Adrienne Doig

Currently showing at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery is ‘Adrienne Doig: It’s All About Me!’, a comprehensive exhibition surveying three decades of the Blue Mountains-based artist’s practice. Curated by Emma Collerton, the presentation has been incubating since 2013. Early works such as Doig’s first embroidery created in 1989 and her performance video works from the mid 1990s are presented alongside and recent work chronicling life in isolation, including the domestic interiors of Picture Me (2020), which posits the pleasures of home in our ‘iso times’. ‘In a year of great disruption, this exhibition brings joy, humour, and colour to our gallery walls’, comments Sarah Gurich, Director of Bathurst Regional Art Gallery.

The exhibition reveals an artist with a singular yet evolving vision – renewing, refreshing and reinvigorating the classic genre of self-portraiture for the twenty-first century. Beneath the humour and whimsical self-depreciation, her portraits function as profound fossilisations of the very human here and now. In her ‘Look Out!’ series (2015), the artist confronted the reality of environmental devastation and the possibility of an apocalyptic future, painting passages onto scraps of fabric suggestive of the changing bush landscape that surrounds her home in the Blue Mountains. Following the 2019/20 bushfires, this series proved somewhat prophetic. Later, in 2018’s Extra, she interposes her daily life chores and pleasures into the maelstrom of war that is the Bayeux Tapestry from the eleventh century. Earlier works respond to residencies and experiences overseas, such as Monster (1996) from New York, Domestic Drama from Vienna and AD in Arcadia Ego (2012) from Paris. Doig’s recent series ‘Dolled Up’ (2020) shows an artist pushing the established hierarchies of ‘art’. She explains, ‘My work with dolls is not viewed in the same way as a painting would be. I get the feeling it is seen as too crafty, too girly, not serious enough, but I want to use this as a strategy to question those hierarchies of art-making. I look around and see artists making really macho paintings that are highly revered. So, I am trying to playfully question all of this as well.’

Through the lens of self-portraiture, Adrienne Doig tackles the everyday with humour and wit, employing historical references to reflect on contemporary times. Working across a variety of media, including embroidery, applique, sculpture and video, she probes intimate aspects of her own life, from having a cup of tea to performing domestic tasks. Yet these ‘portraits’ are far from narrow, their playful narcissism layering universal themes laden with social, environmental and political narratives. By manipulating, reworking and combining imagery from multiple sources, Doig records her own experiences within a larger context, crafting her protagonist as a stand-in for us all. ‘Self-portraits provide the perfect forum for me to have a conversation with the viewer’, says Doig, ‘It seems to be a particularly ego-driven enterprise to endlessly make art about myself. In the social-media age of self-promotion, I want to show that this can be more than self-aggrandisement. I hope using humour and appealing to the viewer in a familiar way will allow them to see themselves as well.’

‘It’s All About Me!’ will tour to venues in Wangaratta, Tamworth, Blue Mountains, and Cowra over the next few years.

Adrienne Doig: It’s All About Me!
12 December 2020 – 14 February 2021
Bathurst Regional Art Gallery, NSW

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