Minna Gilligan's 'Rhinestone Cowgirl'
Last Thursday night artist Minna Gilligan’s latest solo exhibition opened at Daine Singer, entitled ‘Rhinestone Cowgirl.’ The title promises traditional American western imagery, that finds itself married to the glitter and glam of the early 2000’s - and conjures up my own memories of really rocking a sequined outfit circa 2005 at at my primary school disco.
The artwork is just a small departure from the collages I came to know her for; the expressive texta strokes, or abstractly painted backgrounds surrounded by sweet found imagery of vintage photographs. However, with its use of tie died old fabrics that could be pulled right from the living rooms of the 70s, Minnas’s work still projects a kaleidoscope of rainbows, with brushstrokes over floral and of course, the sparkles cast from a mirage of sequins, painstakingly hand sewn– a practice I’m sure only the most expert of dance moms can truly relate to.
Daine Singer’s exhibition space may be small, but the artworks are vibrant and warm, and the canvases speak to stories of the past, inspired by the OG famous “rhinestone cowgirls” of the past, think Dolly Parton in every era, or Madonna’s cowgirl suits, and present (see Miley Cyrus new album ‘Younger Now’, which shares its title with one of the artworks).
The psychedelic artworks provoke thoughts about how we engage in trends, as she explores the 'rhinestone cowgirl' aesthetic, with questions about authenticity. For me the collection speaks to something I think about often, a necessary reminder to scrutinize our tendency to romanticize the past with the rose colored glasses of nostalgia. It connects with my own obsession with the past, and the icons we look to for fashion inspiration or otherwise, and reignited a passion for bedazzled denim.
But now, I’m seriously considering rocking a glitterati double denim look - vis-à-vis Brittney and Justin at the VMA’s - for my next festival, and am currently researching the logistics of installing a disco ball in my room...
To see Minna's works up close and personal, visit ‘Rhinestone Cowgirl’ at Daine Singer from 7 February - 3 March 2018.