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The art of war at the University Art Gallery-featuring the work of Jan Fieldsend



4 May 2007

An intricate new exhibition at the University Art Gallery takes a contemporary and feminine look at the legacies of war and explores the unique history of the gallery.

outpouring
, featuring the work of Sydney-based artist Jan Fieldsend, opens at the University Art Gallery this week and is an installation created specifically for the space. Known as the War Memorial Art Gallery until 2005, it once held collections of war medals, ribbons and other military insignia.

According to Louise Tegart, Senior Curator of the University Art Gallery, Fieldsend's installation continues the artist's fascination with memory and the exploration of how pattern, colour and objects can hold a wealth of meaning.

It also gives a new perspective to the legacies of conflict and is a unique opportunity to explore the history of the gallery. "outpouring reconciles the feminine experience of war because war is a very masculine thing," says Tegart. "It ties in to Jan's recent work with war and memory and was also something that connected with the actual gallery space and was site-specific."

In this decorative and emotive installation, Fieldsend, who is also the Director of the University of Sydney's Tin Sheds Gallery, has made nearly 500 "medal-like" rosettes from crepe paper, which are plastered over the gallery's walls, while bandage-like strips of paper flow from the ceiling.

"I knew this place used to house a collection of war decorations so it tied in really well," says Jan Fieldsend. "I loved the decoration in the gallery, the ceilings and I loved the chapel-like sense of the space. I want people to appreciate the space."

Fieldsend, whose father was a World War II veteran, says this personal exhibition follows on from her previous work, Camouflage. "More than ten years ago I started doing little sketches of my father from World War II and it went from there," says Fieldsend. "Camouflage looked at how all the decorations of war - the ribbons, the medals - were a camouflage for the reality of what goes on. outpouring is a reference to grieving, crying, some sort of outpouring of emotion."

To coincide with the opening of outpouring, Jan Fieldsend will discuss the inspiration behind her work at 2pm on Sunday, 6 May 2007, at the University Art Gallery. The talk, which is free, will be followed by drinks to officially open the exhibition. (Bookings can be made on (02) 9351 6883 or artcollection@usyd.edu.au)

outpouring closes on 8 June, 2007.

Editor's note:

The University Art Gallery is situated in the northern end of the University of Sydney's historic Quadrangle and is one of Sydney's best kept secrets. The gallery acts as a bridge-like connection between the Quadrangle and the Macleay Building on Science Road and was first designed by architect Leslie Wilkinson in the 1920s and eventually completed in 1958.

The gallery, along with the University's Nicholson Museum and Macleay Museum, is open 10am to 4.30pm, Monday to Friday, and noon to 4pm on the first Sunday of each month. Admission free. Further information: http://www.usyd.edu.au/museums.

For further information please contact Louise Tegart, Senior Curator at the University Art Gallery on (02) 9351 4004 or l.tegart@usyd.edu.au or Media Officer Katrina O'Brien on 02 9036 7842 or k.obrien@usyd.edu.au.