80 Ways, 2018
Text by Kate Meakin can be found at recess.net.au
Installation view in A treasured private notebook
Ella Sowinska and Thea Jones
Metro Arts, Brisbane
27 February 2019 – 16 March 2019
Photography: Louis Lim
A treasured private notebook responds to Ella Sowinska, and Thea Jones’ shared childhood experience of discovering the secret writing practices of their mothers.
Both Sowinska and Jones actively engage with their mother’s creative practices for this exhibition. Sowinska’s film, 80 Ways, is an observational video work documenting the on-set collaboration between the artist and her mother as they work together to dramatise a chapter of Sowinska’s mother’s erotic novel, written under the pseudonym Sandy Mayflower. Jones’ new work is a large scale textile installation responding to an essay written by her mother. In 2017, Jones approached her mother to write an essay to accompany a work exploring nostalgia as a coping mechanism for trauma. Hoping for a scathing review of family farm dynamics and conservative racist rural politics, she instead received a touching story about death, loss, and the function of nostalgia. This new work is hand embroidered with an excerpt of text from her mother’s essay, as well as the motif of the Paterson’s Curse invasive weed. Paterson’s Curse covers the landscape surrounding Thea’s mother’s childhood home with a blanket of purple flowers. It has been an ongoing theme in Jones’s recent works as a representational motif for European colonisation, and a subsequent critical investigation and deconstruction of her own role in this as a white woman.
View the digital catalogue here