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Exhibition:

"Common Scold"
Naomi Blacklock & Anastasia Booth
Curated by: Amy-Clare McCarthy and Kieran Swann

Opening: Wednesday 17 January, 6–8pm
Dates: 17 January — 10 February 2018

In the common law of crime in England and Wales of the 1500s (and as recently as the 1960s), women deemed to be ‘quarrelsome’ were secured in iron muzzles, or bridles, which inhibited the tongue.

Considered a preventative measure, women were forced to wear these in public and led through the town. At different times a punishment for women accused of gossiping, inciting riots, and accused of witchcraft, the device was used for centuries to punish, humiliate, and silence women.

Here combining their sonic and installation practices, artists Naomi Blacklock and Anastasia Booth draw on their shared investigations into the feminine body, the archetype of the witch, and the history of these devices - utilising ritual, the body, and other materials to consider the possibilities of agency and rebellion even when the tongue has been silenced.

Naomi Blacklock is a Brisbane based artist who has exhibited both nationally and internationally. Working primarily with sound installation, text works and performance, her artworks involve an exploration and examination of mythologies regarding the witch archetype and harmful histories of gender and cultural identity. She is PhD Candidate and Co-director of Brisbane’s ARI, CLUTCH Collective.

Her practice addresses the political and creative significance of the witch archetype as an emancipatory symbol for alterity in contemporary art. She is concerned with representations of the ‘witch’ as characterised by legal, religious and social institutions and the operation of this term by cultural minorities and LGBTQIA communities. The practice is based on ritualised sound and performance art as a way to amplify the body and the voice through performative bodily precision and aural screaming. Conjured-self apparitions and the female scream are themes indoctrinated within the performance works by adopting ritual, alterity and the figure of the witch as methods of experimentation. Her recent works address the significance of disruptive feminist voices and reimagine's intersectional identities through the figure of the ‘witch’ as Other.

Anastasia Booth works across sculpture, moving image, photography and installation. Booth interrogates spaces of female desire in cultural production and symbolic discourse by employing strategies of subversion, abstraction and appropriation. Her practice draws influence from contemporary subcultures, art history and the convergence of fetishism and desire in classical mythology. By reconstructing these visual codes through her practice, Booth speaks to the problematic and often paradoxical relationship between depictions of the feminine and agency.

Booth's artwork has been exhibited nationally, including projects at the University of Queensland Art Museum (Brisbane), Australian Experimental Art Foundation (Adelaide), Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), Screen Space (Melbourne), Boxcopy Contemporary Artspace (2015) and was artist in residence at Metro Arts (2017). She has been a recipient of the Dorothy Birt Memorial Prize (2016) and an Australian Postgraduate Award (2014). In 2017 Anastasia received her Doctorate of Philosophy from Queensland University of Technology for her thesis Playing with Me: Feminine Perspectives in Fetishism and Contemporary Art.

This is the curatorial collaboration of Amy-Clare McCarthy and Kieran Swann. We create moments of connection; between artists, audiences, communities, individuals. We do this by supporting contemporary artists to make ambitious new work; explore the possibilities of new contexts; foster exchange; and embrace shared experiences. We value generosity, vitality, and the compelling, and working with artists and audiences to fold our understanding of what is possible into new shapes.

McCarthy-Swann Projects have exhibited NETHERWORLDS at Firstdraft Gallery, The Walls, and Seventh Gallery; and Light/Air, a pairing of work for public space, in partnership with Brisbane City Council. mccarthyswann.com

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