Siri Hayes’s recent show of photographs and embroidery, All you knit is love is tricky to write about as I was left quite satisfied feeling the love of family, nature, and life in general. CCP is open on Sundays now so I popped in not knowing what was on. Siri’s exhibition fills the main gallery and visitors are welcomed with the homely stitched wall hangings that adorn the hallway before entering the space. For this show Siri’s great sense of exploration, intuition and play draw her toward parks and landscapes around Barcelona, where she generously shares the family experience of living and art making during a recent OzCo residency.
Among the park and landscape photos, the work Visual diaries has a Caspar David Friedrich feel. The viewer stands before an epic Spanish landscape with four coloured visual diaries, one for mother, father, daughter and son placed on a rock in the foreground of the photo, like some sort of family tribute to Mother Nature’s wonder. Another large photo, The edge-skin shows a park that looks like a huge green crater (actually an old quarry) dug into the surrounding grey man-scape. Your eyes float around the park before focusing on the small man and child, Siri’s partner Paul and daughter Luella, who sit making a clay sculpture in response to the large public work by Eduardo Chillida that is suspended from the cliffy area of the park in the background. Siri explained it was an attempt at forming a relationship with the natural and cultural landscape of Barcelona and took place as locals walked around enjoying the warm winter sun.
The subjects flow from outdoors to indoors with close-up self-portrait of Siri and also a portrait of Paul in front of a decorative Art Nouveau-style wall relief. Siri overlaps the portrait of Paul with an intricate embroidery that follows the leaves and lines in the wall relief. Stitching into the face of a loved one could seem a little voodoo and Siri explained to me that it did feel strange as she worked on the image for six months, but a tender touch and interaction with life is present throughout All you knit is love. Exiting the show I was really desperate to get some kind of catalogue but fittingly all that accompanied the work is a response in poem form written by Geraldine Barlow. It leaves space for your mind to wander.
Siri Hayes, All you knit is love, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne, 13 April – 27 May 2012.