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                                               "Fluid connections, the celebration of ambiguity and a sense of ritual in chaos are central concerns of another prominent type of mythmaking in contemporary art: the re-emergence of a Gothic psyche."

                      - Shamim M. Momin (2004) Beneath the Remains: What Magic in Myth?



Flesh and Forest is a solo exhibition showcasing the artworks from my Masters research project at Curtin University. The exhibition focuses upon contemporary imaginings of the Australian Feminine Gothic, investigating the relationship between femininity and the Australian Gothic landscape.

The Australian Gothic genre metamorphoses the landscape into a physical and psychological wilderness, as the trope of the figure in the landscape echoes the dislocation and vulnerability of the white settler in the Australian bush. Since early settlement, many female Australian writers and artists have utilised the Australian Gothic genre, merging the female body and Australian landscape into a single site of otherness to communicate female experiences of life within the bush but also to subvert patriarchal governance. In this context, female flesh and forest are spaces of liminality. This liminality is tied to Australia’s colonial past and bush mythology pertaining to a fear of the landscape and ‘other’, namely indigenous cultures, but ultimately, a fear of the unknown.

I'm interested in the historic link between femininity and nature and ways of visually representing this relationship not in a logical manner but one that is intuitive, based on myth and allegory, where the subversive, ‘femme fatale’ aspects of femininity can be explored. My notion of the femme fatale is not founded upon the film noir trope. Instead, she exists within the realm of Australian bush mythology, a figure akin to Sydney Long’s Spirit of the bushfire (1900): a “fin de siècle femme fatale—a potent destructive force” (Gray, 2012, p.14) embodying colonial, patriarchal fears of the landscape and female sexuality.

The artworks of Flesh and Forest communicate new myths surrounding the Australian Feminine Gothic, positioning the female figure as a subversive conduit of Australian landscape, reflecting back to the viewer colonial anxieties and notions of otherness which permeate contemporary Australian culture.




Gray, A. (2012). ‘Poetry in the Landscape: the vision of Sydney Long.’ Art on view.

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