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Arlene TextaQueen: Naked Landscapes of Gippsland and Beyond

13 October – 11 November 2010

Switchback Gallery, Monash University Gippsland Campus

Geraldine Kirrihi Barlow

Arlene TextaQueen sees the world vividly. In her work, the world we know and the world of the artist’s friends and community is condensed, distilled and made more. More colour, more detail, more life, more flesh, more character.

TextaQueen is known for portraits of friends located in their own intimate environment, such as their bedroom, kitchen or lounge. In this exhibition Naked landscapes of Gippsland and beyond, she situates them in locations around Victoria and Alice Springs. Two of the works in the exhibition were created whilst on a MUMA residency at the Gippsland Centre for Art & Design, including The artist, Gippsland 2010, a selfportrait of TextaQueen naked in the landscape, being drawn by and drawing her friend Matthew. TextaQueen shares and distills something very human in her work, giving us much of herself as well as paying tribute to her world, her community and friends.

Exhibition Catalogue:
Arlene TextaQueen: Naked Landscapes of Gippsland and Beyond

Public Programs:
Artist's talk, Tuesday 12 October 2010 at 4.30pm, Switchback Gallery

Exhibition opening address by Rodney Forbes:
"This exhibition came out of a collaboration between the artist, MUMA and Gippsland Centre for Art and Design on an Arlene TextaQueen residency here earlier this year.

Being naked in the Victorian rural landscape is not an easy thing. Populated as it is by some of the most venomous snakes, spiders, bull-ants, wasps and platypuses in the world and subject to raging bushfires, leeches, Arctic Southerly winds in winter and furnace-like summer sun, its beaches blasted by windblown sand and patrolled by some of the largest sharks and most lethal octopi in the world, not to mention the steely gazes of lifelong National Party stalwarts, only the physically courageous or aesthetically committed can rise to Arlene TextaQueen’s challenge.

But we should pay closer attention to the title of the show: ‘Naked landscapes of Gippsland and Beyond’. The landscapes themselves are naked. Deforested by farmers, graded by developers, logged by generations of timber-millers, gouged by mining, scorched by the Black Saturday fires and now threatened by locust attack, the landscape is having dire difficulty keeping its clothes on.

It’s fascinating that these pictures pay exquisitely balanced attention to the figure and the landscape, those 2 great poles of Australian painting. The landscapes have as much character as the figures and are just as lovingly observed. Who would have thought that the humble and ubiquitous medium of felt-tip pen was capable of such nuance and range of mark and tone.

Many, many thanks to Arlene for producing a body of work which connects so beautifully to this place and to MUMA for their continuing collaboration on these residency and exhibition projects."

Rodney Forbes
Director, Gippsland Centre for Art and Design
Curator, Switchback Gallery Monash

Image: Arlene TextaQueen, Naked Landscapes of Gippsland and Beyond, installation view: Switchback Gallery, Monash University Gippsland Campus, 2010. Photo: Neale Stratford