Pub­lic works

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Film -

Kite-Like (2011). La Trobe Univer­sity Art Col­lec­tion. Pur­chased 2011. On dis­play, La Trobe Univer­sity li­brary, Bun­doora cam­pus, Mel­bourne.

IN her first solo ex­hi­bi­tion in 1967, Vivi­enne Binns ex­hib­ited paint­ings such as Phal­lic Mon­u­ment and Vag Dens, which pushed the lim­its of ac­cept­abil­ity by de­pict­ing male and fe­male sex or­gans.

Her provoca­tive works, at Syd­ney’s Wat­ters Gallery, re­sulted in a bar­rage of at­tacks from scan­dalised art crit­ics, and such was the back­lash that im­me­di­ately af­ter the ex­hi­bi­tion Binns gave up paint­ing for nearly 20 years.

In that con­tro­ver­sial ex­hi­bi­tion, Binns be­came one of the first fe­male artists in Aus­tralia to ad­dress the is­sue of sex­u­al­ity from a fem­i­nist per­spec­tive. In an in­ter­view in 1975, she ex­plained that while the ex­hi­bi­tion con­vinced her that she wanted to be an artist, it also made her phys­i­cally ex­hausted and emo­tion­ally drained. Hav­ing given up paint­ing, Binns turned to work­ing in enam­elling, and be­came a pi­o­neer of com­mu­nity arts. Her best-known com­mu­nity arts projects in­cluded the ground­break­ing Mothers’ Mem­o­ries, Oth­ers’ Mem­o­ries (1979-81), in which, through the use of fam­ily al­bums, needle­work, knit­ting and other arte­facts, she doc­u­mented the per­sonal his­to­ries of women, first at the Univer­sity of NSW, then in the west­ern Syd­ney sub­urb of Black­town.

An­other of her com­mu­nity projects was Full Flight (1981-83), when she lived in a car­a­van for two years trav­el­ling around cen­tral west­ern NSW.

Binns, who was born in 1940 and stud­ied at Syd­ney’s Na­tional Art School, has of­ten said she be­lieves there is no sep­a­ra­tion be­tween life and art; art is im­mersed in or­di­nary things.

In 1984 Binns started paint­ing again and one of her more re­cent paint­ings, Kite-Like, is on dis­play in the li­brary on the Bun­doora cam­pus of Mel­bourne’s La Trobe Univer­sity.

Kite-Like is a ref­er­ence to Mike Brown’s no­to­ri­ous 1964 paint­ing The Kite, which ag­gres­sively crit­i­cised the Syd­ney art world and 12 of its artists for com­mer­cial­i­sa­tion.

Dur­ing the 1960s, Binns had been im-

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.