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Feminism and the home in Steph Markerink’s Domesticated

Union House’s George Paton Gallery (GPG) is currently home—in the truest sense of the word—to curator Steph Markerink’s exhibition Domesticated.

Union House’s George Paton Gallery (GPG) is currently home—in the truest sense of the word—to curator Steph Markerink’s exhibition Domesticated.

Upon entering, there are warm lights, a bed, an armchair, a laden kitchen table, and gentle music: a scene of almost overwhelming domesticity.

But after a few moments, the initial wave of homeliness is replaced by a deeper political undercurrent.

The exhibiting artists’ traditionally feminine mediums of embroidery, ceramic, fibre, and fabric emerge as fine art, exploring the intersections between domesticity and feminism, and performing home.

There is a sewn together underwear chandelier, and next to it, ceramic and crocheted nipples. There is renaissance style embroidery, and next to it, vials bottling the scents of home.

Image provided by Rebecca Reubenicht.

Domesticated interrogates the complexity of domestic spaces and their connection to a woman’s identity,” said Markerink.

“The home can be both a haven and a prison, offering comfort and also restriction.”

This dualism is at the forefront of Caitlin Aloisio Shearer’s hazy, pastel paintings of furniture and the female.

“[T]he word Domesticated carries a particular weight,” said Aloisio Shearer.

“At the moment, the word speaks to me of an ultimate interiority. Homeward bound. Very much Inside.”

“I have situated these paintings within four walls at all times to capture a feeling of being hemmed in… [a] semblance of resilience and a benign sort of palatable sweetness are squashed in there too.”

Markerink’s exhibition also pays homage to the Gallery’s history as a space of creative autonomy—a home—for women artists.

“With a few cheeky odes to some of the great feminist powerhouses that have exhibited before us, Domesticated farewells the GPG and acknowledges its significant contribution to Australian feminist history,” said Markerink.

“You are invited to become a part of that history. Enjoy the space, sit with the artworks, learn about the brave women before you, and consider how your relationship to your home has informed who you are.”

Domesticated features the artworks of Bella Froebel, Ebony Hoiberg, Maddie Mo, Emily King, and Caitlin Aloisio Shearer.

The exhibition is showing from 9-18 March at the George Paton Gallery on Level 2 of Union House 11am-5pm Monday-Friday.

There will be an exhibition closing event on 17 March 5pm-7pm.

You can find more information about the exhibition on Facebook and on the UMSU Website.

Farrago's magazine cover - Edition Three 2021


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