Described by the National Gallery of Victoria's senior curator Judith Ryan as Lorraine Connelly-Northey's "most important work to date" Hunter-Gatherer is the first commercial exhibition of Connelly- Northey's epic installation displayed for the NGV's major exhibition Contemporary Commonwealth in 2006. According to Connelly-Northey:
I want to be more than just a traditional weaver. I want to be a distinguished weaver with an instantly recognisable style and voice. I see myself weaving everything now, from digging sticks to cloaks. I will come up with my own weaving style, from the stitches I use and create. Hunter-Gatherer has been a move away from just string bag making to a showcasing of my knowledge of traditional Aboriginal society. I set out to unload fifteen years of self-acquired knowledge in an installation of objects that would enable people to immediately share my knowledge.
Lorraine Connelly-Northey's artworks are strongly influenced by her mixed cultural heritage. Of Waradgerie (Wiradjuri) and Irish descent, Lorraine was born in 1962 in Swan Hill, northwest Victoria, where she lives and works. Since 1990, Lorraine has worked with found materials - including rusted wire mesh, galvanised iron, chicken wire and fencing wire, as well as feathers, shells and other organic objects - to respond to her environment and to traditional Aboriginal culture and heritage. Connelly-Northey uses her knowledge of Aboriginal weaving to transform these discarded materials into elegant forms that suggest traditional material cultural objects, such as coolamons, string bags, dilly bags and possum skin cloaks. As a Waradgerie woman, Lorraine says that she is uncomfortable using traditional grasses and sedges of the Wadi Wadi and Wamba Wamba country in which she lives, and this led her to incorporate into her work the detritus that she and her father collected from abandoned rubbish dumps on trips into the bush.
Inspired by the Mallee and Riverina bush environments of northwest Victoria where she grew up, Lorraine Connelly-Northey's innovative objects and installations relate to the history and culture of the Waradgerie, and to her personal connection to the land. Exploring the footprint that industrial society has left on the traditional Indigenous landscape and way of life, her sculptures resonate with a history lived in coexistence with colonial society.
Connelly-Northey's work has been widely exhibited in solo and group exhibitions, including at the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Museum, Object Gallery, Koorie Heritage Trust, Mildura Arts Centre, and Swan Hill Regional Art Gallery. Her work at the National Gallery of Victoria's Land Marks exhibition was described by The Australian's art critic Sebastian Smee as 'stunning', and lauded as being amongst the best works in the show. She was short listed for the 2003 Raka Award, the 2005 Victorian Indigenous Art Award and the 2006 Xstrata Coal Emerging Indigenous Art Award. Hunter-Gatherer is Lorraine's second exhibition at The Mossenson Galleries, following the acclaimed exhibition Koori Alchemy at The Mossenson Galleries Fremantle.
The Mossenson Galleries are proud to present Hunter-Gather by Lorraine Connelly-Northey. The exhibition will be opened at 6pm on Wednesday 31 January at 41 Derby Street Collingwood by Susan McCulloch, Art Critic and Co-Author of McCulloch's Encyclopedia of Australian Art. The artist will be present for the opening. For more information, please contact The Mossenson Galleries on 0412422378 or firstname.lastname@example.org.