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Bodiness: call and response

The Mill Adelaide, Adelaide SA
May - July 2022


Bodiness: call and response is a collaboration between painter Kirsty Martinsen and dancer Erin Fowler. The exhibition further develops ideas begun in 2016 when Kirsty collaborated with NY-based theatre maker Erwin Maas creating a work based on the experience of ‘otherness’ as a disabled woman.

The exhibition is part retrospective, including works spanning a 21 year period, alongside new works and works in progress. This significant exhibition follows the evolution of Kirsty’s practice, from large format drawings and paintings through to recent smaller scale works and a new work to be created in situ with Kirsty using her wheelchair as a tool to draw across a working surface on the floor.

We also welcome award winning theatre-maker, dancer and singer Erin Fowler to collaborate with Kirsty in a ‘Call and Response’ performance that extends the relationship between the body, movement and gesture as explored through Kirsty’s ourve. Erin was a Co-Founder of The Mill, she and Kirsty have had a long term creative relationship since connecting here back in 2014.

Artist Statement:

“That tangle of limited surrender/ Is the human mire. We’re sodden in bodiness.” - Rumi, The Ground’s Generosity

People say to me ‘you are so much more than your body!’ What does that even mean, nay look like? Living with MS has taken an emotional & psychological toll, but all people see is the physical, the body. I feel like I’ve lost who I am in a chasm of loss and grief and bureaucracy. I have had to fight to keep my spirit alive. We are all much more than our flesh. My work seeks to explore the ways in which difference is a site for connection, the body is a site for potential, and process is a site for emotional/psychological/ spiritual exploration.

My work invites audiences to consider process, gesture, scale, materiality, movement, and collaboration. Through this exploration myself and Erin will be responding to these aspects in each other’s work and locating intersections of commonality. Erin’s rich spiritual practice contributes to a dialogue about body, spirit and notions of ‘self’ which echo my exploration of Bodiness.

Artists Biographies:

Kirsty Martinsen has had a studio at The Mill since 2014. Her practice is predominantly drawing and painting, and recently as a Writer/Director of the short documentary, Limited Surrender, with SBS and SA Film Corporation. She has a BA Visual Art from SA School of Art (UniSA) and Dip. Painting from New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting and Sculpture, has exhibited in USA, Australia and Amsterdam, and is the recipient of awards from Richard Llewellyn Arts and Disability Trust, Arts SA, AGNSW and NY Studio School. Her short film, Breathe, won the Mercedes Matter/Ambassador Middendorf Award at X Marks The Spot: Women of The NY Studio School, the 2018 Alumni show. She teaches drawing and enjoys watching clouds.

View short film documentary about Kirsty’s practice via SBS On Demand: Limited Surrender



Erin Fowler is an award-winning Australian artist and producer working across dance, music, film, cabaret and theatre. As a performer, Erin blends together an eclectic mix of contemporary dance, feminine movement, clowning, cabaret and martial arts. Erin’s choreographic work includes solo works EGG (2021, Weekly Best Dance Award, Best Dance Hollywood Fringe, 2022 NZ Tour Ready Award), and FEMME, (2019 Adelaide Fringe - Best Dance Award, 2020 Adelaide Fringe – Made in Adelaide award). Other works include Gen-y (2018) commissioned for the Adelaide Dance Festival; Epoch (2016) created on Australian Dance Theatre for their Ignition season; and the acclaimed environmental dance film, Gaia (2014, 'Best Experimental' London Film Awards and Byron Bay Film Festival). Erin is a certified teacher of Qoya - a holistic movement practice for women, and is also the Co-Founder and previous Artistic Director of Adelaide arts organisation and studio, The Mill. Erin is also the founder of The Gaia Movement - a non-for-profit platform for people around the world to collectively make lasting, positive impact for the planet and climate change, through global schools’programs, tree planting, and arts projects.

All works photographed by Alex Makeyev.

There’s something distinctly uncomfortable about this drawing. A seated figure in a

yoga pose with outstretched arms, touching the Code Red border just enough to stop it from

collapsing in.


The third in the series of large drawings from the recent Bodiness: call and response collaboration with dancer Erin Fowler, Gaia 2022 affirms how vital feminine energy is to all life. But it’s more than that. This drawing reflects the very uncomfortable truth about the role humans play in the climate crisis currently unfolding on the planet. It is on humans shoulders to restore equilibrium, to realise at a deep level our fundamental kinship with all living beings.


Like Artist John Olsen said “I’m in the landscape and the landscape is in me”. There is no division. Sky above and earth below

are connected by a body as metaphor for the symbiotic relationships inherent to the health of all beings on planet earth.

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