Period Piece - Margaret Kalms
HUW DAVIES GALLERY 20 May–6 June
Margaret Kalms has used her education in photography and applied sciences in a number of areas, including as a Geographic Information Systems Officer making computer based maps; she has photographed public art for the ACT Government’s arts data base, and people enjoying ACT parks for its Get Out There brochure. She has also worked as a baby photographer in hospitals around Canberra and Queanbeyan.
Kalms has shown in many group exhibitions over the past few years. Most of her work is informed by issues confronting women, including body image and health issues. She has a website where she shares her work and thoughts, providing information and commentary aiming to give women a positive image of their bodies. Special concerns are menstruation and helping women to know more about their bodies and sexuality. 'Period Piece' is her first solo exhibition.
Blood is used by artists to shock and disturb. Performance artists use blood in work centred on violent ritual, including self-mutilation. Visual artists use the force and colour of blood to draw the eye to tragic or murderous events. A group of American women make art from their own blood and share the results and their thoughts on the web.
There is no plan to shock or disturb in Margaret Kalms’ work. The images in 'Period Piece' are a quietly reflective, somewhat wry and considered essay on the many aspects of menstruation, in particular the pain and indignity experienced by women. The motivating force for Kalms’ work is her humanist and religious principles. As she says on her website:
'Because I am a Christian, I am motivated by the conviction that we are “Fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14) created by God in a beautiful and intricate way. When God made each part of creation he said “It was good” (Genesis chapters 1 & 2).'
Kalms refers to her models as naked, but because they are clothed with meaning they are far removed from our usual understanding of nudity. As she says:
'The subtle eroticism and sexuality are used to express what being a woman means and feels like, with a focus on what menstruation means and feels like in emotional and philosophically symbolic terms.'
PhotoAccess is very pleased to show Margaret Kalms’ 'Period Piece' in the HUW DAVIES GALLERY at the Manuka Arts Centre.