The Finkelstein Files: In My Room

“Mother says there are locked rooms inside all women; kitchen of lust, bedroom of grief, bathroom of apathy.”

– from ‘The House’ by Warsan Shire

In My Room is the telling title of Helen Gory’s newest body of works – at once an invitation and a provocation. Strongly symbolist in nature and style, she has created a blueprint that challenges the viewer to encroach on her personal space; both as audience and interrogator.

Gilt-laden images are scratched into the paper, challenging its singular appearance. I am reminded of Austrian-born artist Gustav Klimt, who once said something like ‘art is a line around your thoughts’. This idea resonates throughout Gory’s works, which are at once deeply personal and universal. Draw a line; make a point; take a stand; risk something.

Gory’s oil-stick women delve backwards into unrevealed pockets of spaces, memories compartmentalised into separate ‘rooms’. Her challenge – and ours – is to slowly, carefully unpack these subtle chimeras; expose their interior to the outer world. Woman with Leaf speaks loudest without uttering a word. Verging on naïve, these night-shade women hover between darkness and illumination. Their talisman tools may well be props; striking a pose that both regales and invites us inside.

Helen Gory opened her own contemporary commercial art gallery in 1995. Helen Gory Galerie was a pioneer in supporting emerging practitioners, many of whom have gone on to become Australia’s leading visual artists. In 2008, Gory closed her gallery to pursue a long-unfulfilled desire to make art.

Golden Bars, 2018

Paper Collage and Oil Stick on Art Paper, 140 x 110cm.

It’s a Challenge, 2018

Paper Collage and Oil Stick on Art Paper, 140 x 110cm.

Walking Back To Happiness, 2018

Paper Collage and Oil Stick on Art Paper, 140 x 110cm.

Gory’s work is best described as visual stories where humour and joy sit side-by-side with the shadows that they cast. She is concerned with uncovering what is hidden, with the act of revelation. Through the repeated motifs of fragmented body parts, women, and elements of the natural world, her often-surreal images speak of desire, longing, angst and the power of transformation.

(det.) The Leaf, 2018, Oil Paint on Paper, 109 x 67cm

The Leaf, 2018

Oil Paint on Paper, 109 x 67cm

Gory works across various medium to construct these visual narratives. Her first primary medium, collage, allows her to deconstruct, fragment, (dis)connect and reassemble, the process of creation a metaphor for the complexity and layering of human experience.

More recently, Gory has segued from collage to painting and drawing. Using oil stick, graphite and charcoal in scribbling and scratching-like motions, she adds/removes layers in a repetitive act of mark-making that is intrinsic to the interior world she is revealing.

The Pods, 2018

Oil Paint on Paper, 109 x 67cm

(det.) The Pods, 2018

Oil Paint on Paper, 109 x 67cm

The Scarf, 2018

Oil Paint on Paper, 109 x 67cm

The Scarf, 2018

Oil Paint on Paper, 109 x 67cm

Last weekend to see In My Room!

Head to: Backwoods Gallery, 25 Easey Street, Collingwood, VIC, Australia (map)

The Finkelstein Files – The Guts & the Gory

Helen Gory has long held a fascination for me, firstly as a gallerist, well-regarded for her sharp eye, can-do hands-on approach to people & the selling of artworks and more recently, as an effervescent powerhouse of a woman – a surprise package. Happily mentor, art adviser & friend all rolled into one, Gory has garnered a loyal following over her two decade long commitment to celebrating & championing some of Melbourne’s brightest talent.

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Artist Helen Gory and creative, Adrian Elton at the JCP Studios for THROUGH THESE PAPER WALLS exhibition opening last month.

Her artists’ and buyers alike are dealing with the loss they may feel akin to losing a dear friend upon the closure of the Prahran gallery space mid 2013 to join forces with Dianne Tanzer under the amusing banner of THIS IS NO FANTASY, inspired by the neon-lit truisms of famed American artist Jenny Holzer. This relationship was well-received last year as the logical if not market-savvy acknowledgement of the shifting of gallery models which has long been hotly debated and bandied about town for the past few years in earnest.

Gory had already entrusted the daily operations to then gallery manager Nicola Stein, now director, feeling as though the mantle had been passed safely to another to continue the path Gory has paved. Opportunities and challenges aside, Gory has quietly stepped back now entirely. It seemed an obvious choice.

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‘How many gallerists are needed to change a light bulb’ begs the age-old joke?  If your name is Helen Gory, well – just one. She is a do-er, a maker. It’s no surprise that she has emerged metamorphosis-like from the cocoon into the light, able to spread her wings outward into full flight.

I am for one, uber excited to be present at the first of what I feel certain will be the beginning of a natural unfurling of a talented artist who has jumped the fence from seller to maker. Interestingly, her vision is a s broad as it is defined as far as her influences are concerned.

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Dignity, 2014

 

‘Even though I’ve surrounded myself with art for the best part of 20 years, I’ve only just begun to create my own art. I cried the very first time I sat at my new workspace. I cried because for the first time in my life I actually made the time to make art. I cried because I don’t know why I waited so long to start. Perhaps all this will be revealed another time in another exhibition or perhaps it just wont be necessary any longer.’ – Helen Gory

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‘The images are wishful, improbable, overwhelmingly busy, or minimal. They can be anything. I’m happy if they are emotionally evocative, tell a story or totally ambiguous. Sometimes subtle and sometimes in your face, secretive and political. I want to keep exploring. My real world and my pretend world are merging. Fantasy and reality, injustice and cruelty, pure love and joy. I can find them all in the images, scraps, tears and cuts I make. I can make my own world and shut out the real world.”

