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Window Gallery

  • Tanks from Unembedded (detail) 2009

    Maker: Jill Studd
    Materials: knitted wool
    Courtesy of the artist. Photograph: Laura Howard
  • Tanks from Unembedded (detail) 2009

    Maker: Jill Studd
    Materials: knitted wool
    Courtesy of the artist. Photograph: Laura Howard
  • Installation view

  • Green Cuisine 2000

    Maker: Jill Studd
    Materials: knitted wool
    Courtesy of the artist. Photograph: Laura Howard
  • Proletarian Plates (Nurse, Sailor, Scientist) - installation 2002

    Maker: Jill Studd
    Materials: knitting wool
    Courtesy of the artist. Photograph: Laura Howard

Jill Studd: Unembedded

20 April 2012 - 06 June 2012

Jill Studd's evocation of some of the most challenging contemporary global issues presented through the domestic medium of knitting wool is charged by a particular appreciation for the prosaic. This installation of evocatively titled "knittings" - Unembedded, Green Cuisine and the Proletarian Plates - eschews any of the domestic vestiges that might be associated with knitting or wool, rather occupying the realm of political or protest art. 

Presenting motifs from our contemporary political lexicon in knitted form, Studd's work offers a subtle commentary and reminder of the global issues we currently contemplate, ranging from warfare to mass production and consumption. The Unembedded knittings of tanks and troop carriers were made by Studd as part of a large anti-war installation. Referencing unembedded or independent journalism, the pastel tones mock the conventional camouflage colouration of military vehicles.

First exhibited as part of Keep off the Grass: Artists against Genetic Engineering at Pataka and then at the Green Party headquarters, Green Cuisine presents a set of perfectly polished vegetables, without blemishes or bruises, questioning our food choices and our prioritisation of appearance over content. Proletarian Plates (Nurse, Sailor, Scientist) considers the issues of mass production, the redeployment of Maoist 1950s motifs and the penetration of cheap Chinese wares into the New Zealand market. Searching for vestiges of Chinese culture in these objects, Studd explores the residual cultural qualities of these mass produced consumer goods within a New Zealand context. 

Studd's choice to work in the two dimensional rather than the three dimensional realm more commonly associated with knitting can be seen as a reference to newspaper cuttings and the stenciled simplicity of political posters which both inform her choice of subject matter. The cheerful colours and decorative aspect of her knittings belie the disquieting implications of her work. Studd's appropriation and exploration of the concept of preciousness positions her as a shrewd commentator about contemporary culture.
  
Jill Studd graduated from Ilam School of Fine Arts, University of Canterbury (1972) and has worked as a publishing researcher, designer and gallery registrar. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions at public galleries in New Zealand and England since the 1980s. Her work is held in the collection of Te Manawa Museum and many private collections. Jill Studd currently lives in Wellington.

Laura Howard