Backwoods Gallery
More than a gallery

Exhibition

Backwoods Gallery exhibit work by artists who have a background in street art and illustration, and provide a space for artists to present their work, on their own terms, without limitations.

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In My Room by Helen Gory


  • Backwoods Gallery 25 Easey Street Collingwood, VIC, 3066 Australia (map)

Exhibition Essay

"Mother says there are locked rooms inside all women; kitchen of lust, bedroom of grief, bathroom of apathy." 

– from 'The House' by Warsan Shire

In My Room is the telling title of Helen Gory's newest body of works - at once an invitation and a provocation. Strongly symbolist in nature and style, she has created a blueprint that challenges the viewer to encroach on her personal space; both as audience and interrogator.

Gilt-laden images are scratched into the paper, challenging its singular appearance. I am reminded of Austrian-born artist Gustav Klimt, who once said something like 'art is a line around your thoughts'. This idea resonates throughout Gory's works, which are at once deeply personal and universal. Draw a line; make a point; take a stand; risk something.

Gory's oil-stick women delve backwards into unrevealed pockets of spaces, memories compartmentalised into separate 'rooms'. Her challenge - and ours - is to slowly, carefully unpack these subtle chimeras; expose their interior to the outer world. Woman with Leaf speaks loudest without uttering a word. Verging on naïve, these night-shade women hover between darkness and illumination. Their talisman tools may well be props; striking a pose that both regales and invites us inside. 

– Vicki Finkelstein, Art Curator

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Helen Gory’s art pivots upon its connections. Its power lies in its links. Her images seem to unspool and reveal an almost filmic flow of associations. Golden Repair, the title of her solo exhibition refers to the Japanese procedure of Kintsugi – a process that brings together and reconnects fragments of that which was once whole; it is, in essence, an embrace of imperfection. For Gory, the procedure stands as an analogy of the honest acceptance of often overlooked and almost forgotten aspects of her inner self.
— Ken Wach, Associate Professor and former Principal Research Fellow and Head of the School of Creative Arts at The University of Melbourne
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Helen Gory

Helen Gory opened her own contemporary commercial art gallery in 1995. Helen Gory Galerie was a pioneer in supporting emerging practitioners, many of whom have gone on to become Australia's leading visual artists. In 2008, Gory closed her gallery to pursue a long-unfulfilled desire to make art.

Gory's work is best described as visual stories where humour and joy sit side-by-side with the shadows that they cast. She is concerned with uncovering what is hidden, with the act of revelation. Through the repeated motifs of fragmented body parts, women, and elements of the natural world, her often-surreal images speak of desire, longing, angst and the power of transformation.

Gory works across various medium to construct these visual narratives. Her first primary medium, collage, allows her to deconstruct, fragment, (dis)connect and reassemble, the process of creation a metaphor for the complexity and layering of human experience. More recently, Gory has segued from collage to painting and drawing. Using oil stick, graphite and charcoal in scribbling and scratching-like motions, she adds/removes layers in a repetitive act of mark-making that is intrinsic to the interior world she is revealing. 

Earlier Event: July 6
Utopia by Adam Kinninmont
Later Event: August 10
Fresh Blood group show