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Dancing Through Disaster

October 5, 2022 - October 16, 2022


Dancing Through Disaster
Jane Theau

October 5-16,
Open Wednesday -Sunday 11-5pm
Repair Café October 15

Fire, flood and Covid have characterised the last few years – it’s been a tough time. Our house on the South Coast was surrounded by fire in January 2020, devastating the bush for miles around and traumatising communities. My daughter’s house was inundated in this year’s floods that affected so many in northern NSW and southern Queensland. And the lockdowns caused by the pandemic meant that my PhD exhibition in 2021, representing four years of work, couldn’t be seen by friends and family (not even by the examiners!) The pandemic had a huge and detrimental effect on artists everywhere as exhibitions were cancelled and creative momentum came to an abrupt stop. I responded to this time with the sculptures and embroidered paintings in this exhibition. They are all made of repurposed materials, a reflection of my effort to have a sustainable practice.

The first sculpture series Urchin Barren is made from the sea urchin spines of Heliocidaris erythrogramma collected on the South Coast. As oceans warm sea urchins are migrating to the poles, feasting on algae along the way to create ‘urchin barrens’. They have become indicators of climate change. The second series, Retired, celebrates the necessary retirement of coal-fired power generation to address the heating world. Made of elements from an old electric stove, their Modernist aesthetic reflects well the era of rapid construction of coal-fired power stations post WWII. The embroidered paintings are a new element in my practice. As with my thread portraits, they are made of ink-infused tarlatan collected from the garbage bins of the print room at the UNSW School of Art and Design.

Despite the hard times there is always much to be grateful for, and this is expressed in the joyous series of thread portraits of dancers in motion completed for the production, On View: Panoramic Suite, by choreographer/filmmaker Sue Healey. (The first performances of On View were held in February 2020 in Yokohama. Moored outside the theatre was the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship, symbol of the early pandemic panic). The exuberant nature of dance created a beautiful ambiance in my studio and through this collaboration with Sue I was able to experience the joy of working with performers in theatrical settings. The experience added another, deeper layer to my practice that I hope is conveyed in the expressions on the dancers’ faces and the movement of their limbs.

Jane Theau

Dancing Through Disaster is a Sydney Craft Week event.
In keeping with the Craft Week themes of sustainability and climate change I will be
hosting a free textile Repair Café in the gallery on Saturday October 15.
Bookings: Jane Theau – 0415 110 123.


October 5, 2022
October 16, 2022


13 Gurner Street
Paddington, NSW 2021 Australia
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02 9358 4968
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