Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert is delighted to present Sally Smart's solo exhibition Choreographies (The Artist's Ballet).

Sally Smart’s work for Choreographies (The Artist’s Ballet) at Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert consists of new collage paintings and sculpture. Smart represents the body fragmented and abstracted, conceptually tracing dance references through collage methodologies. The works combine photographic imagery generated from her film The Artist's Ballet printed on satin with painted and printed textiles. The exhibition consists of five paintings, a large textile curtain, puppet sculptures and works on paper.

The framework for Choreographies (The Artist's Ballet) took place in 2019 when Smart was commissioned to create a work responding to the Australian expatriate and relative, the artist Bessie Davidson, for an exhibition at the Bendigo Art Gallery. Smart made a dance film titled The Artist's Ballet, an interdisciplinary project, with dancers Jo Lloyd and Deanne Butterworth.

"In considering the life of Davidson I have included Margaret Preston and their decade-long relationship through a tumultuous time in human history. The dance performance embodies timeless themes and psychological tensions for these women, grappling with the avant-garde in art and life, at a traumatic period in human history (war, isolation, gender and modernity). The dance performance creates a contemporary lived presence and connection to the art and lives of women artists."

The exhibition was severely interrupted by the Pandemic’s restrictions. Smart went on to develop The Artist's Ballet through the lockdown of 2020 to create a new work, a tableau of curtains, film, and moving elements. This new work is currently on exhibition in The National 2021: New Australian Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art curated by Rachel Kent.

"I am interested in 20th Century dance histories at the intersection of dance and visual art - recently explored in The Artist Ballet' through scenography based on images of a Pina Bausch experimental dance work; Robert Rauschenberg assemblage structures and costumes; along with reimagining and reframing Paris based early avant-garde experimental dance of the Ballets Russes. My commitment to avant-garde histories and legacies is reflected in this new work."

Choreographies (The Artist's Ballet) for Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert
 extends a line of practice that commenced with previous bodies of work, such as, The Choreography of Cutting (2014–17), The Violet Ballet (2018–19), and The Artist's Ballet (2019-21), currently on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art.

Sally Smart is a leading contemporary artist recognised for large-scale cut-out assemblage installations and, increasingly, performance and video, her practice engages identity politics and the relationships between the body, thought and culture including trans-national ideas that have shaped cultural history. Her interest in female representation is enacted through various methodologies including cut-outs and collage using textiles in large-scale installations, as well as video, performance, sculpture and painting.