The Lost Gloves
A body of work in three parts by Australian artist, Christine Porter created in response to her 2007 McGregor Fellowship trip to England and Scotland. The three works were exhibited at The Toowoomba Regional Gallery January 2008 and in another form at the Tweed Regional Gallery later that year.
The carelessness of exile : A series of acrylic paintings, 21 x 27 cm on board, the subject being images of the “lost” gloves Christine “found” on her travels. Exhibited at the Toowoomba Regional Gallery January 2008 ( lost glove paintings, British breeds painting series, Walking the Roman Wall etchings)
The narrative of incomplete assimilation: A series of cast bronze sculptures, describing the long term implications of the moment of decision making. Exhibited Tweed Regional Gallery with lost glove paintings and site specific installation.
“Not near related but related all the same” : Site-specific installation in the McNaughton Gallery at Tweed Regional Gallery comprising perspex boxes fitted into the tall window spaces filled with of a collection of “lost” or discarded gloves.
I travelled on a University of Southern Queensland fellowship in 2007, to England, Scotland and Ireland. This exhibition of new work is a result of how the ideas of colonisation, exile and belonging informed the journey that found me placed where my ancestors had been re-placed from. Amongst other things, as I travelled through that winter-tinged land, I noticed a number of single, lost gloves caught in the eddies of time and place: their forlorn, orphaned state suggesting inevitably the other, absent twin and as they lay there, holding some shape still of the hand that had worn them: tangible evidence of a life lived before. Christine Porter, Lismore 2008
the carelessness of exile, 2007
If gloves speak of home; those happy well matched families of fashion or protection – then lost gloves speak of that home’s loss: the state of not belonging experienced by the exiled and the state of missing them experienced by those left behind. This work is about the permanent results of the random, almost careless moment – like the accidental death of a family member, or their defection to a new life in a land beyond imagined reality – the sort of experience that renders a single, lost, glove forever homeless. Christine Porter Lismore 2008
A series of acrylic paintings, 21 x 27 cm on board, the subject being images of the “lost” gloves Christine “found” on her travels.
the narrative of incomplete assimilation, 2008
I visited the UK generations after my ancestors had left, but there were places, especially in Scotland, that felt instantly familiar. “How long are you home for?” the neighbours there had asked. “How long would I need to be gone, and not belong?” I thought. I saw mirrored back at me my Scot-pale skin, eyes and hair: I heard stories of adventurers, convicts and farmers. The more I read about the people who had come before me the more I wondered: “am I me, or am I merely the sum of all my pasts?” This work is about how emigrant memory is more than its emigration stories (lost gloves, weather worn, still glove-like). Where emigration is not only about crossing the seas, but can equally be about a passage across the other River Styx-like situations that preclude return- like travel, accident or childbirth.
Christine Porter Lismore 2008
Three cast bronze gloves , installed to represent the permanent ramifications of chance decisions, such as the decision to emigrate.
“not near related but related all the same” 2008
Frances Shekelton (nee Porter), from BallyJamesDuff in Ireland and Frances Ross Porter, my paternal great-grandmother, share a name and a birthplace – though a century apart. Frances and she were indeed cousins, Mrs Shekelton told us; “not near related” she said, “but related all the same”. In a place where names are a currency of belonging; we were welcomed – one hundred years ago Frances Porter wasn’t. Exiled for love (family legend tells) she settled in Lismore, but eventually became just a name, in a sentence, in a chapter, in a history, of this area.
This work is about the impact of emigration on all of Australia’s history: each glove standing in for each person that I’m related to by blood or marriage in this area alone, describing the wealth of emigration narratives in each family, those stories hidden and those known. It’s been installed to block the view of the landscape, just as the pain of those exiled, whether by choice or mis-choice, obscures the beauty of the current landscape, just outside their window.
A site specific installation, made for the McNaughton Gallery space at the Tweed Regional Gallery. The tall windows at the Tweed River Art Gallery look out over the beautiful Tweed Valley. They allow for slivers of the landscape to be a part of the installed artwork inside the gallery space. The installation of this work blocked that view except for the occasional tantalising shards of light that indicated there was more beyond the wall. This piece spoke of the jail-like melancholia experienced by the homesick.