The fully-booked launch of I Am Here at Arthouse Gallery featured an intergenerational panel of female artists involved in different mediums: Katherine Hattan, an artist with the rigour of decades of experience; Jo Bertini, who has dedicated her work to the love of desert landscapes around the world; and a curious figure dressed in a balaclava wishing to be known as Military Position (aka Harriet Morgan, Hattan’s daughter). Each expressed views on women in contemporary art, addressing gender, delineations of masculine/feminine, the need for quotas and how pieces can speak for themselves. The show is a direct response to Canberra’s Know My Name, profiling 300 female artists (running until July 4).
This exhibit of 40 female Australian artists is superb. There is a wealth of talent on display among painting, photography, sculpture and more. From the tiny dioramas by Kendal Murray to insect revenge by Sarah Brasier, the works range from iron whimsy to keenly subtle outrage. Samantha Everton’s Birthday Wish features a tidy house with a tidy woman bent over with her face in a cake, a goose observing; while Clare Rae’s Untitled Actions (Checking) has layers of meaning that begin with humour and then travel elsewhere.
Many of these works were marked with the little red stickers signifying “sold.” It’s great to see collectors supporting female artists, and as Hattan remarked, “This is a moment.” Looking at this exhibit, it’s a moment long-coming, and one that seems to be here to stay.
Until Mar 28. Arthouse Gallery, 66 McLachlan Ave, Rushcutters Bay. Info: www.arthousegallery.com.au