Commonwealth and Council

Conjuring Radical Openness

Jemima Wyman


Conjuring Radical Openness is an exhibition of new textile work and bronze sculpture by Jemima Wyman that propagates the act of masking by protestors and rebels in recent years of fevered uprising around the globe into the fold.

Drawing on her vast, personal image archive of demonstrators, Wyman continues her investigation of visual resistance tactics employed in zones of conflict. The new floor-to-ceiling textile work, created using online DIY fabric-printing technology, is influenced by the motifs used in fabric designs of 20s and 30s Soviet propaganda. These bolts of fabric adopt tactics of subterfuge—kaleidoscopic and hypnotic pattern generation through repetition—to rally the people.

Wyman’s contemporary icons of subversive signification represent masking as an invitation by the collective body for ‘radical openness.’ The mask, as a sign of anonymous solidarity, provides its wearer practical and psychological powers to participate in collective dissent to be open and fearless in one’s actions. The bronze sculpture of a bust cast from a mold of draped t-shirts embody an invisible presence, conjuring the magic of past theatrical tricksters in all of their humorous deviance all the while armoring the activist with camouflage and power. This is a monument to anonymous protesters, the shared collective face and the potential of the social imagination.

Jemima Wyman is a Los Angeles-based artist from Brisbane, Australia. Wyman’s individual practice spans various mediums and focuses on visual resistance and the politics of fabric and masking. She has exhibited at the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art (Japan), the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (Melbourne), the Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney) and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles). In 2012, for The Unexpected Guest: Liverpool Biennial, Wyman was commissioned by FACT to make a large-scale public engagement project. Her most recent solo exhibitions include Tactical Frivolity at Milani Gallery in Brisbane, Effacing Power at Steve Turner Contemporary in Los Angeles, and Pattern Bandits at the Gallery of Modern Art in Australia. Her collaboration with Anna Mayer as CamLab celebrates their 10th anniversary while being the Wanlass Artist in Residence at Occidental College and the exhibition "With Respect To..." at Weingart Gallery until January 17, 2016.