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Keepers and Kind (solo exhibition)


Scott, MG, Keepers and Kind (solo exhibition), Criterion Gallery, Hobart, Tasmania, 1, pp. 7 (2011) [Published Creative Work]


The works in Keepers and Kind arise through interest in scientific methods of taxonomy and classification and how these and other systems of knowledge imbue common understanding of the world and human standing within it. Both the Cabinet of Doubt (The Ten Plagues) and the Keepers reference pre-enlightenment natural history collections such as ‘wunderkammer’ or curiosity cabinets. Curiosity cabinets clustered together unusual natural and man-made objects, works of art and medical oddities. Brought together through the interests of private collectors, their ordering defied the categorical ordering of later taxonomic systems and stand as examples of different human values, tied in with the transformative and emotive power of curiosity and wonder. ‘Wondrousness’ is a remote experience today in a world so travelled, so scrutinised and where experience is increasingly orchestrated and controlled. I aim to bring something of this quality to my work wherein the fragments of everyday life are transformed into things of curiosity. The Cabinet of Doubt is a fragile wooden cabinet with seven stainless shelves. The piece initiated in some china fragments I dug out of the ground in the children’s graveyard at Cornelian Bay cemetery in Hobart. The fragments blown from graves were barely visible in the grass and had been shattered by repeated lawn mowing. After cleaning, they lay on my studio table for several weeks but around them I began to place other found and handmade objects and pieces of folded, shredded or printed text. The text, excised from the ‘The Book of Exodus’, is the account of the ten plagues or calamities imposed upon Egypt by God as a demonstration of his power. I had read that US President Thomas Jefferson had cut the miracles out of the Bible in his desire to increase his understanding of divinity as a moral guide. I reference this act and the environmental challenges we face today through my own ‘excision’. The drawing that hang on the wall beside the cabinet images multiple bird skins viewed at the Tulane University Museum of Natural History, New Orleans. Keepers is a suite of seven paintings of male heads in various degrees of rotation. Again through classification the work present a discursive and interpretative space that is intended to expand thinking about the authority of accumulated knowledge in shaping our understanding of the world. Source material for the sequence was selected from a large collection pictures that I have, over years, classified into image files. The act of grouping, ordering, systemising itself is pivotal to the creation of meaning as much as the subject matter of individual images themselves. One object is silent, two tell a story and three tell multiple stories and bring new interpretations.

Item Details

Item Type:Published Creative Work
Research Division:Creative Arts and Writing
Research Group:Visual arts
Research Field:Fine arts
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Arts
Objective Field:The creative arts
UTAS Author:Scott, MG (Dr Mary Scott)
ID Code:71348
Year Published:2011
Deposited By:Art (Hobart)
Deposited On:2011-07-14
Last Modified:2018-02-06

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