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Maroondah Art Gallery – Launching Letting Go

By March 4, 2010March 9th, 2010No Comments

The Maroondah Art Gallery is located at Maroondah Federation Estate in Greenwood Avenue, Ringwood and offers an artist in residency program for artists to develop new artworks.

This evening I launched Letting Go by Kate James, who just completed a six month artist in residency program, with the works on display being created during this time. Kate’s art focuses on three-dimensional objects, made from unique materials, such as horsehair, to explore the emotion and connection experienced by humans and domesticated animals.

Letting Go in on exhibition from the Thursday the 4th if March until Sunday the 10th of April.

The speech delivered for the launch is available within this entry:

I would like to welcome you all here tonight to the exhibition opening of Letting Go, new work by Kate James. I would also like to welcome our new Gallery Curator, Wendy Garden. Wendy comes to us from Banyule City Council where she has been the Art Curator for the past 8 years.

Tonight we are opening an exciting new exhibition by Kate who has recently completed a 6-month Artist-in-Residency here at Maroondah Federation Estate. The Estate is one of Melbourne’s newest community, cultural and arts facilities which has been in operation for nine years. In addition to the two gallery spaces there are two artists studios and the Residency Program has been running since 2006. It offers both emerging and established artists a 3 to 6 month period to develop a body of work while contributing to the Maroondah City Council’s Art Collection. Residencies are available for later in the year and if you are interested please contact the Gallery Curator, Wendy Garden.

In the gallery tonight we see the product of Kate James’s residency. Kate works with animal fibres to create 3D objects, and during her time at Maroondah has created a number of works with horsehair. Having the residency has enabled Kate to have both a studio and the resources to develop her practice. As a result she has produced a new body of work, a number of which appear in this exhibition. Kate has described the studio as a beautiful space that is inspiring to work in, and she is understandably rather reluctant to move out.

The works Kate has created for Letting Go offer a fascinating insight into the nature of anxiety as expressed by both humans and domesticated animals. Kate’s works are the result of labour-intensive and often painstaking techniques, including tapestry, spinning, horsehair hitching and hairwork. In employing hairwork to create her objects, Kate has revived a traditional technique that dates back to the Victorian era of the late nineteenth century when it was employed to make mourning jewellery. The unique sculptures and objects in this exhibition have been made with the intention of both examining and evoking feelings of fear, tension and dread, feelings which are often closely entwined with the artist’s strong connection to animals. I think you’ll agree that she has succeeded in conveying these experiences. Her investigation of anxiety is also continued in the artist’s photographic and video based imagery which also form part of Letting Go.

I should also mention that Kate has another exhibition, The Work of Worry is Never Done, opening next week at Craft Victoria. This exhibition contains some of the other pieces that Kate has made during her residency here at Maroondah, and is very much an extension of the themes explored in Letting Go. I would encourage you all to try to see both of these fascinating exhibitions. A catalogue has also been produced and copies are available free of charge at the counter in the gallery.

I now declare the exhibition open.

Alex Makin

Alex Makin

Alex Makin is a councillor for the Mullum Ward in the City of Maroondah. Alex has been a councillor since 2005, representing ratepayers, businesses, community groups and residents. I aim to continue making a difference and welcome any thoughts you may have in regard to life, community and business in Maroondah. Phone: (03) 9870 8202 or 0408 311 645 Email:

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