‘I like that I can see where the page is torn and the image cut, it’s not slick and it’s not perfection. I keep the works fairly small to a medium size mainly due to the constraints of the paper. It’s the spontaneity of the process and the rawness of the paper combined with the quirkiness of the content that seduce the viewer into looking intently at the final artwork.’

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Hang the Rat, 2014

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A Fine Balance, 2013

‘I’ve loved the manifesto of Dada since I read about it as a young teenager. I don’t believe that I really understood its underground nature and subversive attitude but it spoke to me nevertheless.Moreover the art of Art Spiegelman, Egon Schiele, Hannah Hoch, Gustav Klimt, Francisco Goya, Emil Nolde, Diane Arbus has forever haunted me. Without being consciously aware when I started collage two years ago, these former influences of my teenage youth are shaping what I’m creating today. It’s like breathing. I feel utterly natural doing it. I recently read that a majority of female artists of the early 20th century chose collage as their preferred medium of art and so it seems I’ve joined the ranks.’

‘My daughter came up with the title, ‘through these paper walls’. It’s from a poem we can’t locate nor recall its author. It’s so apt. The medium of paper and the walls that I’ve finally broken down and braved to begin doing art.’

The Curtain, 2012

The Curtain, 2012

28. walking back to happiness

Walking Back to Happiness, 2013

 

Party Room, 2012, analogue collage, 55 x38cm.

Party Room, 2012

‘Secrets, desires, absurd ideas of woman and who they should be, how they should look, sex, politics, fashion, social injustices. I feel helpless to do anything so I let out my frustrations and anger here in these works. And I try not to be repetitive. Lou Reed once said “why would I want to play the same song the same way every time I performed live, I’d rather cut off my toes.” I like his sense of drastic.’

‘Collage allows me the freedom I need to express myself. I’m here and I’m excited and happy to be creating. I don’t want to stop. As my son once told me, Hokusai didn’t start his art career until he was 75 years of age. So I’ve started, and I hope to continue.’

Somehow, I think she will.

TFF. xx

Through these paper walls was recently exhibited @ JCP Studios in Cremorne. If you missed viewing the works in person & would like to see more, please contact the artist for enquiries: helen@helengory.com

The Finkelstein Files – The Guts & the Gory

The door is closing for the final exhibition of Helen Gory's Galerie in Prahran.

The door is closing for the final exhibition of Helen Gory’s Galerie in Prahran.

Yesterday afternoon I dropped in to Helen Gory’s eponymously named Galerie in Prahran for last drinks. Celebrating an incredible 15 years in Prahran, the team are heading over the river & are eager to start a new chapter alongside fellow gallerists with Dianne Tanzer  in Gertrude St, Fitzroy.

As the Australian commercial art world continues to face the challenge of rapidly changing market conditions, it is those gallerists who proactively seek creative and innovative responses to market conditions that are the most likely to remain profitable . Over the last couple of years a number of Australian gallery owners have reacted to the changing gallery scene by shutting physical gallery spaces in favour of trading online, through art fairs, or through temporary pop-up exhibitions.

merger

Dianne Tanzer and Helen Gory have had a close relationship for many years and have been discussing ways to work together for some time now. The decision to utilise the strengths of each gallery and share resources to further develop the careers of the artists that each gallery represents can only be seen as a positive move.

“We have always shared ideas and experiences,” says Tanzer, whose stable of artists includes Juan Ford, Natasha Bieniek, Michael Cook and Izabela Pluta. “So this seemed like a perfect opportunity for us to share our wealth of knowledge and expertise.”

Gallery-goers, young & old, revel in the space for the last time.

Gallery-goers, young & old, revel in the space for the last time.

Gallery director, Nicola Stein (left) snapped in conversation

Gallery director, Nicola Stein (left) snapped in conversation

Petrina Hicks & an au revoir floral tribute to a special exhibition space

Petrina Hicks & an au revoir floral tribute to a special exhibition space

A room with a view.

A room with a view.

The new space (the current Dianne Tanzer space) officially and ponderously bears the name THIS IS NO FANTASY, inspired by the neon-lit truisms of famed American artist Jenny Holzer.

“It’s both serious and playful, which reflects the spirit of THIS IS NO FANTASY,” offers Nicola Stein, director of Helen Gory Galerie, which represents the likes of Petrina Hicks, Jacqui Stockdale, Tai Snaith and Kate Tucker.

this is no fantasy

The title itself summons a new definition of the former sites, permitting directors Stein and Tanzer to pursue an updated and ambitious new exhibition program outside of the white cube model.

The venture will see select artists from Dianne Tanzer Gallery + Projects and Helen Gory Galerie come together for special exhibitions, projects, and art fair presentations. “THIS IS NO FANTASY” will not represent artists but will be a means of sharing gallery resources and bringing artists from each gallery together for collaborative projects and exhibitions. THIS IS NO FANTASY is a more efficient model for exhibiting internationally, and really bringing our strengths together,” says Tanzer of the project.

Both popular, influential and highly active spaces in their own right, Helen Gory Galerie and Dianne Tanzer will continue to promote and exhibit artists in Australia and internationally and retain their unique identities, while collaborating more closely on projects that are off the grid, such as art fairs, international exhibitions and experimental projects.

THIS IS NO FANTASY will continue with exhibitions in the Gertrude Street space, alternating with art fairs and interstate exhibitions. It will be showing at the Auckland Art Fair in August and Art Stage Singapore in January 2014.

THIS IS NO FANTASY
108–110 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy

thisisnofantasy.com
diannetanzergallery.net.au
helengory.com