Some like it hot, curated by Wendy Garden, brings together two of the Northern Territory’s most respected artists: Franck Gohier and Therese Ritchie in an exhibition that reflects upon gender trouble in the tropics. Both Gohier and Ritchie consider the performative nature of gender, tracing the intersections between sweat, sex, desire and discord in Australia’s hottest and most remote capital city.
Throughout history, climate has been held accountable for a range of behaviours and intense heat associated with inertia, sloth, promiscuity and violence. Art historian Andrew McNamara notes that the tropics have been seen as a space ‘beyond humanity and civilisation’, a place that for many carried a threat of anarchy and chaos.
Alluding to gender stereotypes popularised in mid-twentieth century comic books, romance narratives and action films, Franck Gohier creates paintings and prints that deploy a pop art aesthetic to question sexualised binaries. Drawing upon narratives of fraught masculinity and trapped femininity, he humorously probes gendered expressions of love and strife in the sweltering heat of the Top End. Other works take their cue from recent superhero narratives depicting women as action heroes wrestling crocodiles or fighting the bad guys. Through parody, Gohier exposes the limited range of positions inscribed in many popular culture texts and the heterosexist frameworks that reinforce particular ways of being.
Gohier’s practice is built upon a vast cultural substratum that spans the disciplines of art-making, social commentary, and historical inquiry – mobilising elements of all, without ever committing to one.
Tai Mitsuji, writer, art historian and curator
In contrast many of Therese Ritchie’s depictions are informed by the everyday scenes she witnesses on the streets around her. Her camera lens observes quarrels and clashes and men behaving badly, intoxicated by the Territory’s drinking culture. As cultural observer Susan Carson notes ‘as the temperature rises, so too does the propensity for violence.’ This regularly plays out in Darwin, a city with the highest rates of alcohol consumption per capita in Australia. Ritchie’s photographs are worked up into digital collages informed by art historical precedents. She is interested in the legacy of heterosexist frameworks that segregate gender into binary categories denying more nuanced understandings. In a number of images, she spotlights more fluid enactments to open up gender to a broader range of embodiment.
At the heart of Therese Ritchie’s extensive oeuvre … is a refusal to compromise as an artist. Her work is deliberately historically derivative in style, but clearly empowering … and brandishes its politics for the benefit of developing a greater awareness of the lives of individuals enlarged upon through Ritchie’s journalistic agency and love of storytelling.
Chips Mackinolty, artist and collaborator
As the temperature rises around the world through global warming, Some like it hot presents a timely opportunity to explore the synergies and tensions in the relationship between heat, place and gendered behaviour.
Curator & Artists
ABOUT THE CURATOR
Wendy Garden is an Independent Curator and her most recent curatorial position was as the Australian Art Curator at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. She holds a doctorate in art history from the University of Melbourne and a Masters of Arts research degree. Her writing and research interests focus on contemporary Australian art and photography. Previously Senior Curator at the Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery in Victoria, she has held curatorial positions at a number of public galleries and museums in Melbourne. She has over twenty years’ experience curating exhibitions including solo artist retrospectives, group shows and touring exhibitions. Recent curatorial projects include ‘Therese Ritchie: burning hearts’ (2019-20) and ‘Between the Moon and the stars’ (2019) both held at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory; ‘On the beach’, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (2015), ‘Storm in a teacup’, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (2015) and ‘A curious evolution: Rose Farrell & George Parkin’, Deakin University Art Gallery (2015).
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Franck Gohier b. 1968 Brittany, St Nazaire, France arr. Australia 1972
People interest me the most. Their cultural backgrounds, views on life, motives, fears, aspirations and so on. And also how these elements help shape history and events. I often feature elements of the Territory to speak about the vitality of my own experiences living here and how this part of Australia is simply a microcosm that reflects all of humanity. ‘Same but different’ as we say in the North.
Franck Gohier, artist
Franck Gohier has developed a national profile for his satirical paintings and prints which are informed by his political and social consciousness honed from living in Darwin.
Gohier was born in Brittany, France and arrived in Australia as a child accompanied by his parents. The family moved to Darwin three years later in 1975 in the aftermath of Cyclone Tracy. Gohier completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in printmaking at the Northern Territory University (Charles Darwin University) in 1991 and has had an ongoing exhibiting career since 1987.
He was a lecturer and technician in the Printmaking Department of the Northern Territory University in the 1990s and together with George Watts and Leon Stainer set up print workshops which became known as Northern Editions in 1996. During this period Gohier collaborated on limited edition prints with various Indigenous communities and setup an art program for Aboriginal inmates at Berrimah Prison in collaboration with Correctional Services and 24HR Art. He established Red Hand Prints with Shaun Postie in 1997, an open access studio that held community workshops and actively supported the printmaking activities of Indigenous artists.
