Thursday, February 22, 2018
ADV---SAM

The meaning of softness to show at SAM

David Lee January 25, 2018
NEW EXHIBITION AT SAM… Patricia Piccinini’s work titled Foundling, which is one of the pieces that will be on display as part of the upcoming ‘Soft Core’ exhibition at the Shepparton Art Museum. Photo: Supplied.

NEW EXHIBITION AT SAM… Patricia Piccinini’s work titled Foundling, which is one of the pieces that will be on display as part of the upcoming ‘Soft Core’ exhibition at the Shepparton Art Museum. Photo: Supplied.

AN EXHIBITION of newly commissioned and recent work by 12 Australian and international artists whose work questions the fluctuating meaning of softness will be on show when Soft Core comes to the Shepparton Art Museum (SAM).

Running from January 27 to March 18, Soft Core presents artistic practices that explore the many facets of ‘softness,’ from large-scale inflatables to forms made from soft materials to materials that simply look soft.

The materials in the exhibition encompass air, inflatable nylon, unfired clay and plastics bags, materials that have been co-opted for their versatility and their mutability between function and emotion. Some of the works require activation such as electricity or inflation to become whole while others inhabit their softness quietly.

SAM director, Dr Rebecca Coates sees the fun, provocative and inspiring nature of this exhibition as a good fit for Shepparton audiences.

“Shepparton has a strong representation of groups who use and make textiles, from quilting, to weaving, to local Afghani embroiderers,” Dr Coates said.

“There is a connection between this exhibition and SAM’s significant collection of Australian ceramics. Prior to firing, clay is of course a soft material, one that engages through its sheer tactility, and malleable potentiality. That’s in part why there has been an upsurge in the popularity of ceramics. Soft Core builds on the work we have done around contemporary artists engaging with these materials in a contemporary way.

“The show features work by leading Australian artists who have built a reputation in part based on materiality – Kathy Temin with her fake fur and soft environments; Mikala Dwyer with her pantyhose, oversized plastic sculptures, which are actually made from the material that you use for coke bottles; and Louise Weaver with her crocheted animals, objects and installations that intrigue visitors with whimsy and wonder.”