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Clara Bradley

Where are you from? What is important to you?

I grew up on the coast in East Gippsland, I’m very much an ocean/paddock kind of human. 

Expression, movement – constant –  production, self-awareness, Stoicism and learning are important to me. 

 

Where do you source your inspiration?

Most of my inspiration comes from anecdotal experiences and memory, I’m inspired and hugely grateful for the strong, creative women in my life also always literature and nature – specifically flowers. 

 

Can you describe your first experience with feminism, or perhaps when you first identified as a feminist?

I always believed that equality and Feminism should be innate, I was lucky to have been raised in a very politically open environment. But as I grow and function within difference spheres – Art and professional – I feel the need to be less quiet with my ideals. Unfortunately sometimes it can take a bad experience or bad treatment in order to open one’s eyes to the reality of issues like sexism. 

 

Sleepover Club is about collective action and art making, but also about joining the broader conversation on feminism, how does your work translate the female experience?

My work not only historically references the feminine via the medium embroidery/textiles – Freud posited that female Hysteria was a madness induced by hours of needlework - but also in hue and tactility pale colours and touchable softness. 

I examine through a female lens inherently and am personally concerned with the idea of female dislocation the notion that as our reproductive organs are internal we are genetically positioned in a state of repression, quietness and it is more difficult to associate identity with sex as opposed to in regard to the male experience of genitalia. (Please note this is very much a personal anxiety and not something that I prescribe or generalise with). 

My most recent solo show saw three grown men cloaked and photographed publicly in nothing but a pale, pink, hand-sewn linen kimono. This action was very much looking at play with gendered expectations/demands, referencing the over exposure (commodification) of the female form.

 

Can you speak about the themes and issues you explore in your work?

Mainly I investigate intimacy and memory through a prism concerned with gender. This encompasses preservation and sense of selves, selves functioning within shared and remembered moments. 

Naturally in 2015 my practice has been looking at how digital communication constructs have affected the intimate realm. 

 

Have you encountered sexism in your personal experience of the art world?

Thus far no, I’ve been really lucky to collaborate with, bounce off of, work around and be supported by a sea of hugely strong, female creative thinkers. To be perfectly honest the feeling from achieving alongside and sharing with other female creatives is something that propels my practice.

 

What do you think needs to change in the art world before women are on par with men?

I feel it’s a greater reflection of issues that are ignored in the wider society although a more present and commonly accepted depiction of the male form may be a good start. 

 

Can you share with us your favourite female artists/activists/role models?

Artists like Laura Splan and Karla Black, both of which have used cosmetics and materials in their practice; the latter following finding it incredibly difficult to be perceived on the merit of her pieces functioning in spaces as opposed to being female works commenting on female problems.  

Always Louise Bourgeois whose quote: “I have failed as a wife, as a woman, as a mother, as a hostess, as an artist, as a business woman, as a friend, as a daughter, as a sister. I have not failed as a truth seeker…” is carried with me everyday, rings in my ears at inopportune moments and feels to me as if a worthy end goal. 

And of course Sontag and Anais Nin, Spy in the House of Love is thunderous and life-changing. 

Art: clarabradley.net

Contact: claraemckay@gmail.com

 

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