Gohier has exhibited widely around Australia and in Germany and Indonesia. He was the subject of a major retrospective held at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in 2018 entitled ‘Franck Gohier: A thousand miles from everywhere’ and his work has been included in numerous group exhibitions including ‘Streetwise: contemporary street culture’, National Gallery of Australia, 2015 and ‘The Phantom show’ – an exhibition that travelled to regional galleries in New South Wales from 2015 to 2016. Other exhibitions include the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Canberra Museum and Art Gallery; Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney; Fremantle Arts Centre; Cairns Regional Gallery; Griffith Regional Art Gallery; Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery; Tweed River Art Gallery; Tamworth Regional Art Gallery; Wagga Wagga Art Gallery; Dubbo Regional Gallery and Hazlehurst Regional Gallery amongst others. He has held residencies at the University of Wollongong and Casula Powerhouse Museum.
His work is held in major institutional collections around Australia and private collections in New Zealand, China, Hong Kong, France, Germany, Netherlands, South America and the United States. Gohier is represented by Mitchell Fine Art, Brisbane and James Makin Gallery, Melbourne.
Therese Ritchie b. Newcastle 1961
We all have our blank spots where we don’t want to look at stuff, but if I find that I am resisting life, I make art about it to help understand and feel it. If you take something on board and feel into it, you can develop more compassion and empathy; tease it out and maybe make a picture about it. There’s nothing more satisfying than being able to make a picture about a complicated issue.
Therese Ritchie, artist
Therese Ritchie is critically acclaimed for her astute social commentary combined with pathos, humour and an unwavering eye for the poetic resonances in the everyday.
She moved to Darwin from Sydney in 1981 and has been an exhibiting artist since 1986. She completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Northern Territory University (Charles Darwin University) in 1985 and undertook further studies at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne. She completed a Graduate Diploma in Film and Television/Animation in 1999 and in the same year was awarded the Australian Children’s Television Foundation Best Animation. She completed a Masters by Research in Visual Arts at Charles Darwin University in 2004.
Ritchie was a freelance photographer for the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Time and Who Magazine amongst others and has worked as a designer/illustrator and photographer on numerous assignments including projects for the Darwin Legal Service and Territory Health Services. She was inaugural co-director of Green Ant Research Arts and Publishing with Chips Mackinolty in 1991 and was the photographer and designer for three publications published by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission including the 1997 Royal Commission into the Separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children from their Families. She lectured in Graphic Design at the Northern Territory University between 2000 and 2002.
Ritchie won the Fremantle Print Award in 2000 for a collaborative work with Chips Mackinolty. In 2007 she was awarded an Australia Council for the Arts, Australian Artist in Residency at the 18th Street Arts Centre in Los Angeles where she spent three months making work in response to the plight of people on Skid Row.
An exhibition with Chips Mackinolty was held at the Charles Darwin University Gallery in 2010 and in 2019 a major survey exhibition of her work, ‘Therese Ritchie: burning hearts’, opened at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory. In 2012 she was invited to participate in the exhibition ‘Contemporary Australia: Women’ at the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art and other group exhibitions include the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney; Perth Institute of Contemporary Art; Fremantle Arts Centre; Lismore Regional Art Gallery; Flinders University Art Museum and Mosman Art Gallery amongst others. She has also been invited to exhibit in France and Indonesia. Her work is held in several major collections in Australia.
Therese Ritchie is a truth teller. She tells the truth about this country and its history. Her work reflects the collision points of denial in our society, points that are everywhere you look.Lorena Allam, journalist, presenter and producer, ABC Radio National
Gohier’s work sits in an intersection between the global and the local, and its magic lies in the way it situates the international phenomenon of Pop Art within a very local and regional context. As a result, Gohier represents a truly global, multifarious artist in the non-threatening guise of the bloke next door.Glenn Barkley, artist, writer and curator, 2018
‘Looking at Art: Franck Gohier’Anita Angel, Curator CDU Art Collection & Art Gallery, 2011
‘Activate-Cultivate — a red letter day for the art of the nomads’Chips Mackinolty and Franck Gohier, 2011
At the heart of Therese Ritchie’s extensive oeuvre represented here — the burning heart if you will — is a refusal to compromise as an artist. Her work is deliberately historically derivative in style, but clearly empowering to a community, and brandishes its politics for the benefit of developing a greater awareness of the lives of individuals enlarged upon through Ritchie’s journalistic agency and love of storytelling.Chips Mackinolty, visual artist and writer, 'Therese Ritchie: Burning Hearts', Artlink, 2020
‘Get well soon! A diagnosis: Therese Ritchie and Chips Mackinolty’Rhianna Patrick, AWAYE! ABC Radio National, 2014
‘The Art Show: Franck Gohier’Namila Benson, ABC Radio National, 2019
‘The Art Show: Therese Ritchie’Ed Ayres, ABC Radio National, 2019
‘Franck Gohier: A thousand Miles from Everywhere’Sian Darling, Art Guide Australia