The Contemporary Art Society of Victoria Inc. presents ...
Woman Depleted by GRAZIA MARIN
works in textiles and mixed media
in the Budgeon’s display case, foyer Richmond Library
415 Church Street, Richmond
29 November 2022 to 19 February 2023
Reporter: Mark Minty
Self-described activist artist Grazia Marin’s current exhibition, Woman Depleted, displayed in The Budgeon’s Case in the foyer of Richmond Library, is a striking presentation by one woman articulating some concealed realities for countless women enduring the pandemic of violence, injustice and just plain ignorance we all know exists, but perhaps find hard to acknowledge. Grazia is a learned individual, whose professional life has encompassed a wealth of experiences and is also an advocate for change, here using a well-informed approach to activist art powerfully.
Grazia Marin’s display in the Budgeons Case at Richmond Library
These beautiful, well- designed pieces are made using predominantly found or recycled textiles and objects, proficiently crafted into what appears to be innocuous, decorative works - but this is where the narrative changes. Be prepared to be challenged, confused or maybe even repelled by this work.
“Under the Cartels” is a strong statement about the drug cartels of Central and South America, predominantly male dominated, illegal but unshackled coalitions of evil.
The cartels are represented by a circle of dark coloured male neck-ties surrounding and seeming to devour a Barbie doll (strangely now a global symbol of womanhood), dramatically alluding to the fate of so many girls and women who are trapped by fear - countless of whom are murdered and their stories lost to the future.
Under the Cartels, textile with manufactured doll on round canvas, 42 x 13 cm, by Grazia Marin
“Buttoned Down” is, at first glimpse, a pretty textile sculpture - made of appealing soft materials and fabric which is beautifully designed and made. This, however, is the work of Grazia Marin we are viewing and there’s an important message, communicated skilfully.
The title is unassuming yet, despite this, Grazia states that the artwork is “shaped to resemble stylised female genitalia” – be aware, there is no question this work portrays a woman’s genitalia! This piece is about the control of women’s sexuality - by men, we can assume - simply but brilliantly symbolised by a strap of dark velvet ribbon held in place by two buttons sewn into the body of the work. A stunning work and the most powerful of the three exhibited. It is confronting visually and contextually but one which must be viewed with an open and educated mind.
Button Down, textile on round canvas, 42 x 13 cm, by Grazia Marin
“Mother/Father” is a "statement about single parents”, a narrative, I concluded, to be found in Grazia’s own story. Traditionally, to be both mother and father to children is a special responsibility, an undertaking thankfully less stigmatised now but still no less important. I feel the artist has invited us, the viewer, into a very personal and intimate place and I was very drawn to this work for that reason.
Mother/Father, textiles, variable dimensions, by Grazia Marin
The top half of the work consists of one of the artist’s mother’s own dresses – symbolising the nurturing, loving and caring roles of parenting, the lower half is a skirt made of found men’s ties - not described as her father’s ties - perhaps representing the financial, working, task-oriented roles of a parent. I would like to see this piece hanging, as I assume it was intended, not lying-in-state, but maybe this presentation made the work more poignant. A touching and special offering from the artist.
View of Grazia Marin’s work, Mother/Father, at Richmond Library
Whilst the pieces speak of the experiences of women they clearly communicate to both women and men.