Infinite intricacies woven into new art show

Meaghan Shelton has woven themes of handicraft, femininity and tradition into her new show 'Intricate Infinite' at the Gympie Regional Gallery.
Meaghan Shelton has woven themes of handicraft, femininity and tradition into her new show 'Intricate Infinite' at the Gympie Regional Gallery.

"A THREAD of hair and copper" artist Meaghan Shelton was once told.

"Are of the same width, but hair is stronger than copper."

Meaghan said she was given this bit of information during her hairdressing apprenticeship.

However, she shares this information with me in her other life as a successful 51-year-old multi-discipline artist commenting on a photo taken by herself: a portrait of a young girl with eyes poised on the sight of her fingers as she prepares to crochet long strands of her own copper-coloured hair. 

This artwork is part of the body of work that makes up her show 'Intricate Infinite', at Gympie Regional Gallery until August 12.

Meaghan describes the show as having roots in handicraft, and in this case crochet.

In much of the show's work she has replaced a paintbrush with a crochet hook to express the themes - including; unspoken female stories, defining moments in the feminine journey, the female in colonial times, domestic duties and craft traditions across generations - all of them territories within the intricate world of female experience.

"I was taught crochet by my mother," she says.

"And with that comes an unspoken knowledge passed from female elders to the younger generation."

The contemplative element of handicraft is also unfurled through the portrayal of complex, mind-stilling work in her installation of an antique lace collar found in a Gympie Art Shop and presented in an ornate French frame. It is positioned between two painting of the delicate collar.

In her show the crochet hook weaves a journey from hair and collar to the making of a sculptural piece -  The Overlay.

Instead of capturing the braid of hair, Meaghan has  crocheted fine strands of copper wire into an abstract torso.

She says the wire is soft and pliable, and claims that it is more forgiving than any thread.

Perhaps it is, but the range of works also suggests  the flexibility and inventiveness of womens's traditional craftwork activities  together  with the affect and consequences on those who practise such as art.

However, in the construction of what she calls a 'pivotal work', she has swapped the crochet hook for an oxy welder to produce 'The Diving Helmet'. A transparent piece alluding to the limitless possibilities of her themes. 

The show runs until August 

What Intricate Infinte

Who:  The solo art show is by Meaghan Shelton

Where: Gympie Regional Gallery

When: Runs until August 12

Topics:  arts gympie regional gallery

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