Main Gallery

Catalogue text by Georgina 'Femineminem' Smith

The ruler supreme of the felt-tip mise-en-scene, Arlene TextaQueen marked out Melbourne as her new territory with her exhibition, Textanudes: Friends 4 Life. The exhibition compiled studies in love, etudes with attitude, exquisitely rendered in texta. Documenting the intensity of alliances that women form, these were colourful visual dialogues. They were depictions of loving pairs, here and there, love amongst punks, sisters in a tub, a girl and her Torana.¨It was an exhibition of life drawing, heavy on the life and indelibly drawn. Initially conceived as drawings for a Manga-esque soft-porn website, Arlene TextaQueen has taken the Textanude to new places. Adopting the tradition of the classical salon nude, the TextaQueen recon-texta-ualises it. Textanudes were women drawn in environs, poses and styles of their own fashioning, in accessories and garb of their own choosing. The subjects were often close friends of TextaQueen and that familiarity was evident in the intimacy and personality of the models’ poses. This intimacy, glamour and humour was the first thing to strike one about these works of Arlene TextaQueen; the second being the fluidity of the strokes, the confidence of line and colour. Always depicted in the liquid felt-tip line of TextaQueen’s chosen medium, Textanudes are bold, almost life-sized portraits although never drawn to scale. They are executed at accelerated pace as seen through the flashing eyes of the artist in long-term lust with her subjects and medium. To have and to hold a texta is a life long romance for this Queen. Behold the brilliance of the pigment in Textanudes: Friends 4 Life at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces.