Artists explore female form

Configure exhibition contributing artists Michele Beevors (left) and Kiri Mitchell and a life-sized model of film animation character Pat

A group exhibition exploring female body image, identity, and how popular culture has shaped perceptions of femininity has opened at Ashburton Art Gallery.

Called Configure, the exhibition aims to challenge, critique, and overturn female stereotypes and features large-scale sculptures, video, ceramics and embroidery.

Dunedin-based artists Michele Beevors, Kiri Mitchell, Sarah Baird, Kylie Norton, Maggie Covell and Tamara Nicholson have collaborated to explore feminism and feminist artwork.

Art lecturer Michele Beevors has produced large and colourful pieces made from fibreglass and another from dozens of soft toys. Her influences include 1950s pin up Marilyn Monroe.

Tamara Nicholson uses video to explore suburban alienation, Kylie Norton focuses on dating and anxiety and the influences of Instagram in her embroidery works and Sarah Baird has created 100 ceramic Berthas in a myriad of colours.

Art lecturer Kiri Mitchell, an award winning film maker, has her stop motion animation film Turf featured.

Turf tells the story of Pat, a mature lady who lives under a small glass dome and whose space gets intruded upon by a series of female characters operating ride-on lawn mowers.

One of the aims of her short films was to explore powerful representations of older women, Ms Mitchell said.

Pat was quite pear-shaped, with strong sturdy thighs, and not your stereotypical “bouncy female”.

Ms Mitchell has three other works featured, including a life-sized model of Pat.

Michele Beevors said the Configure exhibition was about works of the female experience from different perspectives.

Different factions of feminism were telling stories using different commodities, she said.

The exhibition was visually generous and the aim was to give the viewer something to think about.

The Configure exhibition runs until January 21.

-By Mick Jensen