The Waves

A Group exhibition curated by Kate Britton 
18 August—15 September 2018
S+S Sydney
Opening Saturday 18 August 3–5pm 

Sullivan+Strumpf Artists: 

Karen Black
Polly Borland
Joanna Lamb
Lindy Lee
eX de Medici
Sanné Mestrom
Judy Millar
Hiromi Tango
Dawn NG
Angela Tia Tia
Jemima Wyman 
Barbara Cleveland


 Invited Artists:

Ohni Blu
Christine Dean
Thea Perkins
Katy B. Plummer
Justine Youssef & Leila El Rayes



We happen upon each other. We witness the work each other is doing, and we recognize each other through that work. And we take up arms when we combine our forces. We speak up; we rise up. Chip, chip, chip: an affinity of hammers is what we are working toward. – Sarah Ahmed, ‘An Affinity of Hammers’, 2016

The Waves borrows its title from Virginia Woolf’s novel of the same name, in which many voices unite in a single narrative. This exhibition likewise unites many voices to tell a single yet multivalent story. This story is about what happens in a white cube occupied by female, female-identifying and non-binary voices, and why we should be listening. 

The Waves brings a diverse group of artists into a conversation about feminism, bodies, access to and occupation of space, collective action and gestures of intersectionality. In making their work, each of these artists chip, chip, chip away at the walls and barriers that are thrown up by patriarchal systems, biological determinism, trans-exclusionary feminism, colonialism – the list goes on. 

The feminist project has been characterised by waves, a lapping at the shores of heteronormative sanctity. The works presented from these artists engage with different aspects of this project: political, social and labour-based action; reclamation and celebration of diverse bodies and identities; post-colonialism; an emergent collective anger - #metoo.

In bringing together work from the Sullivan & Strumpf stockroom with invited artists, The Wavesestablishes new lines of sight between the work of diverse women, trans and non-binary people. In doing so, it seeks to create an affinity, in this case an affinity of waves. 

From the curator: It’s been fantastic to have the chance to make new connections between works in the Sullivan + Strumpf stockroom, and to bring new artists into conversation with their incredible stable. In looking at work made by female, female-identifying and non-binary artists, I was excited by the emergence of really strong commonalities and concerns that aligned meaningfully with the feminist project over time. Women artists have long made work that has much to say about, outside of, and in opposition to hetero-patriarchal modes of expression that are often loudest in the art world. It’s refreshing to hear these voices in concert – waves that keep on coming, eroding, washing away…

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