Some Like it Hot
Embarking on a national tour with Artback NT, Some Like It Hot features the work of NT artists Franck Gohier and Therese Ritchie. First stop is Araluen Arts Centre in Alice Springs.
By Hannah Muir
It's on its way, isn’t it? The stifling, relentless heat that’s expected when living in the Northern Territory, but somehow we’re never appropriately prepared for. So powerful and ever present, it becomes a character in the lives of us all.
There’s a social understanding of what it means to be ‘going troppo’, the intense effect of the sticky, thick heat on the collective. But how deeply has that notion been explored? What would be found if the lens of tropical heat and discomfort was considered when looking into the performative nature of gender?
Curator Wendy Garden brings together the work of Territory artists Franck Gohier and Therese Ritchie to explore this very concept with Some Like it Hot.
Garden’s interest in the troppo effect came about when researching the NT led to an awareness of a general ‘fear of the tropics’ within newspapers of the nineteenth century, with regular descriptions of people going mad. Years later, now living in Darwin, her observations were first hand.
“It seemed like a different way of being. There was a certain type of masculinity that was apparent here that wasn’t apparent to me in other states. It was combining those things, and remembering all these concerns about tropical heat and how that affects character, that sparked my interest in exploring this notion of gender.”
Franck Gohier, with his pop art aesthetic, depicts thoughts of masculinity and trapped femininity evident in mid-twentieth century popular culture, which in some respects, is still present today.
Therese Ritchie on the other hand provides social commentary through photography, capturing what she sees as toxic masculinity playing out around her.
The exhibition notices the difference between gender expression of times passed and today, and contemplates the role of heat and climate.
“Things are completely different now, in many respects the exhibition is about looking back,” Garden says.
“But there are residues of those understandings that still play out today.”
The heat of the Territory is unavoidable but, perhaps until now, these questions have been. Garden invites you to contemplate or challenge ideas of masculinity, and pick apart what we are seeing and perhaps excusing.
*Please note date change from Fri 11 Nov to Sat 12 Nov at 10am.
Thumbnail & header: Therese Ritchie, 'Simply did not happen' (detail), 2021, pigment print, 80x110cm. Bottom inset: full artwork.
Top inset: Franck Gohier, 'Darwin’s evolution' (detail), 2015, synthetic polymer paint on board, 122x88.5x5cm. Collection of Jett Street