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Work of the Week | 9 January 2023

CAG.908 Kathy Prendergast, Untitled, 1985, watercolour and gold leaf on paper, 56.5 x 76.2 cm. Presented, 1989. © the artist.


Untitled (1985) by Kathy Prendergast is part of a selection of works that Corban Walker has selected for inclusion in his exhibition AS FAR AS I CAN SEE.

‘In this work,’ Walker ponders, ‘I’m split in two minds with the beautiful figurative watercolour on paper from her anatomical series. The sensuality of the pose and gestures are elevated by the introduction of gold-leaf flickering across the paper with an arm stretched in desire. And yet I'm reading the arm as an awareness of how the body resists domination from unwanted gaze, comment and on my own personal level, mythical mauling.’

Holding ‘a profound resonance’ for Walker, this watercolour with gold leaf elements follows Prendergast’s Body Map series (1983) which combined representations of the female body and landscape in its exploration of issues of colonisation, exploitation, and ownership. The modulations of form and colour in Untitled offer an emotional, even poetic meditation on the human body.

In 2015, Prendergast’s own exhibition OR occupied some of the same spaces as Walker’s current show. ‘Since her undergraduate years,’ he reflects, ‘when she bolted out into the artworld, her work has consistently demanded the viewer to rethink, look again and value the intricacy of her exquisite works.’

Untitled (1985) by Kathy Prendergast is presently featured in AS FAR AS I CAN SEE, which must close this Sunday 15 January.

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