Through collage, painting, textile, installation, and sculpture, Jemima Wyman explores camouflage and surveillance in global protest movements. In recent works Wyman parses the techniques and accoutrements of masked protesters using the language of biology, particularly aposematism: an animal’s protective coloring, particularly black and yellow, which signals warning or danger to potential predators.
Since 2008, Wyman has collected and archived a vast amount of protest imagery, particularly of masks, costumes, patterned fabric, and visual symbols used by movements or individuals.This visual lexicon of resistance identifies “collective skins” found among movements as diverse as black bloc, Operation Vendetta, the Occupy movement, Free Pussy Riot, Black Lives Matter, Umbrella Revolution, Extinction Rebellion, and the Yellow Vests movement. A recent body of work titled Flourish collages animals, insects and flowers with instances of imagery used in international protests—angry ears of corn decrying GMOs, a sunflower emblazoned with “CLIMATE JUSTICE,” a dog in a bee costume mobilized against Monsanto. Reminiscent of William Morris’ Victorian wallpapers and kaleidoscopic in their symmetry and surreal juxtapositions of imagery, the collages exemplify what Wyman terms ‘ideological textiles’— decoration used as a visual tool for communicating collective desires.
Jemima Wyman (b. Sydney, Australia; lives and works in Los Angeles and Brisbane) received her MFA from California Institute of Art in 2007 and BA from Queensland University of Technology. Recent solo exhibitions have been held at Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney (2019); Commonwealth and Council, Los Angeles (2018); Milani Gallery, Brisbane (2015); and Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane (2015). Wyman has participated in group exhibitions at Blackwood Gallery, University of Toronto (2020); Chronus Art Center, Shanghai (2019); La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris (2019); ZKM, Germany (2018); Shepparton Art Museum, Australia (2017); Human Resources, Los Angeles (2017); and Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2015).