8 – 25 March 2017

Opening Night | Thursday 9 March, 6pm–8pm

Elwyn Murray + Aaron Billings

Sweat explores the heteronormative erasure of queer identities and negative effects of socialised masculinity. Gym towels are at once functional and lifestyle objects. They connote notions of purity, ritualised cleansing and body-policing—by gay men in particular—in the pursuit of normative body ideals. Absorbing the physical effects of exertion, the towel becomes a vessel for the by-products of friction and stress.

Detailed with hand-embroidered tableaus of bodies in conflict, the implied gender of these objects is challenged, calling into question the notion of defined gender boundaries. The policing of boundaries is fundamental to the existence of toxic masculinity, which asserts itself through a rejection of the other. Billings and Murray investigate the interior, emotional effects of society’s heteronormative framework through which we understand objects, clothes and aesthetic forms.

Images | Aaron Billings, Pissing, 2017, cotton towel and hand-embroidered thread; Elwyn Murray, Grip, 2017, cotton towel and hand-embroidered thread.

Aaron Billings is a Melbourne-based artist exploring the intersection of interior emotional spaces and the natural environment through works on paper, comics, screen prints, and embroidery. In addition to his art-practice, he runs independent fashion label ‘Bats of Leisure’ and runs embroidery workshops at SIGNAL Artspace. His commissioned work been featured by VICE, published by The Lifted Brow, Voiceworks, Going Down Swinging.

Elwyn Murray is a visual artist and designer from Melbourne making work about sex, death and the internet. Using mirrors, glass and interactive installations, he explores how new communication paradigms are reshaping notions of identity, memory, relationships and sexuality. His design practicefocuses on queer health organisations treating HIV and LGBT mental health. He also art-directs ‘Male Ritual’, an accessories-label and imprint supporting trans and non-binary identities, with a portion of all sales donated to queer-youth support services.


Presented as part of the VAMFF 2017 Cultural Program.