Mori Gallery, Sydney
Private collection, Sydney
Hi(s)story: A Small Reminder, Mori Gallery, Sydney, 1986
‘When Narelle Jubelin mounted her Hi(s)story: A Small Reminder exhibition at the Mori Gallery in 1986, the message was as apt as its materialism. The show consisted of embroidered miniatures of historic monuments around Sydney, mounted in sardonically ornate frames from second-hand shops. Everyone appreciated the point of the petit point. The ironic twist of a woman artist exploiting the patriarchy’s trivialisation of embroidery as “mere” domestic art to brings its own heroic pretensions down to size was like a breathe of fresh air in the ponderous atmosphere of contemporary High Art” (Vivienne Johnson, ‘People Deliver Art’, Narelle Jubelin - Trade Delivers People, Aperto, La Biennale di Venezia, 1990, exhibition catalogue, unpaginated)
“Needlework is traditionally a supremely feminine medium - passive, repetitive, labour intensive and gently appealing. However Jubelin deploys these qualities deliberately in order to ‘seduce’ the viewer; her tiny representations of New South Wales’ public parklands and monuments are indeed exquisitely appealing, but they are no more innocent than the scenes they represent. As Jubelin wrote concerning her exhibition at Mori’s Gallery in October 1986, ‘His Story tells of patriarchal colonisation. Each sequence of accidents and unforeseen events ‘echoing the tales their forefather's told’ weaves the elaborate fabric of culture…. The form is familiar and insidious. Parklands eulogise, warfare gracing their monuments as tacit bastions of male power. The founding days are over but the select restoration of their relics conserves the consistency of the patterns” (Bronwyn Hanna, Review Paper ‘The Subversive Stitch’, Transition, RMIT, Melbourne, July 1987.
Image courtesy of the artist