The Ancient Gaze
14 February – 29 March 2020
Opening night | 6pm Friday 14 February 2020
14/02/2020 06:00 PM
14/02/2020 07:30 PM
Exhibition opening: ‘The Ancient Gaze’ by Sally Blake1829
Belconnen Arts Centre, 118 Emu Bank, Belconnen ACT 26171829
Sally Blake’s textile and paper-based works relate to the themes of death and renewal, regeneration and the possibility of transformation. The Ancient Gaze brings the ancient wisdom embodied in Palaeolithic European female figurines into conversation with contemporary environmental concerns. This exhibition developed around an image of the Venus of Dolni Vestonice, her generative body symbolising cycles of death and renewal that have been maintained from her time to ours. Archaeologist Marija Gimbutas determined the 30,000-year-old Venus to be one of many figurines that represent the Mother Goddess. The original figurine is 11cm high; drawn at human-scale, she meets the eye of the viewer, and they, her gaze. Tears stream from her eyes, perhaps a divine source of water or perhaps a lament for what she sees; tears as she witnesses human-induced climate change that threatens the cyclic patterns she embodies.
The Ancient Gaze also includes a series of stitched drawings which explore the symbols used on ancient figurines and vessels illustrated in Gimbutas’ book, The Language of the Goddess. Another series of drawings made with ash and fire will explore fire’s role in cycles of death and renewal. Sculptural works include an installation of symbolic, copper-wire vessels for nurturing new life and regeneration, and a series of interconnected, woven forms which examine the vast and entangling mesh which connects all living things.
The Ancient Gaze will include a collaborative performance by A Chorus of Women on the exhibition’s opening night.
About Sally Blake
Sally Blake’s practice is concerned with visualising the complex interconnections between the human and natural worlds through textile and paper-based media. To reveal these connections, she works with natural processes and materials such as plant dyes in the creation of artworks. She is particularly concerned with cycles of death and renewal and regeneration. In her contemporary drawings and textiles, these natural cycles are explored, as well as the consequences of their undoing. She feels deeply about disconnections in human understanding of the natural world which results in environmental crises. She was awarded a PhD from the ANU School of Art & Design in 2015.