Australian artist Sally Smart is known for her large-scale collage installations applied directly to the gallery wall. She works with a range of media, including painted canvas and felt cut-outs, photographic elements, and printed fabric. The pins and joins that connect her work remain exposed to the viewer, emphasizing the performative process Smart undergoes in the cutting, drawing, and assembly of her work.
Flaubert’s Puppets (Femmage), Smart's third solo exhibition at Postmasters, explores the ideas of the feminine identity, performance, and nature. The wall installation will be accompanied by a series of framed, collaged drawings.
In Flaubert’s Puppets the cut-out, hybridized figures, legs, arms, and swishing skirts fall apart and come together to accentuate movement. The images, inscribed with marks and notations, reference choreographers’ drawings and reflect on the performative process of Smart’s static yet dynamic installation.
The word Femmage was used by the American feminist and theorist, Miriam Shapiro in 1976 to describe work traditionally made by women, and the multitude of techniques, including collage, photomontage and embroidery, that women have used; Femmage for Smart is a term used to describe the idea of women’s relationship (historical and contemporary) to the process of collage and the connections to feminist politics (The use of materials –mostly fabric - is integral to the conceptual unfolding of Smart’s work, as is the process of cutting, pining, staining and stitching).