and it is my hope that the intersection between them creates and fosters new dialogue.

 

- Emily Galicek  

[1] Emotional Labour: The Metafilter Condensed (2015) p. 2 https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0UUYL6kaNeBTDBRbkJkeUtabEk/view?pref=2&pli=1

 

FEATURED  WORKS

Emily Galicek, Double Caryatid, 2016, acrylic on marble, 50 x 25 cm

Hannah McKellar, Detours III, 2016 embroidery on linen, 25 x 15 cm

Brenda Samuels, Tampons, 2017, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 cm

Shireen Taweel, Mounir, 2016, pierced copper, 50 x 25 x 30 cm

Zoe Wong, Les We Forget series, 2017, mixed media, dimensions variable

OTHER  EXHIBITIONS