Franck Gohier Nature vs Nurture , 2015
- Synthetic polymer paint on board
- 120 x 90cm
- Image Credit
- Courtesy of the Artist
About the exhibition
Some like it Hot brings together two of the Northern Territory’s most respected artists: Franck Gohier and Therese Ritchie in an exhibition that reflects upon gender trouble in the tropics. Both Gohier and Ritchie consider the performative nature of gender, tracing the intersections between sweat, sex, desire and discord in Australia’s hottest and most remote capital city.
Throughout history, climate has been held accountable for a range of behaviours and intense heat associated with inertia, sloth, promiscuity and violence. Art historian Andrew McNamara notes that the tropics have been seen as a space ‘beyond humanity and civilisation’, a place that for many carried a threat of anarchy and chaos.
Alluding to gender stereotypes popularised in midtwentieth century comic books, romance narratives and action films, Franck Gohier creates paintings and prints that deploy a pop art aesthetic to question sexualised binaries. Drawing upon narratives of
fraught masculinity and trapped femininity, he humorously probes gendered expressions of love and strife in the sweltering heat of the Top End. Other works take their cue from recent superhero narratives depicting women as action heroes wrestling crocodiles or fighting the bad guys. Through parody, Gohier exposes the limited range of positions inscribed in many popular culture texts and the heterosexist frameworks that reinforce particular ways of being.
In contrast many of Therese Ritchie’s depictions are informed by the everyday scenes she witnesses on the streets around her. Her camera lens observes quarrels and clashes and men behaving badly, intoxicated by the Territory’s drinking culture. As cultural observer Susan Carson notes ‘as the temperature rises, so too does the propensity for violence.’ This regularly plays out in Darwin, a city with the highest rates of alcohol consumption per capita in Australia. Ritchie’s photographs are worked up into digital collages informed by art historical precedents. She is interested in the legacy of heterosexist frameworks that segregate gender into binary categories denying more nuanced understandings. In a number of images, she spotlights more fluid enactments to open up gender to a broader range of embodiment.
At the heart of Therese Ritchie’s extensive oeuvre … is a refusal to compromise as an artist. Her work is deliberately historically derivative in style, but clearly empowering … and brandishes its politics for the benefit of developing a greater awareness of the lives of individuals enlarged upon through Ritchie’s journalistic agency and love of storytelling.
Chips Mackinolty, artist and collaborator
As the temperature rises around the world through global warming, Some like it hot presents an opportunity to explore the synergies and tensions in the relationship between heat, place and gendered behaviour.
Dr Wendy Garden holds a doctorate in art history from the University of Melbourne and a Masters of Arts research degree. Her writing and research interests focus on contemporary Australian art and photography. Previously Curator of Australian Art at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory and Senior Curator at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery in Victoria, she has held curatorial positions at a number of public galleries and museums in Melbourne. She has over twenty years’ experience curating exhibitions including solo artist retrospectives, group shows and touring exhibitions. Recent curatorial projects include Therese Ritchie: Burning Hearts (2019-20) and Between the Moon and the Stars (2019) both held at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory; On the Beach, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (2015), Storm in a Teacup, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (2015) and A Curious Evolution: Rose Farrell & George Parkin, Deakin University Art Gallery (2015).
About the artists
b. Newcastle 1961
We all have our blank spots where we don’t want to look at stuff, but if I find that I am resisting life, I make art about it to help understand and feel it. If you take something on board and feel into it, you can develop more compassion and empathy; tease it out and maybe make a picture about it. There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to make a picture about a complicated issue. Therese Ritchie, artist
Therese Ritchie is critically acclaimed for her astute social commentary combined with pathos, humour and an unwavering eye for the poetic resonances in the everyday.
b. 1968 Brittany, St Nazaire, France
arr. Australia 1972
People interest me the most. Their cultural backgrounds, views on life, motives, fears, aspirations and so on. And also how these elements help shape history and events. I often feature elements of the Territory to speak about the vitality of my own experiences living here and how this part of Australia is simply a microcosm that reflects all of humanity. ‘Same but different’ as we say in the North.
Franck Gohier, artist
Franck Gohier has developed a national profile for his satirical paintings and prints which are informed by his political and social consciousness honed from living in Darwin.