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Judy Watson & Helen Johnson: the red thread of history, loose ends

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Judy Watson & Helen Johnson: the red thread of history, loose ends

10 Sep 2022 – 12 Nov 2022

Judy Watson & Helen Johnson: the red thread of history, loose ends is an opportunity to experience the work of two leading Australian artists in an exhibition that explores complex and varied perspectives on colonisation, with an emphasis on the experience of women.

Watson, a Waanyi woman, based on Jagera/Yuggera and Turrbal Country of Meanjin/Brisbane and Johnson, a second-generation immigrant of Anglo descent based on Wurundjeri Woiwurrung Country in Naarm/Melbourne, have each developed new works that speak from their individual and Ancestral cultural experiences living in Australia. Originally commissioned by the National Gallery of Australia for the Know My Name program, and as part of the Balnaves Contemporary Series, at MUMA this exhibition is brought together with existing works by each artist that explore the significance of family and motherhood, the importance of matrilineal lineage, and the tensions between individualism and connectedness.

While the red thread of history, loose ends brings disparate histories and subject positions into proximity, it also celebrates the artists’ shared love of materiality. Watson and Johnson engage with the cultural and political significance of image and mark making, with both addressing the relationship between layering and memory, body and material. Working primarily across painting and printmaking, their works individually and in conversation draw on colonial archives, reclaiming female experiences and perspectives. Both artists acknowledge the ongoing nature and legacies of colonialism and the importance of making change.

At MUMA Judy Watson & Helen Johnson: the red thread of history, loose ends is accompanied by Judy Watson’s recent publication skullduggery (2020) and a new artist’s book by Helen Johnson made with MUMA and Negative Press.

Judy Watson is represented by Milani Gallery, Brisbane; Tolarno Gallery, Melbourne; and published by grahame galleries + editions, Brisbane.
Helen Johnson is represented by Sutton Gallery, Melbourne; Pilar Corrias, London; and Château Shatto, Los Angeles.

Judy Watson & Helen Johnson: the red thread of history, loose ends is a Know My Name project and part of The Balnaves Contemporary Series.


Image: Artists Helen Johnson and Judy Watson, Waanyi people in Judy Watson & Helen Johnson: the red thread of history, loose ends at the National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri/Canberra, 2022. Courtesy of NGA.

Gallery Details

Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA)
Ground Floor, Building F
Monash University 
Caulfield Campus
900 Dandenong Road 
Caulfield East VIC 3145
T: 03 9905 4217
E: 
muma@monash.edu
W: monash.edu.au/muma

Opening Hours
Tuesday - Friday: 10am - 5pm
Saturday: 12pm – 5pm

Entry is Free

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Gallery Info

The Public Galleries Association of Victoria (PGAV) acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi-Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the lands where our office is located, and all Traditional Owners of country throughout Victoria and Australia. We recognise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples enduring traditions and continuing creative cultures. We pay our respect to Elders past, present and emerging.