Humble cup of tea inspires new art exhibition in Bundaberg-NewsCO

February 8, 2017

Posted

February 08, 2017 17:03:17

The ritual of having a cuppa has inspired 14 contemporary artists to create artworks in the You, Me and a Cup of Tea exhibition that has opened in Bundaberg, Queensland.

Exhibition curator Zoe Blandford said she wanted to put together an exhibition that paid homage to the pleasure and ritual of tea drinking.

“I am definitely a tea drinker. Everyone at work knows that I am the tea maker here,” she said.

“I wanted to explore the role that tea plays in our lives, its social significance.”

Kim Schoenberger, one of the artists whose work is featured in the exhibition, makes delicate butterflies out of used tea bags.

Ms Schoenberger said her unusual choice of material had started at home.

“My partner drank a lot of tea and I started collecting them,” she said.

“I came to love the texture of the materials.”

Ms Schoenberger now relies on the community to help her gather the volume of tea bags she needs.

Her artwork on display at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery is made up of nearly 3,000 butterflies, made from tea bags she has emptied, ironed, folded and printed on.

The tea bag butterflies are presented pinned to the walls, which Ms Schoenberger said was deliberately reminiscent of a museological insect display.

“It’s to draw the viewer in, so people can have a good close look at the work,” she said.

“The installation is all about transformation.”

Helping others inspired a new direction

Susan Gorley is an interdisciplinary artist who uses discarded waste materials to make edible-looking cardboard sculptures.

In the exhibition she has suspended 21 glass plates, all stacked with French patisserie-styled sculptures.

Ms Gorley said she became interested in creating cardboard sculptures when she began running art therapy classes for a drug and alcohol residence program in Bangalow, on the New South Wales far north coast.

“On my first day I was really quite nervous. I hadn’t done this before, I didn’t quite know what to do,” she said.

So Ms Gorley decided to research waste and other low cost art materials in order to do cardboard sculpture.

“I like to use materials that are just lying around that other people overlook,” she said.

“Also I was being mindful of the fact that I had 30 residents at different levels of detoxing essentially, and not all of them were artistically minded.”

Ms Gorley said the program had been so well received it ended up running for seven weeks, and set her own art production on a new path.

“I got inspired by what they were doing. I wanted to do it as well,” she said.

Ms Gorley said she decided on patisseries as her subject matter because they held an allure and a perceived high value.

That is in stark contrast to the waste materials of cardboard, polystyrene and paper Ms Gorley uses to create her sculptures.

She said it was this contrast of materials and subject matter that enabled her to explore themes of consumerism.

“The work itself becomes a metaphor,” Ms Gorley said.

“I’ve used a culinary aesthetic as everyone can relate to food.”

Ms Blanford said she had intended the exhibition to be multi-layered

“While the exhibition appears quite whimsical on the surface, the artists are exploring deeper themes,” she said.

The exhibition is on display at Bundaberg Regional Art Gallery until March 19.

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