Rhiannon Dionysius // Jesse Perrin // Amanda Wolf
Curation & Design by Jonathan O’Brien
Presented in partnership with This Must Be The Place and Agentry
August 5–19, 2017.
Photography by Perception Productions.
from the curator.
What makes softcore. such a peculiar delight from a curator’s standpoint is that it is, essentially, an exhibition brought about by necessity. The three artists here—Rhiannon Dionysius, Jesse Perrin, and Amanda Wolf—are House Conspiracy’s only visual arts Residents whom, until now, had not been given an opportunity to exhibit their work in either a public or private setting as facilitated by the House. The House had not yet fulfilled its promise, and so we had unfinished business.
When the opportunity to exhibit came up after a months-long gap, we seized it. We gripped it in our hands. And even though this particular group-ing of artists was in many ways random—and should have therefore brought with them a process marred by countless limitations—by some fluke the works quickly began making sense together. Sure, maybe not via any given set of complimentary or nuanced dialectics with which they all tangentially engage—no, instead they connect via one single simple thread: joy.
And why not create something joyous? Perrin describes Euphoric Hue as “benevolent” and there was an instant sense, given the pieces we had to play with, that these soft, kind-scented works would necessarily act as the exhibition’s backbone. These knitted artifacts play now the role of beacons, guiding the audience through the gallery space, drawing their eye with bright evocations of gobstoppers, of toy stores, of cartoons available only on Foxtel.
As we filled in the rest, we filled in the name. Amanda Wolf throughout this whole process has been communicating with us from overseas. Her mother, Jenny, is a champion. One night, when we were all in a Facebook chat trying to nut this thing out, Wolf, from her phone in Norway, threw us a list of around two dozen possible exhibition titles, and then, when Dionysius made her own list in response, we were all drawn in our own ways to softcore. I mean, it made us laugh. And at first that’s all it did—but then there was a building seriousness: the title began to make sense. It made sense insofar as Wolf’s engagement with the body politic can be viewed as both serious inquiry and technicolour farce, and insofar as the delicate intimacy of Dionysius’s bathing humanoids hints also at a sexual undercurrent through the exchange of fluids taking place between them. The nail in the coffin, though: Perrin’s sculptures, knitted tirelessly, are themselves soft to the touch and soft to the core. Truth is, once we had a pun, we had an exhibition.