In conversations across time, the multi-disciplinary works of mother and daughter Heather and Kate Dorrough explore the nexus between the arts and crafts movements, female creative lineage, body and landscape, river and fertility, and environmental issues and activism. This dynamic contemporary exhibition encompasses fibre art, paintings, prints, ceramics, sculpture and video.
Drawing on the Hawkesbury River landscape over the last 20 years of her life from where she lived on Dangar Island, Heather Dorrough (1933 – 2018) created a large body of prints and paintings, seen together for the first time at MAG&M. The exhibition includes her earlier fabric hangings and low relief sculptures that were her most significant works and heralded the shift at the time from a craft-based tradition to the arts, 1970s to 1980s. Originally trained as an Interior Designer, she worked in London and New York before arriving in Australia in 1962 and began making fabric and fibre works after the birth of daughter Kate. She developed her own techniques with machine embroidery, painting with dyes, and sculptural use of fabric. With work represented in the National, State and Regional Gallery collections including significant public commissions.
The practice of Sydney-based artist Kate Dorrough (b.1964) sustains a conversation between paint and clay, launching an inquiry into the interplay and tension between the gestural mark and the hand built ceramic form. The artist's recent work explores the River as metaphor, bestowal of fertility with a cyclicality of renewal and destruction. Her painterly gestural marks evoke totemic symbols and an inferred language of an enduring landscape. Dorrough’s work as a painter and ceramicist has led to an extensive career exhibiting work at leading galleries in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Canberra, as well as a number of residencies and prizes. In this exhibition her work will directly respond to her mother’s, creating a dialogue and an interplay exploring memory and the personal in recognition of her mother as mentor.
The exhibition will launch a timely book on Heather's extensive career spanning sixty years. Including essays by art writers and curators, Christine France, Julie Ewington, Dr Peter Emmett, and Anne Brennan.