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Laurel McKenzie

About the artist

Laurel McKenzie works in traditional and digital print media and mixed media installation. She has exhibited widely since the 1970s with solo, small group and numerous invitation/prize/travelling exhibitions within Australia and internationally. 

McKenzie's work is represented in public and private collections in Australia and overseas. She has been an office-bearer for arts organisations and has curated exhibitions and managed art projects and programs.

For 30 years Laurel taught visual arts in the post-secondary sector in Victoria, Australia. Since 2001 she has been a full-time artist and completed a PhD in 2018.

The feminist focus of her creative practice is concerned with the imaging of women’s bodies in fine art and popular culture.

Artwork

Fury I, Fury II, Fury III and Fury IV, 2017
Archival pigment prints on stretched canvas 

The Furies, in one telling of their origins, were born (along with the Three Graces), from the same event that led to the birth of Venus. They are deities of vengeance and justice, charged with tormenting those who commit serious crimes until their victims show remorse.

These deities are closely linked with 'nature', but, unlike Venus, they are not passive beauties; they are forces of nature, capable of bringing about drought, famine, storms and tremors. They are action-women, usually depicted in artworks with writhing serpents, flaming torches and other instruments of torment.

In The Furies I - IV, body parts from street-fighting characters in contemporary game worlds are collaged together with parts from neo-classical paintings of the Furies. The young women from popular-culture strike out with tough poses and exaggerated perspective – much like the neo-classical paintings of the Furies. This juxtaposition of historical and contemporary, high art and popular culture, the divine and the human, brings the Furies into a present context, reminding us of the power of art to fire the imagination.

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