Reissue of historic photographic series by 70s feminist performance artist Jill Orr

Art Press Release from Australia. Published by Rebecca Gabrielle Cannon on Tuesday 17 May 2011.

1979 Performance for the camera incorporated into live event(s). image 1979 Performance for the camera incorporated into live event(s). image 1979 Performance for the camera incorporated into live event(s). image

Jenny Port Gallery in Melbourne, Australia is currently showing an exciting re-release of photographs documenting an historic performance from 1979 by Australian artist Jill Orr.

Although some of the original photographs are in National collections (The most assembled is a series of thirteen images that were purchased in 1979 by the National Gallery of Victoria. The National Gallery of Australia also acquired a set of four), this is the first time the complete set of 21 images has been asssembled as a photographic series.
The work, titled Bleeding Trees was an early environmental work where the body was used as an “emotional barometer” placed in empathy with the natural and unnatural life cycles of trees.
The empathy enlisted through the viewer is through identification with the human body. As female, the early feminist critique places the naked female body as "pandering to the male gaze”. In an environmental sense the gaze is inclusive of both male and female towards the overarching environment within which all are reliant participants.
This work consists of twenty-one images that were photographed in various Victorian landscapes. These slides were projected within the live performance(s).
Much has been written about this work, keeping it active within the collective imaginary. The reading as feminist, environmental and in some instances religious, touches on issues that have active currency now, although very much grounded in the late 1970’s.
Jenny Port Gallery on Artabase
Exhibition History:
Bleeding Trees was first performed in the 1979 Third Sydney Biennale, European Dialogue, Gallery of New South Wales.
It was performed live again in the1980, Paris Biennale Musee D`Art Modern, Paris. These were the only two live performances. The work has since been represented photographically.
The first edition was a series of thirteen images shown, in 1980, at Arts Project Gallery, Melbourne and at the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane.
The Bleeding Trees photographic series was exhibited in London at the Institute of Contemporary Art, in Eureka, Artists from Australia 1982, curated by Leon Parisien and Burnese Murphy
From Field to Figuration, National Gallery of Victoria, curated by Robert Lindsay, 1986
Bleeding Trees and Lunch with the Birds photographs have toured within Australia in1980,1989 & 1991
Exhibition locations:
Experimental Art Foundation, Adelaide; Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane;
Canberra Contemporary Art Space; Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne;
Geelong Art Gallery; Bendigo Art Gallery; Mildura Arts Centre
2008 Heat: Art and Climate Change , RMIT Gallery, curated by Suzanne Davies and Linda Williams.
Bleeding Trees publishing details:
Anne Marsh has referenced the work in her recent book The Darkroom: Photography and the Theatre of Desire Macmillan, Melbourne 2003
Anne Marsh Body and Self: Performance Art in Australia 1969 – 92, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, 1993
Anne Marsh, catalogue essay Jill Orr, Performance Documentation 1978- 1988, The “I” in the Gaze, The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 1989
Anne Marsh Performing histories and the myth of Place: A Female Menace n.paradoxa: International Feminist Art Journal Volume 3 1999, p 6 – 9
Jane Magon, Spirituality in Contemporary Australian Art: Some Contexts and Issues in interpretation, Artlink Volume 18, No 1 March 1998, p38-42
Sandy Kirby, Sightlines: Women’s Art and feminist Perspectives in Australia Craftsman House, Gordon & Breach, NSW Australia1992
Jane Magon Religion, Literature and Art Australian International Conference, 1994 ed. Michael Griffith and Ross Keating
Lou Chamberlain, Art in Sight, McGraw Hill Book Co. 1996
National Gallery of Victoria, Federation Square opening exhibition catalogue, Fieldwork, curated by Jason Smith and Charles Green
Australian Art in the National Gallery of Australia, edited by Anne Gray, produced by the publications department of the national gallery of Australia, 2003.
Ben Crawford, Art Attack, Black & White, Number 6 Australia 1994 p54-57
Art Monthly, November 1998 No. 115.
Front cover image (mouth) Bleeding Trees .p3.
The editors, Ashley Crawford, Richard Craig, Terence Hogan, Ray Edgar, John Jost and Tom Quirk. The 1980`s: from the Leantime to the Dreamtime, Tension No. 19 Special Edition: A chronicle of Australian Art 1980 – 1989.
Relics and Rituals: From Field to Figuration catalogue essay by Robert Lindsay, National Gallery of Victoria.