Submitted Review

Jacky Redgate ‘Hold On’

  • Geelong Gallery • Geelong

  • 06 March 2020—13 February 2021

  • Andrew Browne • Published 28 January 2021

‘evoke stilled domestic yet subtlety demonic scenarios’

Jacky Redgate, a less show-boaty, polemic or otherwise pedantic artist than many of her fine conceptual peers, has always struck me as a nuanced and thoughtful image-maker first, photographer or sculptor second. Though without doubt using the airtight textures of fine art photography printing to full and generous effect, her work more specifically elevates precise perceptual values, oft-times curious spatial conundrums and a sly visual intelligence above any surface fetish or ‘crucial moment’.

Down at Geelong Gallery, in what must be the longest (albeit Covid-induced) presentation of her career, “Hold On” is a relatively recent group of large-scaled works. Crucially printed on fabric this time, they expand further her ongoing “Light Throw (Mirrors)” series by both reiterating the possibilities and pleasures of symmetry and mirroring (though here via plastic party plating as much as by any other mundane reflective surface) and by parading an array of childhood touchstones – dolls and teddies arranged in gentle narratives that, whilst avoiding abjection, evoke stilled domestic yet subtlety demonic scenarios.

Carefully composed whilst quite unnerving in their ‘cute’ factor, this viewer positions these new images as significant antidotes – perverse and inverse – to the distanced and sexy hyper-shiny abstraction of her last outing @arconegallery (where the imagery kept one at bay with its slick, apparently virtual mien – mirroring reality yet seemingly plucked from a ‘nowhere’) and her works broader history of aversion to anecdotal narrative.

Redgate has always displayed cool intelligence in her execution, even as her subjects burn hot, and with “Hold On” and its relentless parade of lonely or chaperoned dead-eyed dollies enveloped in cloying ‘bedroom’ colours – pinks to reds to mauves to blues and yellows – all initially charming yet creepily prescient of muffled and narrowed horizons and repetitive homespun ritual, she conjures again a dreamlike and deft slippage between the studio construction of stagey pictorial dimensions and the claustrophobia of complex emotional realms, wrapped in a sweet bow of biography.