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Tensions between freedom and restraint

HerCanberra Team

Using an organic approach to making, Clare Jackson and Zoya Godoroja-Prieckaerts’ exhibition Tensions between brings together ceramics, textiles, installation and works on paper.

As the title suggests, the exhibition explores tensions between various elements and concepts. Erratic marks are paired with fluid watercolours, soft textile sculptures with solid ceramic vessels, muted tones with vibrant colours.

The two artists look at the ways in which their works align and depart, where they inform each other and where they look inwards. While Godoroja-Prieckaerts (G-P) is influenced by the impact of personal and collective experiences, Jackson is fuelled by a desire to retain amorphous moments in time. The resulting works of both artists evoke a sense of containment, whether it be G-P’s emotive figures and contorted fabric forms or Jackson’s drawings of bound up sticks and hand formed ceramic objects, the tensions between freedom and restraint are evident.


As female artists whose practices are typically delicate in nature, Jackson and Godoroja-Prieckaerts are interested in the ways artists can find their work marginalised for being “feminine”. Tensions between will explore the struggles of maintaining an honest approach to one’s practice when that approach in itself can be seen as trivial. The curation of the space will see the works paired in a way that generates a dialogue between them to show that, in their delicacy, fragile works hold their own intensity and reveal the complexities of contending with one’s emotions.

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HerCanberra: How did the idea of a joint exhibition come about? 

Zoya and Clare: “We were together at art school and always gave each other a lot of support, creatively and emotionally. Over the past couple of years we’ve been living on opposite sides of the world and have missed working along side one another. Our works have a similar sensitivity and we were interested in creating something together to see where our similarities and differences would lead us. And so the idea of an exhibition came about.”


What do you admire about each other’s work?  

Zoya [about Clare]:  “The honesty to her practice. Clare doesn’t get caught up by what is trending in the art world, she quietly goes about creating new works that align with what she’s interested in. In her quietness her works become beautifully sensitive whilst being strong and powerful. I admire this strength to not feel the need to constantly demand attention but still being able to attract it through the power of her work.”

Clare [about Zoya]: “Her honesty and what I perceive as fearlessness when approaching new ideas. Zoya constantly challenges herself, whether it be conceptual or material, she is always considering new ways to explore the complexities of human emotion and doesn’t shy away from difficult subject matter. I admire the sensitivity with which she approaches her practice, her technical ability and sense of empathy is evident even in the simplest of marks, through her work she consistently displays a balance between delicacy and strength.”

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How does Canberra inspire you as emerging female artists? 

“The art scene in Canberra is really supportive. Whether it’s due to the size of the city or not, it seems people are genuinely interested in what others are doing and aren’t always concerned with being competitive or pushing their own agenda. We have been very lucky with the opportunities afforded us through the School of Art, the teachers we had in the print-media and drawing workshop were consistently inspiring and supportive.

There seems to be a growing feminist movement in Canberra with more magazines, lectures, etc focusing on and supporting women. As emerging female artists, prominent art establishments with women at the helm/in prominent positions, such as Megalo Print Studio and Gallery and Photaccess, are very encouraging. The increasing opportunities for creative women has given us the strength to assert ourselves as much as male artists are encouraged to.

In Canberra there are many galleries and workshops that welcome young or emerging artists. Megalo, CCAS and m16 all have programs or residencies for emerging artists and consistently display thought provoking and inspiring exhibitions. When so many galleries [especially in larger capital cities like Sydney and Melbourne] give preference to mid career or established artists it’s great to have access to these unique programs in Canberra.

Lastly, one of the most inspiring aspects of the city is the nature and surrounding environment. Nothing compares to Canberra skies!”

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the essentials

What: Tensions between exhibition
Where: Canberra Contemporary Artspace, Manuka
When: Now until Sunday 8 May
How much: Free


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