Lau­ren Brincat
women with fringes etc.

14th May – 18th June 2022
Anna Schwartz Gallery

Now it is a sto­ry of a girl who is look­ing for her­self, is aban­don­ing art mean­while, is try­ing to find ways of liv­ing that are art­like but are not art, can’t find the answer for how to make art that is not art while at home, so goes away and trav­els around the world to try and fig­ure it out, but noth­ing is hap­pen­ing there, either … the girl returns, is broke, starts work­ing in a hair salon when she meets a hair­dress­er who is so impres­sive to her … and she real­izes this is what she wants to be, a mas­ter of her craft, so she quits the salon and returns to art with the knowl­edge of where and how and in what direc­tion to go.[1]

The sen­tence is cut from She­lia Heti’s aut­ofic­tion­al ser­i­al, A Diary in Alpha­bet­i­cal Order, pub­lished by The New York Times, 2022. Using frag­ments of life tak­en from her own diaries, Heti wrote a nar­ra­tive, a fic­tion. So too, Lau­ren Brincat’s art­mak­ing takes pieces from life to rep­re­sent the feel­ing of living.

In Brincat’s fic­tion the title, women with fringes etc., is cut from a judgey con­junc­tion: a phrase she found in a let­ter, a let­ter she can’t remem­ber how she found. Sent on 15 May 1973 (forty-nine years before Brincat’s show opens), a male painter in Japan writes to a female friend back in Syd­ney, describ­ing ‘…women with fringes etc. but rather com­pelling work…’. Brin­cat makes space for these women. Her work is an echo of their presence.

We enter back­stage. Pass a ban­ner and a poster whose hands ges­ture to us. Walk towards the stage – the cur­tains are not drawn. No longer a painter who paints, Brin­cat has made cur­tains from drop sheets col­lect­ed from muse­ums and gal­leries, which she drapes with coloured can­vas. Incor­po­rat­ing drops of colour that are not the artist’s own, Back­stage (2022) traces the (emo­tion­al) labour of art­mak­ing. The artist is present in the folds of the fab­ric through the work of her hands.

The hand exer­cis­es on Brincat’s poster invite us to per­form. With each move­ment, Egypt­ian Postures (2022) (anoth­er bor­rowed title) re-enacts ear­ly Bauhaus prac­tices that cou­ple colour the­o­ry with spir­i­tu­al­i­ty.[2] Here, Brin­cat has per­son­alised both title and ges­tures: the Egypt­ian hands are the artist’s grandmother’s, rein­car­nat­ed through her own. I see her hands when I make,’ she explains. We try to read what these motion­ing hands have to say.

Behind us, the entrance ban­ner takes its title from a sad song. In shards of red and white, Wild is the Wind (2022) scores Nina Simone’s sound into colour. By pref­er­enc­ing the sens­es, Brin­cat con­nects colour and emo­tion, giv­ing form to intuition. 

The title and the drop sheets, the ges­tures with the song – the artist draws togeth­er frag­ments to make a whole. Tak­en from life, the pieces con­nect as if to make sense of liv­ing. The feel­ing of trust­ing and not trust­ing. The feel­ing of see­ing but also blank­ness. Know­ing but doubting.

From the poster we talk with our hands, from the ban­ner we lis­ten with our eyes. Invit­ed on stage, we are per­form­ers rather than spec­ta­tors. By invert­ing expe­ri­ences, Brin­cat explains the world through feel­ing. For her, liv­ing is art­mak­ing, and art is life­like. Bor­row­ing from Heti, we’re not to live accord­ing to images but accord­ing to time. Not to live accord­ing to sto­ry but accord­ing to feel­ings.’[3]


Aar­na Fitzger­ald Han­ley is Cura­tor of Pro­grams at Carriageworks. 


[1] Sheila Heti, Not Enough Brains to Dis­trib­ute among Us Humans,” The New York Times (online), 23 Feb­ru­ary, 2022. Part 6 of a 10 part, Heti, S., A Diary in Alpha­bet­i­cal Order, pub­lished week­ly from 19 Jan­u­ary, 2022.

[2] Ian Whit­tle­sea, The Egypt­ian Pos­tures (Lon­don: The Every­day Press, 2017).

[3] Heti, Not Enough Brains to Dis­trib­ute among Us Humans.”

Images

Lau­ren Brincat

Back­stage, 2022
(detail) drop cloths, brass eye­lets, rope, steel rod
dimen­sions variable

Lau­ren Brincat

Back­stage, 2022
(detail) drop cloths, brass eye­lets, rope, steel rod
dimen­sions variable

Lau­ren Brincat

Back­stage, 2022
(detail) drop cloths, brass eye­lets, rope, steel rod
dimen­sions variable

Lau­ren Brincat

Back­stage, 2022
(detail) drop cloths, brass eye­lets, rope, steel rod
dimen­sions variable

Lau­ren Brincat

Back­stage, 2022
(ver­so) drop cloths, brass eye­lets, rope, steel rod
dimen­sions variable

Lau­ren Brincat

Back­stage, 2022
(detail) drop cloths, brass eye­lets, rope, steel rod
dimen­sions variable

Lau­ren Brincat

Wild is the Wind, 2022
silk, cal­i­co, brass eye­lets, rope
dimen­sions variable
with Leah Giblin

Lau­ren Brincat

Egypt­ian Postures, 2022
Poster