Gallery Talk


05 August · Sally

This is the final week for THE SHAPES I WEAR FOR YOU, an exhibition of works on paper by Canterbury artist Brooke Georgia. The City Art gallery is an intimate space. Once inside it is easy to forget the landscape of cranes and diggers and fenced barriers that dominates Christchurch’s former CBD. While Brooke Georgia’s work is imbued with the imagery of rubble and silt and the personal weightedness of such trauma, the frail forms observed here allude to a wider and more general sense of burden, as much to do with the psyche as they are to do with the physicality of shattered structures, as much to do with a sense of personal loadedness as they are to do with a shared experience of devastation. Stones were sewn into the hems of dresses, I am told, to give weight to the fall of a gown, to hide valuable jewels or, more rarely and less frivolously, to ensure death from self-drowning. Seen here, in jacket sleeves and under skirts, bearing down on chest and back, they suggest submission and strength, feyness and perseverance, violence and bedtime stories of ancient valour. This dichotomy is also evident in Brooke’s Milk & Courage series: red ink, pen and milk pooling into depictions of biological systems more commonly found in the pages of a medical text. In these works, however, these blood-tinted forms suggest cloudscapes and the bulging roundness of stones and rubble, here rendered in the soft curvatures of the human body. In each of these works Brooke conveys weightedness as impacted on the human body, impossible loads borne in an intimacy implicit in the simplicity of these beguiling works.

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