Kate Power, 'Unknowing' (video still) 2017

Phebe Schmidt, Wife without kisses 1, 2016, archival pigment print, 86cm x 113cm

5 July—18 August

Phebe Schmidt (VIC)
Kate Power (SA)

ACE Open interstate presentation


West Space
Level 1, 225 Bourke Street
Melbourne VIC 3000

When you open your mouth to speak is a West Space and ACE Open co-commission that brings together new bodies of work by South Australian artist Kate Power and Melbourne-based photographer Phebe Schmidt. Through the dual exploration of internal and outer worlds, both artists consider the way we relate to one another and social constructions – both real and imagined; acknowledging a sense of awkwardness and absurdity along the way.

In Kate Power’s new body of sculptural installation and video, the artist attempts to process grief through a repetitive and accumulative process that reconsiders studio detritus as material that has been put aside. Employing materiality to explore the interconnection of the body and mind in a time of discomfort, When you open your mouth to speak continues Power’s interest in embodying emotional states and relations through artistic practice. Phebe Schmidt will present a series of meditative yet disquieting video and photographic portraits that continue her interest in unsettling generic standards of feminine beauty. Via the construction of female archetypes, Schmidt’s hyper-real portraits consider the impact of ageing, consumerism and objectification, amongst other ideas, on the private and public lives of women.

PHEBE SCHMIDT is a Melbourne-based photographer who investigates ideas about self, constructed and imagined, through fictional characters’ absurdist roleplaying intermeshed with decontexualised objects. Through this experimentation she seeks to understand contemporary anxieties associated with authenticity and methods of “fitting in” that can exacerbate an emotionally charged alienation from self. Schmidt has exhibited in both solo and group shows nationally and internationally. Most recently as part of On Being, The Honeymoon Suite, Melbourne, 2017. On completion of her recent studies at RMIT, Schmidt was awarded a three-month residency at the renowned Eastside International Los Angeles artist complex by RMIT’s School of Art.

KATE POWER is an artist and writer based in Adelaide. Her practice embraces video, performance, textiles, sculpture and installation to investigate coexistence and enforced social constructions that can complicate the way people relate to one another. Power is a graduate with first class Honours from the South Australian School of Art and was awarded the Constance Gordon-Johnson Sculpture and Installation Prize. Power has exhibited at the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia (SA); BLINDSIDE (VIC); Seventh Gallery (VIC); Fontanelle (SA); Paper Mountain (WA); FELTspace (SA); and at Light Square Gallery (SA). She has recently undertaken residencies at The British School at Rome, NARS Foundation in Brooklyn and at SIM in Reykjavik, Iceland.

This project is supported by the Helpmann Academy.