Obsessed: Compelled to make

Obsessed: Compelled to make presents the work of 14 artists from across Australia, delving beyond the finished object, beyond the personality of the maker, into the fundamental conceptual framework of their creations. We look at the complexities of their materials and processes, the realities of their day-to-day studio routine and unravel what compels each maker to create over the course of their personal career – Why this technique or material? Why that concept? How does the mind of a maker work?

This exhibition explores the act of making through the framework of obsession – how it consumes us, carrying
 us along in its wake, colouring every aspect of our lives.
 With these professional artists, it is their obsessions, and all the associated angst, failures, breakthroughs and milestones, that feeds their productivity and to deliver exceptional outcomes.

Artist: Gabriella Bisetto | Lorraine Connelly-Northey |  Honor Freeman, | Jon Goulder | 
Kath Inglis |
 Laura McCusker |
 Elliat Rich and James B Young (Elbowrkshp) | 
Kate Rohde |
 Oliver Smith | Vipoo Srivilasa | Tjunkaya Tapaya | Louise Weaver | Liz Williamson. 

Obsessed: Compelled to make is an Australian Design Centre of ADC on Tour exhibition touring to 12 venues across Australia, accompanied by a series of films and a full-length catalogue.

Curators: Lisa Cahill and Penny Craswell 
Exhibition design: Stephen Goddard
Catalogue design: Michael Donohue
Filmmaker and photography: Angus Lee Forbes
Additional photography: Jules Boag, Peter Whyte
Poet: Sarah Rice

Obsessed: Compelled to make catalogue, edited by Lisa Cahill and Penny Craswell, published by Australian Design Centre is available through Object Shop and touring venues. 

Obsessed: Compelled to make was researched and developed under a Visions of Australia research grant and is ADC’s major national touring exhibition for 2018-2021 with the tour also supported by the Federal Government’s Visions of Australia program.

Catalogue supported by Gordon Darling Foundation.
Poetry commission supported by Red Room Poetry.

Explore the Obsessed: Compelled to make talks and workshops here

Exhibition tour venues and dates

Australian Design Centre, Sydney 8 February to 24 March 2018
Cairns Regional Gallery, QLD 15 April to 17 June 2018
Artspace Mackay, QLD 22 February to 12 May 2019
Lake Macquarie City Art Gallery, NSW 7 June to 4 August 2019
Glasshouse Port Macquarie, NSW 27 September to 1 December 2019
Blue Mountains Cultural Centre, NSW 7 December to 19 January 2019

Tamworth Regional Gallery, NSW 1 February to 16 March 2020
Lismore Regional Gallery, NSW 27 March to 29 May 2020
JamFactory, SA 25 September to 22 November 2020
Alcoa Mandurah Art Centre, WA 14 December 2020 to 24 January 2021
Ararat Regional Gallery, VIC 20 May to 15 August 2021
Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, NSW 28 August to 10 October 2021

Gabriella Bisetto

"My fascination with the process of glassblowing itself has evolved over the decades as I began to utilise it as a vehicle for making work that referenced my other obsession – my fascination with the incredible complexity of the body and its impossibility to comprehend on 
a singular level."

Lorraine Connelly-Northey

"When I’m off country, I’m a caretaker of another country. I’m a respectful caretaker. It’s very powerful to be able to source material from your own tribal boundaries because the most powerful thing about my work is that I’m taking back country."

Honor Freeman

"Being lost in the rhythms of making is like the in between spaces of long distance travel. It gives the mind space to dreamthink and for new ideas to percolate."

Jon Goulder

"I want to do things nobody else would be prepared to do because they involve processes that are too labour intensive or seem like crazy ideas."

Kath Inglis

"Jewellery drew me in so tight. I loved that it was highly personal but very public. That it was worn on the individual and not on a wall. That it was a potent vessel for story. I fell in love quickly and hard."

Laura McCusker

"There’s not very many jobs in which you get to fire on all aspects of what it means to be human. I get to be physically active, analytical and academic, and I get to collaborate and interact with people. I get to be a complete human being."

Elliat Rich and James B Young

"Thinking is the backbone to my obsession, working through the mechanics or semantics of an idea in my head." Elliat Rich

"Working with my hands started with those camel saddles, a long time ago now, and shoemaking has been an attempt to move into a medium where there is a market for a high-end product that demands precision and skill." James B Young

Kate Rohde

"You know how bowerbirds collect blue things? [As a kid,] I wanted everything aqua. Now, working with colours in my workshop, I use the very expensive cobalt teal pigment powder, which is also quite toxic and poisonous."

Oliver Smith

"An artist’s studio is an amazing place, a laboratory where anything can happen. I think a silversmith’s workshop is the best version of that studio context, as it functions as an alchemical frame that enables a wide range of making processes to be enacted, and for the artist
 to transform materials in
exciting ways."

Vipoo Srivilasa

"Where do my ideas come from? I have been asked this question many times and every time I answer differently depending on the day. Most of the time, I get inspired while I’m working, somehow an idea just pops up: ‘Why don’t I do that? What if I do this?’.

Tjunkaya Tapaya

"I am weaving animals to be stitched to my self-portrait, like they are pouring out of me. That’s how my weaving ideas come, flowing from my hands and body."

Louise Weaver

"Often my best ideas occur when I least expect it – when I let things just wash over me – a state that
 is almost a form of meditation – being open to the question “what if?”."

Liz Williamson

"Making is in my fingers and when I’m at the loom, I’m aware of the expertise and precision required to interlace warp with weft to create an envisioned structure."

Obsessed Films

Filmmaker Angus Lee Forbes was commissioned to create audio visual presentations of each of the 14 artists in Obsessed: Compelled to make – and most were filmed in the artists’ studios across Australia.

Obsessed Research

Obsessed: Compelled to make showcases the awe-inspiring creativity and innovation of the maker and at the same time focuses on the fundamental human need to make. This project has been our obsession for the past few years.

Obsessed Catalogue

With the generous support of the Gordon Darling Foundation, ADC has created a full-length catalogue for Obsessed: Compelled to make – a made object that has many layers of making within its covers.