Kedela wer kalyakoorl ngalak Wadjak boodjak yaak.

Today and always, we stand on the traditional land of the Whadjuk Noongar people.

Tarryn Gill Limber 1 2020. Mixed media (hand-stitched Lycra, EPE foam & fibre fill, artificial eyes, steel), 110 x 370 x 125 cm. State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased through the Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation: TomorrowFund, 2021. Photography by Pixel Poetry.

Tarryn Gill

State Collection
Gallery 04
Until 13 February

Three new towering sculptural figures return the gaze of viewers from eyes hand-stitched into unsuspecting places.

AGWA presents three new sculptural works from Tarryn Gill’s Limber series; the largest works Gill has made to date and the Gallery’s most significant acquisition of her work. Gill’s work draws from surrealism, puppetry, period aesthetics (often of the 1930s and 1940s) and, particularly in Limber, her own background in dance and calisthenics.

Sitting between the human, animal and the otherworldly, her entities channel our deepest fears and fantasies, and imagine into reality new beings we might yet become. These three captivatingly expressive works were inspired by a life-changing encounter with the hairy, limb-like forms of the Trembesi trees in Indonesia.

She experienced an intense, powerfully intimate connection between what she terms “their warmly protective, matriarchal presence” and the physical traits of her previous sculptural work. Gill channelled the physical and emotional essence of this kinship into strong and graceful beings who amplify and refigure poses she made in competitive calisthenics. This helped her overcome her long-held sense of powerlessness as a sexualised female athlete.

“[They] expand the performing body into monstrous, egoless forms that can look back at you from their crotches and crooks; meeting the male gaze powerfully but also holding space for those who see themselves in them.” — Tarryn Gill