Wagga Wagga Art Gallery | Michelle Hamer: I am Part of a Living City
Image: Michelle Hamer, I am Part of a Living City, 2011, hand-stitching on perforated plastic. Photo by Marc Morel.
Wagga Wagga Art Gallery is delighted to present the first survey show of the work of award-winning contemporary Australian artist Michelle Hamer, I am Part of a Living City. Spanning over a decade of investigations, this fascinating exhibition highlights Hamer’s unique practice of hand-stitched and drawn works based on ‘found’ urban texts and her own photography.
Michelle Hamer maps contemporary social beliefs, ideals, fears and aspirations through text and urban environments. Familiar and often ironic, the works capture in-between moments that characterise everyday life. The boundaries and barriers that Hamer explores oscillate between fast and slow – past and present – and become markers of rarely captured but revealing moments in time. Her hand-stitched and drawn works occupy a space between 2D and 3D, and have variously been described as ‘needlepoint paintings’, ‘stitched photographs’, ‘handmade pixellations’, and ‘tapestry photos’.
I am Part of a Living City includes works exploring highly localised Australian street language through to markers of some of the most conflicted border zones in the world. In an era of divisive politics Hamer’s work holds onto more subtle readings and mis-readings as it negotiates socio-political landscapes. The works consistently explore the fears, aspirations of everyday life through the lens of the artist’s own personal challenges as the slow gridded nature of her practice contrasts with the easily overlooked moments captured.
Professor Julian Goddard, Dean of the School of Art at RMIT University, says in his essay for the catalogue accompanying the exhibition that Hamer’s “hand-made photo-tapestries speak with their own voice of authenticity and vulnerability, in opposition to a culture of disenfranchised subjectivity and status. While Michelle’s use of a craft practice may well challenge the dominance of ‘sophisticated art’ it also creates a possibility for a new critique. One based in the subversive pleasure of making as opposed to the compliance of consuming and one redolent with social engagement and political dissent.”
Michelle Hamer holds a Bachelor of Architecture with first class honours from RMIT University, and has been an exhibiting artist since 2005. Joint winner of the inaugural Architecture in Tapestry Prize in 2015, Hamer’s works are held in public and private collections nationally and internationally, including the National Gallery of Victoria, Artbank Australia, and the City Melbourne.
Michelle Hamer: I Am Part of a Living City will be officially launched on Friday 1 June at 6pm, and the artist will present a free public talk introducing her work on Saturday 2 June at 11am. The exhibition will be on display in the Margaret Carnegie Gallery at Wagga Wagga Art Gallery from Saturday 2 June until Sunday 26 August.
For more information visit www.wagga.nsw.gov.au/art-gallery or call (02) 6926 9660.