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Paull McKee

Paull McKee
Artist's statement

What makes me tick is thinking. Not so much the processes of making. They usually are a means to an end so in this sense I don't position myself as a studio crafts person. I enjoy crossing boundaries finding holes in fences and traipsing through other peoples' property.

I 'make do', that's how I describe my making processes. I gather and fossick about the place, gather bits and pieces and see what I can make from them.

I find myself 'always already' within simultaneous streams of feminism, queer and gender studies, men's liberation work, craft narratives and probably more importantly the place called 'folk'.

I make objects and I work with installation. I also 'draw' a lot but very rarely show this aspect of my practice, something I'd like to change in the future.

I investigate men's lives in and through textiles mostly. I do this in a folkloric fashion. By folkloric I mean the 'material culture' of working class and raised poor people. This means interpreting or re-interpreting men's lives through the medium of textiles and then looking at what happens.

It's a contradiction to do this work. I aim to open up the constructions of masculinity. And I do this from a liberation perspective.

The medium of textiles with all its associations real and fabled allows me the freedom to express emotions and to emulate closeness, the 'moving towards' the tacit tactile qualities of textiles as a medium that invites and allows.

Recent work
Untitled Wagga
  • Untitled Wagga, 2001
  • collected wool blankets, Hessian back, heat pressed, natural Eucalypt dyes
  • Dimensions: 85 x 136cm
  • Photo: Courtesy of the Artist
Bequeathed
  • Bequeathed,
  • collected wool blankets, assorted fabrics, Hessian bag
  • Photo: Tamworth Gallery
Inside Out
  • Inside Out, 2001
  • collected wool jackets
  • Photo:
Light on Dark
  • Light on Dark, 2002
  • collected wool blankets, heat pressed, wood thread, Hessian back
  • Dimensions: 98 x 145cm
  • Photo: Courtesy of the Artist

Making Memories
  • Making Memories, 2005
  • old velvet, collected furniture, Bricklayers line, old jacket
  • Dimensions: Dimensions variable
  • Photo: Creative Image Photography
Lest We Forget
  • Lest We Forget, 2007
  • mixed media/found objects
  • Dimensions: dimensions variable
  • Photo: Courtesy of the Artist
Biography

Look quite honestly I'm a bit bone headed and I love a good fight or argument. As far as I can work out it all began because someone said I couldn't do it. So as my mother would say "it's like waving a red rag to a bull". Oh yeah and earlier, before being told that boys don't (cry) sew. Of course class oppression sets working class men up to not expect a lot and being 'creative' allowed me some lee way through this.

I reckon that as an artist I'm really lucky. I get to be involved with hope and hopefulness. It might sound corny but itís the razor edge of meaning and nostalgia I find myself working on.

I grew up in a small town in Western Australia (WA). I learnt drawing, painting, sewing and crafts (not to mention gardening) from country women. And I am so thankful to these women for giving me grounding in reality and integrity that forms the bedrock of my practice.

We were 'townies' we owned the local newsagency, It was a farming district and I grew up watching and learning how to make do with bits of wire and string.

Of course it wasn't all golden summers. I eventually left WA for the eastern states got formal qualifications in visual arts and began to practice at a professional level.

I love what I do and look forward to many more years of working it all out.

Selected exhibitions
2010:   Gudgenby - traces, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre - Canberra
2009:   Gudgenby Ready-Cut Cottage Residency, Namadgi National Park Visitors Centre - Canberra
2007:   Settings, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre - Canberra
2005:   Memories in Place: art in high country huts, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre - Canberra
2005:   Make the Common Precious, Craft Victoria - Melbourne
2004:   A Matter of Time, Tamworth Textiles Biennial, national touring exhibition - Tamworth, NSW
2004:   The Sleeper (24:7 II, public art program), Train Museum - Canberra
2003:   Exhibition Home (24:7 public art program), Public Housing - Canberra
2002:   14th Annual Australian Craft Show - Canberra
2002:   The Idea of Perfection, National Wool Museum - Geelong, VIC
2002:   The Idea of Perfection, Canberra Contemporary Art Space - Canberra
2001:   Interiors, Object Gallery - Sydney
2001:   Coverings, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre - Canberra
2001:   Warmth, Belconnen Community Centre Gallery - Canberra
2000:   Domestic Design, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre - Canberra
2000:   Close, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre - Canberra
1999:   Close, Australian National University School of Art Gallery - Canberra
1998:   Beautiful Home, Canberra Contemporary Art Space - Canberra
1998:   Excita, Australian National University School of Art Gallery - Canberra
1997:   Housework, private residence - Canberra
1995:   Ex. Str. Acting, Red House Gallery - Marion, SA
1990:   Angels and Others, Ruby's Cafe - Adelaide
Selected publications
2010:   R. Schiller, Telling Stories, Hand/Eye Magazine
2010:   Dr. S. Peoples, Gudgenby - traces, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre
2010:   D. Hare, 2010 Designing a Capital: Crafting a City, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre
2006:   B. McConchie, Memories in Place: art in high country huts, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre
2005:   K. Murray, Craft Unbound, Craftsmanshouse
2004:   Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre, Craft ACT Accredited Professional Member Profile, Craft News
2004:   B. McConchie, Content(s): Significance and complexity in everyday objects, Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre
2003:   A. Claxton, Expressions 2002, Magic Patch, France
2002:   F. Kenneley, Wild About Wool, FibreArts, USA
2001:   F. Kenneley, Masculine Perspectives, Canberra Times
2001:   M. Hinchliffe, Textiles convey a range of emotions, Canberra Times
1998:   E. Robertson, Home Sweet Home, Canberra Times

 

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