Leo Coyte, Noel McKenna, Anna Peters, Elizabeth Reidy, Matthew Tumbers, What, Simon Yates
co-ordinated by Mitch Cairns
They lived alone, their quiet solitude was their signature. The majority of their early years had been spent living in an abandoned boarding house - miles from anywhere, a seemingly dreary old place, a place where they found absolute refuge beyond the damp scaly walls of the house in the warm dappled light of the garden. Rumour has it that when they first met she was seventeen and he eighteen and it was at this time that their playful adventures in the garden gradually developed into a strange unearthly affair. You see she was particularly ensconced in the humble habitation of the beetroot, and he was every bit as preoccupied in simply watching her. The days passed and they spent hours in the garden with the dizzying flies and carolling magpies, he patiently watched her as she busily tended to her work, whispering as her little seeds grew. They both loved the way the beets looked as they grew and stretched themselves out of the earth. The wild leafy green tassel that she called their ponytail, leading down to their bloody foreheads. Dirty wrinkled skin teasing with only a shadowy glimpse of that lurid crimson core. As they grew she stroked their bloody foreheads, moving slowly with her fingertips around the edge of where each beet met the garden bed, she invited him to join her, he followed. Going around and round walking their fingers, closing their eyes and lifting their faces to the warm sun-lit sky. Together, they would let their thoughts wander. It was as though they were circling the earth and sometimes they would travel around all of the beets in the garden, the earth and all of her neighbouring planets, in-fact sometimes they’d traverse the entire universe. The pair never seemed to tire of the garden – their ritual. The magpies that lived in the garden never seemed to tire of them either, watching and growing with them for many years. In the early years they’d appear furtive and watched from the safety of the branches hanging above. Often skirting about the edges of the garden until eventually it became easy enough to just sidle-up close and surround them, sometimes silent and at other times like little drunken minstrels they’d sing and the pair would dance.
Kylie Banyard January 2012
Mathew Tumbers / Leo Coyte
Shed That Skin
Kate Just ( Melb )
Shed That Skin is a new work for MOP, inspired by paintings I recently sighted in Europe by Van der Goes, Michelangelo, Hieronymous Bosch and Tiepolo which image the serpent tempting Eve (Adam is generally sort of hanging around nearby) with fruits from the Tree of Knowledge. Biblical descriptions and these paintings portray the serpent as a beautiful woman on the top and a snake on the bottom. Her face tilts towards Eve in sisterhood or slight sexual provocation; sometimes her hands and expression mirror Eve’s. This early story and centuries of its retelling marks snakes as dark, evil creatures and women as conniving, easily tempted, untrustworthy and dumb. I was inspired to knit that burdensome skin, and let both creatures shed it. Hand knitted and sewn over four months in a synthetic gold and black metallic thread that looks like chain-mail/armour, the glittery skin lies on the ground, its long tail travelling across the floor, eventually swirling upward around a knobby, glossy black tree trunk. Both beautiful and repulsive, the long gash from breast to pelvis marks the body’s exit point.