NETHERWORLDS are grappling at the corners of the everyday, carving sanctums, thick with power, love, and potential. Through object and performance, this exhibition claims space somewhere between contemporary art, the spiritual, and othered identities and behaviours.

Informed by emergent contemporary relationships between ideas of magic, mysticism, cultural ritual, and art making, NETHERWORLDS reflects on theories of early performance as invocational ritual, and prehistoric art as sympathetic magic (first proposed by ethnographer Richard Andree). Drawing on ideas of communitas, perceived and actual power, and the exoticised ‘other’, NETHERWORLDS foregrounds contemporary perspectives on the crafting of safe space and the empowerment of diverse artists through ritual and talisman on creative contexts.

Through her sonic practice, Naomi Blacklock subverts the history of her gender and cultural identity as ‘othered’ via accusations of witchraft or exoticised as ‘mystical’; Anastasia Booth embodies the subversive and mythological ‘Baubo’ – comic, lusty, and lascivious; Chantal Fraser questions the milieu of art, culture, and adornment;Caitlin Franzman explores the role of the diviner to work with methods and symbols of ritual in contemporary work; Clay Kerrigan melds artistic process and goetic ritual to craft collage-portraits; and Blake Lawrence considers images and encounters of men who have sex with men through the lens of natural spiritual practice.

With further writing by curators Amy-Clare McCarthy and Kieran Swann reflecting on the intertwined history of art and magic, and emergent queer, feminist, and culturally diverse practices, NETHERWORLDS opens dark and powerful spaces for those who know their true names.

Curated by Kieran Swann and Amy-Clare McCarthy.

Exhibition text.


Spring Hill Reservoir: 9 June 2018, 6-9pm
Seventh Gallery: 6-22 December, 2017
The Walls, Gold Coast: 5-19 August, 2017
Firstdraft ARI, Sydney: 5-29 October, 2016


Video above: Netherworlds at Spring Hill Reservoir, June 2018

Photo documentation: Spring Hill Reservoir.
(Documentation by Louis Lim)

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Chantal Fraser, Summit, 2018.

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Chantal Fraser, Summit, 2018.

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Naomi Blacklock, Padma, 2018 and Clay Kerrigan, Gate, Group, and Road, 2018

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Anastasia Booth, Anasyrma, 2018

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Caitlin Franzmann, Mutual Making, 2018

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Caitlin Franzmann, Mutual Making, 2018

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Caitlin Franzmann, Mutual Making, 2018

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Anastasia Booth, Anasyrma, 2018

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Anastasia Booth, Anasyrma, 2018

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Anastasia Booth, Anasyrma, 2018

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Blake Lawrence, Palimpsest, 2018

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Blake Lawrence, Palimpsest, 2018

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Naomi Blacklock, Padma, 2018

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Naomi Blacklock, Padma, 2018


Naomi Blacklock, Padma, 2018, image by Charlie Hillhouse


Naomi Blacklock, Padma, 2018, image by Charlie Hillhouse


Photo documentation: Seventh Gallery, Melbourne
(Documentation by Dom Krapski)


foreground: Naomi Blacklock, left to right: Blake Lawrence, Clay Kerrigan, Caitlin Franzmann, Anastasia Booth, Chantal Fraser


foreground: Caitlin Franzmann, left to right: Chantal Fraser, Anastasia Booth, Naomi Blacklock, Blake Lawrence



































Documentation: The Walls, Gold Coast (opening night with performances)

foreground: Naomi Blacklock, Parallel Presence

Clay Kerrigan; Gate & Road

Caitlin Franzmann; Magical Thinking

above: Anastasia Booth, Portrait of Baubo

Naomi Blacklock, Parallel Presence (in performance)

Naomi Blacklock, Parallel Presence (in performance)


Documentation: Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney
(Documentation by Zan Wimberley unless noted)

fd_1finalrear: Chantal Fraser, #traditional #blurredlines
foreground: Caitlin Franzmann, Magical Thinking
documentation by Anastasia Booth

firstdraftoct16-0045Chantal Fraser, #traditional #blurred lines, detail

firstdraftoct16-0041Caitlin Franzmann, Magical Thinking


fd_2finalAnastasia Booth, Portrait of Scylla
documentation by Anastasia Booth

firstdraftoct16-0028screens: Anastasia Booth, Portrait of Artemis Portrait of Baubo
wall: Clay Kerrigan, Untitled (Collages 1-3)


collage-detailClay Kerrigan, Untitled (Collage 1)
documentation by Kieran Swann

road-sigil-processClay Kerrigan, Road, Sigil, Untitled (Process)
documentation by Kieran Swann

fd_10Blake Lawrence, Box Set
documentation by Anastasia Booth

fd_9Blake Lawrence, Box Set (detail)
documentation by Anastasia Booth

blake-lawrence-imageNaomi Blacklock, Parallel Presence (performance)
documentation by Blake Lawrence

firstdraftoct16-0023Naomi Blacklock, Parallel Presence (residue)


Naomi Blacklock, Parallel Presence (residue)

NETHERWORLDS was presented with the support of the Queensland Government through Arts Queensland. The Spring Hill Reservoir exhibition was supported by Backbone Youth Arts. NETHERWORLDS was conceived and initially presented with the support of Firstdraft Gallery and the National Association of Visual Arts (NAVA).


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