Strange Embrace

Curated by Rilka Oakley
30 May – 19 July 2015

Strange Embrace is an exhibition resulting from five artists working in a variety of art forms including experimental, new media, installation, action research, live art and photography to create artwork addressing the theme of “edges” or “comfort zones” with regard to interactions with strangers. Finding ourselves in odd or unusual situations with another human being can mean embarrassment, awkward silence, random exchanges or uncanny recognition. The works in Strange Embrace all explore the edges of what is comfortable with regard to social encounters.

The exhibition will have a significant proportion of interactive works that invite the audience to engage with the concept of intimacy and comfort zones. This engagement goes beyond traditional watching or viewing – in many of the works the audience become an essential element in the work – and in terms of testing comfort zones with regard to social interactions the experience is fully immersive – boundaries are pushed, limits tested and intimacy gained.

Astra Howard’s Action Research pieces and Honi Ryan’s Social Sculptures rely on audience/public participation. These artists both create work that sits outside of the gallery frame and both have also had success with bringing these works into the formal setting of the gallery. Daniel Kojta, Anne Graham and Cath Barcan all have a theatrical/performative element to their work. Daniel Kojta uses mirrors and geometry, anamorphosis and catoptrics, to negotiate the space between the visible and invisible, shifting perceptions in the negotiation of meaning. Anne Graham explores communities, places and histories in order to form installations that become a form of portraiture, creating objects that function aesthetically and have a life of their own but carry with them the intensity of experience. Cath Barcan’s often surreal photographs give a sense of anticipation that something is about to happen.


working strange embrace duel image

CATH BARCAN unknown conversations 2015 (detail) archival pigment prints

A Blue Mountains Cultural Centre exhibition curated by Rilka Oakley

In association with Bilpin international ground for Creative initiatives





Panel Discussion

18 July, 1:00pm – 3:00pm

For an insight into the Strange Embrace exhibition join Blue Mountains Cultural Centre curator Rilka Oakley, exhibiting artists Cath Barcan and Daniel Kojta with Kevin Sheehan and Sydney College of the Arts lecturer Nicholas Tsoutas for a free floor talk.

RSVPs appreciated at Reception or 4780 5410.