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Material Girls II


Robin Gibson Gallery

Bringing together the sculptural works of Laura Sutton, Samantha Stephenson, and Shannon Smith, Material Girls II presents an insight into the unique practices of three female identifying artists working in the field of sculpture, as they respond to themes of the feminine in contemporary art making practices.

Stemming from the inaugural Material Girls exhibition at Gallery Klei in 2016, the artists have reunited to present the aesthetic and thematic developments of their collaboration to new and diverse audiences.

Considering the concept of sisterhood, the artists wish to demonstrate how solidarity and peer support amongst female artists can accelerate the progress of artistic expression at large. Having met during their studies at the National Art School, Sydney, the artists have found that maintaining support networks is an art that begets art. Challenging the capitalistic pressure to compete with one another, this exhibition explores unity as a driver of artistic advancement.

In contrast to the soft sculpture movement, whereby artists employ materials and techniques typically associated with historically feminine crafts to highlight the gendered expectations of female makers, the exhibitors in Material Girls II work with materials typically viewed as masculine, such as stone, steel, and wood, as a direct challenge to these expectations. Working across a variety of forms and scales, ranging from relief sculptures, to free standing objects, the exhibition presents a cross section of disciplines from the world of object making.

Sharing a sculptural language that has roots in modernism, the exhibitors’ works appear as abstracted geometric compositions. In Sutton’s wooden sculptures, the use a sharpness of angle and form achieves a sense of motion, while the dynamism of shape introduces parts of the sculpture into the viewer’s space, at once playful yet provocative. In Stephenson’s steel sculptures, the artist manipulates metal as though it is organic material, unfurling curved planes to flat, whilst shaping and colouring with intention to achieve a sense of lightness and fluidity despite the heft of the material. In Smith’s stone works, the intersection of abstraction with figurative shape makes hard rock feel like flesh. Together, the suite of artworks symbolise the premise of the show; the power of feminine connection to enrich the art world with the boldness of women’s perspectives.

6 July – 3 August 2024
Robin Gibson gallery
Hours: 11am-6pm Wednesday to Saturday

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