Artist Maggy J is exploring lockdown life in her body of work No Exit.
Sculptures made from recycled wire and bottle caps are part of a Nelson artist’s exploration of life in a pandemic.
Nelson artist Maggy J is currently exhibiting her work at Refinery Artspace on Hardy St.
Called No Exit, the body of work explores two of Maggy’s key themes – environmentalism and women’s rights – through a lockdown lens.
Faced with a lack of materials during alert level 4, the philosophy of “using what you had” was a big theme in this body of work, Maggy said.
The artist used recycled syringes, glass lenses, and wire from washing machines in her sculptures.
Two dresses are made from crocheted solenoid wire, donated from a local church organ.
The dresses’ designs were based on Maggy’s great-grandmother’s nightdresses, brought over in her trousseau from County Cork.
Maggy deliberately crocheted the wire like a net to create juxtaposition between the high necked fashion of the 19th century and the see-through wire weaving. Working the fine metal was like crocheting spider’s web, she said.
The artist spoke of the maths of crochet being developed by hundreds of women in times past. Alongside knitting and weaving, crochet had been trivialised in our society instead of being recognised as the art form it was, she said.
The individual work titled No Exit is made from wine bottle caps and wire. It was inspired by the “cacophony of information” Maggie experienced while seeing an increased amount of signage around town.
The work represented the lack of control over their own lives people were experiencing due to the ongoing pandemic.
“We are caught in a cul-de-sac. Our world, our horizons and our control over our lives has been diminished.”
The recycled bottle caps Maggy used in her work were flawed and imperfect, a deliberate choice on her part.
“I’m not pretending it’s brand-new material, it’s deliberately not.”
“I see that as a celebration.”
Maggie J is exhibiting her body of work, No Exit, from September 21 to October 14 at Refinery Artspace, 114 Hardy St.
The arts are proving a powerful tool to help Kiwis get through the Covid-19 pandemic.
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