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Embroidering Death

[ The University of Melbourne Voice Vol. 3, No. 9  10 November - 8 December 2008 ]

By Silvia Dropulich

In her second year at the VCA Georgina Cue spent a lot of time in the Biomedical Library at the University of Melbourne examining old surgical books which published images of deformities and injuries.

Georgina Cue is fascinated by early-crime-scene photography and collects the early photography of Louis Dageurre, Talbot, Muybridge and others. These dark forces find their way into an art form where we are least likely to find them – embroidery.

“The metaphor of thread as life has been of significance in all cultures, in representing its preciousness and precariousness,” Georgina said.

“I use embroidery as a way to honor and respect death in a way that photography often fails to do.”

Georgina’s work will be featured in the annual VCA Art Graduate Exhibition opening on 20 November. Graduating students from Drawing, Painting, Photography, Printmaking, Sculpture and Spatial Practice as well as those completing honours and postgraduate courses, present some of the highlights from their years of study.

The exhibition presents a rare opportunity to see and purchase works from the next generation of Australian artists.

Three of Georgina’s pieces will be featured in the exhibition: Clotho, Atropos and Lachesis. They are based on the three fates of Greek mythology, Georgina explains.

“These figures were responsible for the creation and ending of all life through the spinning, measuring and cutting of thread,” she said.

“Clotho would spin the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle, Lachesis would measure it and Atropos chose the manner and timing of each person’s death through the cutting of the thread.”

Georgina spent five months studying in Boston last year on an exchange trip. She describes it as an interesting experience because it exposed her to an entirely different approach to art making.

“I was amazed by the prominence of Fibre Art that was being exhibited in these Galleries,” she said.

“In Melbourne there is such a harsh divide between craft and art, so it can be much more difficult to find local artists who work with textiles. But in New York almost every other gallery was running a Fibre Art-related exhibition.”

Georgina had intended to display Anatomy of Sleep in the forthcoming exhibition, but this was sold in 2007 for $3600.

VCA Art Graduate Exhibition 2008, 21–30 Nov (Opens 20 Nov, 6.00pm). Open Mon to Sun 12.00 – 5.00 pm. Enter through VCA Margaret Lawrence Gallery, 40 Dodds St, Southbank. Free entry. Enquiries: 03 9685 9400.

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