The saying goes that one man's trash is another man's treasure. When it comes to art, one man's trash is another man's – or in this case, woman's – artistic medium of choice.
This November, the NGV's Ian Potter Centre (aka NGV Australia) will reopen with Found and Gathered: Rosalie Gascoigne | Lorraine Connelly-Northey, an exhibition pairing two assemblage artists known for their work with found objects – objects that have been discarded or otherwise don't exist expressly to create art.
Both Gascoigne and Connelly-Northey are leaders in the field of found object art, though their approaches differ. The New Zealand-born, Canberra-based Gascoigne would collect discarded objects that many people would simply view as rubbish – think soft-drink cases, salvaged timber and road signs – and turn them into highly sculptural works reminiscent of textiles. She was the first female artist to represent Australia at the Venice Biennale (in 1982) and is best known for her works such as 'Flash art' – a collage of old road signs assembled into a quilt-like formation.
Connelly-Northey is a Victorian-based artist who grew up on Wamba Wamba lands in Swan Hill. The artist's Irish and Waradgerie heritage is reflected in her works, which combine found objects associated with colonialism and its subsequent industrialisation of the landscape (e.g. fencing wire, corrugated iron) with organic materials found in nature (such as feathers and shells). Using these objects, Connelly-Northey creates sculptural works that commonly reference cultural objects such as possum skin cloaks, canoes and narrbong (dilly bags).
Found and Gathered brings both Gascoigne and Connelly-Northey together through more than 75 works, exploring the artists' places in Australian art, their view of the landscape and Country, and how their art relates to one another.
Gathered: Rosalie Gascoigne | Lorraine Connelly-Northey opens November 6.