Our Lady: En Feu
The Mill Adelaide, SA
What would life be like if Jesus was a woman? And what if images of her burning had significance “beyond religious meaning”? What would that look like?
Our Lady: Flèche en Fue; Fôret en Fue (Notre Dame: Burning Spire; Burning Forest), a life size naked woman in a crucifix position with a solidarity fist and one arm turning into a tree, inspired by the fires of Notre Dame cathedral in April 2019.
Witnessing the spire of the cathedral burning, a Parisian bystander said it was significant beyond it’s religious meaning!. For me, seeing the colourful smoke and intense flames of the burning 12th century spire and wooden attic (affectionately called ‘The Forest’), it was a poignant metaphor for our lady, Mother Earth, burning with escalating climate change. And as I worked on the crucified figure I also began to wonder “what would life be like on earth if Jesus was a woman?”
This work commenced when I discovered a life size, naked, crucified female figure I’d painted in 2007, stored amongst filed drawings. I put it together and joined it to tyre tracks, painted during recent filming, and slowly I started adding pastel. Images of these beginning stages are attached. Throughout the drawing process the figure didn’t remain standing, instead her torso became disconnected from her legs. That is, in order to be able to work on the central part of the drawing I had to cut it in half and kept turning each half around. And in that process of turning and drawing, turning and drawing the tyre tracks disappeared and I ended up with a strangely satisfying composition of legs upside down on the top and torso with arms spread on the bottom. It’s confusing disconnectedness says more about the state of the anthropogenic world we live in than my words ever could. I’m confused by the hypocrisy, double standards and values of the West mainly. What is valued? Buildings? Religion? Women? Men? The earth? Everything and nothing.
Our Lady appears with pastel drawings of the Notre Dame fires, all individually framed by Tom Borgas, and others of the Bushfire, Australian Native Flowers series, and Chernobyl and Gaza as examples of a human population hellbent on destruction. The scale of these disasters are totally diminished by the enormity of what is happening to the world currently. The burning of an 800 year old church is almost trivial in the face of a man made pandemic that has irrevocably altered everything. This body of work is an invaluable memento of life as we know it that’s gone forever. It questions what humans actually respect and value, and the state of the anthropogenic world we live in.
Framed by Tom Borgas. Installation images by Morgan Sette, detail images by Alex Makeyev.