Causes of Failure in Jam
14 April - 10 May 2019
Academy Gallery, UTAS Launceston
Marjorie Bligh looms large: as a maker of craft and maker of self, her presence inescapably permeates Tasmania. Causes of Failure in Jam, a title taken from one of Marjorie's innumerable top tips, brings together six Tasmanian women artists whose work tests the boundaries of fine art and craft practices to respond to the tensions, themes and material practices that characterise Bligh's works and life.
Marjorie was deeply involved in both her community and home life; navigating a public performance that used competitions and publicity to bring the often private realm of domestic and emotional labour into prominence. Her preoccupation with romantic love and adornment emerge in this exhibition as a questioning of gender roles and everyday intimacies, of clothing and bodies becoming excessive and uncanny. Marjorie lived through a transition from locally-based, and often self-sufficient economy and lifestyle to a globalised era of mass consumption: championing the value and creativity of repair and maintenance and re-evaluating throwaway items. The undercurrents of scarcity, preservation and consumption are present in potential incongruities of re-use and the strategies of repetition, reproduction and deviation. She traveled widely, saw herself as having at least national relevance, and engaged in acts of determined and self-driven place making. Marjorie's range of publications, from the highly practical handy hints through to her idiosyncratic relating of history, open up the possibilities of borrowing and destabilising narratives.
This exhibition forms a reciprocal relationship with the QVMAG exhibition Marjorie Bligh: Domestic Goddess. The Bligh collection, now held at QVMAG, is a selection of her own acts of crafting, collecting, documentation and publication that embodies a highly constructed image, yet the image is ferociously authentic. The collection forms a series of provocations for makers,: skilled in inventive, but also incoherent, inadvertently eroticised and excessive.
Dr. Karen Hall
Kathryn Camm, Mae Finlayson, Dr. Karen Hall
Kathryn Camm, Mae Finlayson, Holly Leonardson, Emma Magnusson-Reid, Louise Parsons, Amelia Rowe
The items I felt most drawn to in QVMAG's archive of Marjorie Bligh's work were her numerous personal scrapbooks. Stuffed with clippings collected from newspapers and magazines over the years, she filled every available space with the imagery she felt drawn to and added her own daydream-like writing and thoughts to these busy compositions. Beyond paper and glue, I also found great joy in viewing her textile-based pieces that further embellished and celebrated everyday objects and the domestic spaces they inhabit, including the much-loved and decorated home garden. My focus for this exhibition was to combine these two elements of Bligh's making and material choices to create embellished objects that play with methods of traditional craft making and presentation with the contemporary process of digital printing.