works by Rebecca Mayo
Opening: 6pm Thursday 9 September, 2010
exhibition dates: Tuesday 7 - 25 September
Gallery Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9.30 - 5.00pm
Megalo Print Studio + Gallery
Canberra Technology Park
49 Phillips Ave
For a number of years my art practice has engaged with ecology and feminism with a particular focus on Australian mistletoe. I have been considering the idea of ‘family mistletoes’ as an alternative model to the family tree. Informed by the work of ecologist David Watson, I am interested in Australian Mistletoe and the pivotal role it plays in its natural habitats. Historically, Australian Mistletoe has been largely ignored or regarded as a menace to the trees it inhabits. However, contemporary ecological engagements with mistletoe identify it as a ‘keystone’ plant that reflects, rather than being the cause of, either a healthy or a disturbed eco-system.
I have used fallen mistletoe branches to create sculptural works in which felted recycled jumpers are wrapped and stitched around the branches. In doing so, the work presents the mistletoes as ‘wrapped’ or ‘clothed’, reflecting on how mistletoe itself is encased in cultural meanings, and the parallel manner in which clothing serves to both define and delimit constructions of femininity.
Using leaves from mistletoe plants to create dyes and screenprinting inks I have printed and dyed fabrics from which I have constructed a series of six garments, each a subsequent generation from one family. These garments have then formed the basis of two series of portraits, one printed onto ply, the second onto glass. My family mistletoe portraits explore how gender relations are reflected in historical knowledge. Like mistletoe, women are keystones, vital for the formation of the family tree, yet historically represented as incidental, perhaps even as parasites.
Rebecca Mayo, 2010