Inciting the Site of the Soul engages with the notion that our soul is in our skin, so to perceive the world through the sense of touch affords us a more holistic experience of life, and of art. I have explored this idea, put forward by the philosopher Michel Serres, through an investigation of the tactility of textiles, the relationship of textiles to skin, and the role of touch in contemporary art. My aim has been to create sculptural objects that entice an audience to touch and in so doing to experience them more fully. The importance of skin to perception influenced my decision to work principally with horsehair, a product of skin, to create metaphorical connections between textiles and skin through the creation of horsehair fabrics. My research extends the use of this unique and little-used fibre to create threaded textiles with animalistic, highly textured topographies whose tactile potential is expanded by contrasting them with other materials such as bronze, and through their activation in concert with music and dance. I have used performance as a tool to overcome people’s reticence to touch art, to demonstrate the robustness of the works and most importantly, to convey the joy to be experienced when art can be touched. In this exhibition the viewer is encouraged to become a participant, to touch the works in order to experience their texture and form and temperature, and to feel the delight that is possible when one engages with art, and indeed life, through the sense of touch.
Jane Théau is a multidisciplinary artist who creates sculptures, life-sized lace drawings and woven textiles, extending these works into the performance space in collaboration with dancers, puppeteers and musicians. She facilitates long-term community art projects in Sydney, and her curatorial projects include Y Fibre, www.w, Imag(in)ing), and the series of performance art events, Art That Moves. Théau has won the Rookwood Cemetery Sculpture Award, the Grace Cossington Smith Early Career Artist Award, the Australian Design Centre Award and artist residencies at Bundanon, Hill End and Textilsetur in Iceland. She has been a finalist in numerous exhibitions including the Black Swan Portrait Prize, the International Lace Award and the Woollahra Small Sculpture Award. Théau has a Master of International Affairs from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Applied Science from UTS Sydney.
This exhibition is free and open to the public during Gallery hours; Tuesday to Friday 10.30AM – 3.00PM