Sweet 'Art Award
2022 Winner Carys Reilly
Runners up: Anna Guadagnini, Mia Wilkinson
Exhibition Opened: 20th - 24th July 2022, 12.00 -18.00 Weds-Sun
Opening Party: 21st July 2022 6pm-9pm.
Download a copy of the gallery text here.
Sweet ‘Art celebrated their 10th birthday with a 3 month long program of art exhibitions and events taking place in their pop up space - the Art Bypass Gallery!
We are a non-profit arts organization dedicated to the promotion of upcoming and established artists through exciting art events with a difference. We operate with an intersectional feminist ethos and utilised our space from May – July 2022 to celebrate our 10 year anniversary, engaging the public with diverse artistic practice, and promoting awareness and understanding of important social issues through the arts with a special emphasis on working with artists who are marginalised from the artworld. Sweet ‘Art always aims to provide an accessible and inclusive space for making, looking at, thinking about and debating art.
Sweet Art’s third exhibition was a curated solo exhibition for the winner and two runners up of our art award.
In honour of our over arching mission and values we held an open entry competition for any artist exploring any medium, theme or concept in their art practice. The first prize, with the winner selected by our panel,was selected for an exhibition in the majority of our gallery space, fully curated, promoted and invigilated by Sweet ‘Art along with our hosting of an opening party to remember! Two runners up were also be chosen by the panel and given the opportunity to exhibit a small selection of art work at the exhibition.
Visitors joined on the 29th July for our gallery closing arty party and celebrate with us and our winners! It was be an evening of art, Sweet ‘Art themed cocktails, performance, freebies and surprises and vagina cake!
About the winning artists:
“I’ve always found humour in the pseudoscience and misinformation that forms social narratives of femininity and illness. I play with the stereotypical association of feminine-coded crafts and ‘madness’, by using labour-intensive yet poorly executed sewing and construction techniques to create absurd, ironic or untrustworthy objects. It's this aesthetic of untrustworthiness that invites the viewer to critically interrogate and ridicule the social constructs examined by my work”.
Carys Reilly’s practice implies an invitation for us to continue the long lineage of women’s art and lives throughout history: in the forceful finding of meaning in the stunting personal and societal spaces we are placed in; in the purposely purposeless. A multi-medium artist, Reilly collects these baseless coordinates of femininity (i.e., pain; the colour pink, emotional/physical breakdowns; making and fixing up) and manifests them in each drawing, painting, photograph and sculpture. All mapped out, they are exposed as visual gibberish, the recurrence of these motifs only eluding meaning even more, as we once again forced to reclaim, reinterpret and rework these anti-tools of ‘femininity’ for our own feminine experiences and identities.
Mia Wilkinson’s paintings “have found their own loopy language”, with which Wilkinson articulates the energies of her feminine forms “with intense immediacy, whilst still embracing the particularities of the female flesh”. Wilkinson’s work focalises texture; she tells how the viscous, visceral paint layers, crafted by “applying wet on wet”, “[drip] from the nipples and nails and mouth and feet” of the feminine figures until you can almost taste their grotesque sensualities. Wilkinson charges her figures with the power of “reconfiguring the male gaze”, as the exaggerated, almost geometric contours of their bodies correspondingly contour the lines and dimensions of the piece as a whole and out to the canvas itself, curvaceously contradicting the rules of and boundaries between background and foreground, as well as between subject and artist.
Anna Guadagnini’s work can be emblemised by her two photographic portfolios. Her introduction to The Other Side of Joy quotes a Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PDD) web forum query: “If I am like this for two weeks a month, is that who I am?” This first portfolio welds the fragments of information and conversation surrounding women’s menstrual disorders like a tribute. Often relegated to the realms of feminine mystique, myth and exaggeration, thus left untreated, menstrual disorders and their symptoms are transposed into imagery and so too are their unshakable associations, into hyperfeminised, fairytale-like and heavily embellished motifs.
An expression of the entanglement of contradictions COVID-19 lockdowns brought us, in Back to Life, Anna Guadagnini “embrace[s] the isolation and loneliness we had all been forced to endure […] as an opportunity”. The bareness of the vacant and vast backgrounds of dilapidated structures only illuminates the vibrant, rich internal worlds Guadagnini curates for the photographs; their painfully beautiful nostalgia manifests in a confident fluorescence that feels both necessitated and emboldened by the backgrounds’ bleakness. Here, photography captures the unseen and impossible pandemic particularities of time running out and dragging on; of everything and nothingness.