Artist Profile

RAQUEL ORMELLA

WHAT CAN VISITORS EXPECT FROM YOUR UPCOMING Shepparton Art Museum national tour?

This survey draws on work from a twenty-year period, though the majority have been made in the last six to seven years, but it includes key works such as the drawings on whiteboards I made in 2008, ‘Wild Rivers: Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney’. There are two new works; one is City Without Crows, a performance that I’m reworking into an installation, video and drawings; the other is All these small intensities, a series of small hand-stitched embroidered works, which are now a 3-D installation.

Is your changing scale determined by your ideas or other factors?

It’s definitely to do with the idea, partly with the labour involved, and studio size. I was 2016 artist-in residence at Artspace (Sydney); the studio there is so huge. I didn’t think of the works as particularly large … I’ve made big textile works before, I didn’t think ‘I need to get bigger’. Now, unpacking them in smaller spaces, I think ‘OMG, these are really big works’. Making something 1.2m, it’s not much different from 2m when you are sewing on a machine. But making something hand-size, my labour changes, by stitching the work a 15 x 10 cm work can take two weeks. If I then increase the scale a little it can take almost twice as long. So the labour shift is much stronger in the small works.

Has your point of view in media changed?

I guess there are differences. Working (2003), the way the re-enactment framed the policewoman Debbie’s (Wallace) body and therefore Anita’s (Cobby) body was really startling. Anita’s body was framed by the cutting off of her legs and torso, and this chasing-behind view. This view produced a very visceral reaction in those who knew Anita, they found this view very distressing; it made Anita a consumed body.

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