Destination / In Residence

Unleash the wild woman within: Clare Plueckahn exhibits at JCP studios

Listen to your instincts; artist Clare Plueckhahn will show you how. In her latest exhibition, Running with Wolves, Plueckhahn explores the trope of the wild woman, seeking to rekindle the marriage between the feminine and natural realms on beautiful medium format film. A concept that has been building in the artist’s mind since 2016, Plueckhahn took to the barren and volatile landscapes of Arizona, New Mexico, California and Iceland in 2018 in an attempt to give representation to the primal female form in all its glory.

Unnamed.
Born once of flesh.
Then again of fire.

Heavily pregnant, Plueckhahn travelled to numerous natural locations for the exhibition. Inspired by the works of Dr Clarissa Pinkola Estés and her 1992 book Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman, the artist has sought to give light to the wild women trope that is often unheeded and forgotten in history. These women had sharp instincts, harboured primal female knowledge and existed before various cultural expectations and religious ideologies since oppressively applied itself to humankind. Hence, it made sense to subject the female form to the harsh locations of Death Valley, Reykjavik Lava Fields and basalt sea stacks at Reynisfiara, to expose the strength and beauty of the female spirit.

Named.
As the sky arches and earth is tilled.
Begotten or unbegotten.

Plueckhahn’s preoccupation with the female form is a focused attempt to reconcile the body with the natural realm; commenting on the similar cycles and processes each goes through; life and death, growth and erosion.

As fire does flame and earth is green.
From the future, and the beginning of time.
Wind does howl, waters flow seaward.
Born or unborn.

Trusting her maternal instincts and even featuring herself in one of the works, it’s safe to say that Plueckhahn has bared and risked all for this exhibition. The collection is to be viewed as pairs, with each couple showing the stark difference yet intrinsic tie between the woman and the earth. Running with Wolves is now open at JCP Studios in Melbourne’s Cremorne, running until May 10.

As stories end, and begin.