Friday, December 23, 2016


Victorian hair jewellery, L-R: bracelet, brooch and watch fob. Collection: Deborah Klein

With Christmas Day nearly upon us, and New Year's Day following closely behind, planning for several projects in 2017 is already well under way. One of these is From the Bower - patterns of collecting, an exhibition focusing on the collections of four artists, namely Carole WilsonLouise Saxton, Loris Button and myself

The following excerpt is from our our combined artists' statement:

Each of us connects with or interrogates our collection in myriad ways, at both a subtle level and more literally. For some of us, the material and objects collected form the very fabric of our art, whilst for others it is a source of inspiration and imagery.  We source our objects from opportunity shops, junk shops, garage sales and markets, both at home and while travelling. Andre Breton said of flea markets "… I go there often, searching for objects that can be found nowhere else, old fashioned, broken, useless...” (1) We can also add: objects that are disused, discarded and even disinherited.  Opportunity shops and flea markets are in a way a kind of ‘bower’ where objects are gathered, and which reflect the lives of many other people.

Among my own contributions to the show are a substantial collection of hair ornaments and a small collection of Victorian hair jewellery (pictured above). Gathered together, the objects put me in mind of a story I've loved since childhood, The Gift of the Magi (1905) by the American writer, O. Henry. Hair, decorative combs and a watch fob are central to this, one of his most beloved tales, which unfolds over another Christmastime, long agoTo read The Gift of the Magi, go HERETo learn about O. Henry and read more of his stories, go HERE.

FROM THE BOWER - Patterns of collecting can be seen at Warrnambool Art Gallery from 18 March - 12 June, 2017. 

It then travels to the Art Gallery of Ballarat, where it will run from 29 July - 17 September, 2017. 

Full details will be posted nearer the times.

[1] Plant, M, “Shopping for the Marvelous: Life of the City of Surrealism” in Surrealism: Revolution by Night, Canberra: National Gallery of Australia, 1993.