Good Weekend Art Column

Teelah George, Gallery 9, Sydney

Published September 15, 2020
Teelah George, 'Sky Piece (Berlin, Belfast, Paris, Perth)' (2019-2020)

Artist: Teelah George

Lives: Northbridge, Perth & Collingwood, Melbourne

Age: 36

Represented by: Gallery 9, Sydney; (Neon Parc, Melbourne)

Her thing: Abstract embroideries and mixed media works.

Our take. Embroidery is known as a neat and careful occupation but Teelah George has taken the medium into another dimension. Although it’s not possible to be an abstract expressionist with a needle and thread, George has found a way of building up areas of colour in a very free manner. It’s as close to drawing as sewing gets.

In her exhibition, The Boxer is the lover with the flower is the naked motif, at Gallery 9, George has created a series of wall hangings, featuring dense clusters of brightly coloured threads attached to spindly bronze frames. These frames don’t confine themselves to the edge of a picture, they snake around like roots or branches, in seemingly random configurations. In other works George combines oil paint and embroidery on canvas, producing indefinable hybrids.

She has drawn inspiration (and a big collection of thread), from her recent travels in Germany, England, France and Northern Ireland. For the most part she avoids identifiable imagery, giving us glimpses of foreign skies and landscapes, fleeting memories of visits to art museums and cathedrals. She sees these works as “samplers”, using colour and form for poetic, expressive affect. The results can be surprisingly beautiful and tactile.

George’s travels have recently come to a halt after moving from Perth to Melbourne. Unable to get back across the Western Australian border, she now has plenty of time to perfect her embroidery technique in the studio.


Can I afford it?

There are two different sizes of work in this show. Smaller pieces such as Rust or Bruise (46cm by 40 cm by 3 cm), are selling for $3,300. For larger works such as the one that provides the title of the exhibition, or Sky Piece (Berlin, Belfast, Paris) (180cm by 150 cm), the asking price is $20,000. This is entirely reasonable for an artist somewhere between “emerging” and “established”, whose star is on the rise. George’s record price, so far, is $28,000 for a commission.


 Where can I have a squiz?

Gallery 9, 9 Darley Street, Darlinghurst, Sydney.

12 August – 5 September, 2020.


Published in The Good Weekend, Sydney Morning Herald, 29 August, 2020