The exhibition’s genesis grew out of Rebecca’s jealousy for what artists in other countries were doing. “I started hearing about these group shows that involved modifying things - vinyl toys, kokeshi dolls, etc - and was disappointed to find that they're few and far between in Australia. Well they say if you can't find a way, make a way, and so that's what I did! But I didn't want to put together just another mod show. I wanted to try something a little different. Rather than have the artists modify something like a vinyl toy, they'd take an everyday item and turn it into an object de art (there are some pretty famous examples - Duchamp's urinal, Warhol's soup cans). I love the idea of artists going outside their comfort zone and trying new things, which is why I selected such a diverse group of artists from a mix of fields,” she explains.
Diverse they are; the group consists of painters, print makers, photographers, graphic designers, typographers, digital, textile, and street artists. Burnt Feather, usually a watercolour painter, enjoyed the challenge to try something different, “I describe my work as being realistic but with a naive illustrative quality to it. My art is watercolour or pen goodness that often references pop culture, cuteness or things that are out of the norm. I guess I'm quite formulaic when I normally make art, which isn't a negative thing; it's just how I have structured my art making. When it comes to exhibitions, something inside of me wants to create something out of my comfort zone. I'm not sure this is a good idea, but it's how my brain thinks and I don't question it. For This Little Teapot, I actually made seven artworks and have submitted only two; lots of experimenting, and not all experiments are successful!”
Burnt Feather’s paintings are darkly humorous; Michael Jackson & Bubbles the Chimp, Star Trek’s Spock with a clown nose, a naked 70s porn star strewn casually across a polar bear rug. “It's a reflection on the type of person I am. I love laughing, I love taking life not so seriously, I love having fun and I love being funny. 80% of the time I'm a positive, happily, bubbly person, but there is another side to me. A year or so ago, by advice from a friend, I did go see a counsellor. It was the best thing I could have done for my spirit. She basically told me, it's okay to get down, that creative folks tend to have that melancholy aspect within their personality and not to see it as a negative in your life but as a positive to embrace and use within your creative pursuits. I really took that on board so I guess that's why there is sadness in my work”.
I’m always curious to know what tattoos an artist has because, let’s face it, their tattoos are always going to be so much cooler than mine. Burnt Feather tells: “When I was 19 I got a love heart on my "tramp stamp" area aka lower back. But I actually do like my tattoo; it's a heart with a scroll and my name in the scroll. The first tattoo place I went to refused to put my name on myself, which I thought was pretty silly; I mean, if you stop loving yourself then the world is a pretty sad place! The next tattoo I want to get is a moth, and if you go to the This Little Teapot exhibition you'll get to look a bit further into my Moth obsession!” A moth-shaped teapot perhaps? We’ll have to wait and see!
As the numerous works have started to pour in, Rebecca describes the past few weeks as “the Christmas morning feel of opening up more than 100 parcels containing precious morsels of art”. Sounds exciting indeed! “The Australian art community can be amazingly supportive and understanding. I'm really quite proud of how the show has come together. The artworks are nothing short of jaw droppingly sexy,” Rebecca enthuses.
The exhibition’s opening night is tonight from 6-8pm. There will be free refreshments, delicious hot & cold tea from T2 and nibblies. The show continues until Sunday May 1st. You can catch it at Paper Plane Gallery in Rozelle.
Paper Plane Gallery
727 Darling St, Rozelle
727 Darling St, Rozelle
words: Kristen Hodges