IN the Surface, 2016  - Curve Gallery, Newcastle

There are about 50 of Gillian Bencke's fabric creatures on the walls or suspended, gently rotating from the ceiling. They come in many humanoid variations, having evolved from two legs to three, four or even more, all individually hand sewn, using a wealth of pattern fabrics and the contents of several family button bags, with much of the fabric recycled. They display a rich preloved life and inexhaustible variety of vitality.
Many of us who made and loved golliwogs before they became politically insensitive will recall how they came to amazing individual life once their button eyes were attached. But Gillian Bencke takes this minor miracle well beyond family fun. Here is genuine artmaking, requiring fertile imagination and much time in the studio.

text by Jill Stowell   (Newcastle Herald April 23, 2016)


Art Bender2015 - The Lock-Up, Newcastle

These works look beyond the noise and extravaganza of the modern birth and marriage, for the joy, meaning and melancholy inherent in the process of ceremonies that make up our social rites of passage.

The wedding dresses are old, one dating to the early 1910's when fabric was scarce and precious. Each dress is made from good quality silk, brocade and satin and has been unpicked and layered into a large shroud. The second shroud is made from a moth eaten blanket and is stitched with small details, a tiny landscape or a map of possibility.

My interests lie in the history held in these cloths, imbedded into them over time - the stories they know, the lives they have passed between and the long years of storage they have silently endured. What they once meant and how everything carries into ones final ceremony.

I'm here ..., 2009 - Remedy Lederville - Perth

The Divided Self, 2008 - Footpath Gallery, Fremantle