Black Velvet

2013

black velvet, tent poles
1550H x 1550W x 8mmD

Series: Interior Frames

A Monochrome – in title, form and materials, Black Velvet is also the Frame for a dark narrative about gender, race and art. Aligning Minimalism and Modernism with the practice of Black Velvet painting (encompassing religious painting, exotic island scenes of bare-breasted women, and contemporary kitsch), this square velvet bleeds high and low art. The phrase 'black velvet' was used by colonising white Australian bushmen to describe sexual encounters with Aboriginal women – in an era when a blind eye was turned to the rape of indigenous women. Emotive, sensual and political, the stretched skin-like sheath clings to the wall; also suggesting a burqa or a niqab – contentious, revealing and concealing. Both aggressive and permissive, the small hemmed slit centred at eye height, reveals the white wall. Sliced open and exposed, Black Velvet offers a flat screen for viewing perceptions about women and the politics of the body as territory.