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By Natalie Mell, Digital & Social Media EditorISSUE #029 IN GOOD SPIRITS AND GOOD COMPANY | Community

You Can Now Add This Artful Label To Your Tailored Gin & Vodka

Marian Tubbs is an Australian artist exhibiting in Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now, a National Gallery of Australia exhibition celebrating the work of Australian women artists. The exhibition kicked off last year and is just one part of the vibrant program of events the National Gallery conceived to celebrate and increase the visibility of work by Australian women artists. Read more about it and our partnership here.

Off the back of last year’s #KNOWMYNAME Tailored Gin, Archie Rose has teamed up with the National Gallery to create a new Tailored Gin label that supports the incredible movement. We were drawn to Marian’s approach to sustainability and the feminist voice in her works and are thrilled that she has created original artwork for our Tailored Spirits range. “I wanted to create an abstract piece with depth and soft botanical feelings in line with the native ingredients used in Tailored Spirits,” Marian says of her work.

You can catch Marian and many other inspiring women artists in the Know My Name exhibition, now showing until early 2022 at the National Gallery of Australia - but first, learn more about the artist behind our new Tailored Spirits label.

Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?

At nine years old, I remember I wanted to be a politician, a real estate agent, and an artist. I must have decided that ‘artist’ was the best way to go pretty quickly. And I feel like I have landed the politician position anyway by way of my academic role as the Course Coordinator of an Art and Design degree in regional New South Wales.

How would you describe your style of work?

My work sets its sights on the binaries between material and digital worlds and how accelerations in technology relate to environmental concerns. I explore the value of poor images and found objects and how poetic transformations may occur via art practice. It’s about value and poetry.

What do you hope people take away from your work?

At the core, I only create for myself. When I was younger, I was a little obsessed with what the transmission of knowledge was. I wanted to pin down the meanings and affects in art to determine some essential significance. That was all wrong because the lack of certainty is the promise of art. ‘Pleasure’ or ‘happy confusion’ are probably the best terms I can signal to in regards to my hope for audiences - to provide new, strange angles for someone to consider things from.

How does it feel to be included in the National Gallery’s Know My Name exhibition - and why is this initiative so important?

It feels fantastic. Every year at the beginning of the semester, I ask my painting or sculpture class to write down the names of the first five artists specific to the medium that come to mind. We then discuss the answers, the majority of which are always canonised, white males. My aim is that by the end of each session, the emerging artists walk away with a far more diverse list in their heads. The Know My Name exhibition addresses this bias. Things take time, and one day we might not need these initiatives in Australia, but I give huge credit to the National Gallery for doing this two-part exhibition so well and so publicly.

Which of your fellow female artists do you admire?

I admire all female-identifying artists; for making their work. But I did just pay off my first ever proper art purchase by North Queensland-based artist Anastasia Klose—I love her practice—it is complex, hilarious, painful, and beautiful.

What about artists from the history books?

I love researching and discovering artists from the past. Currently, I am in reading mode, gleaning love from historic and contemporary texts by writers like Maggie Nelson and Eileen Myles. I am also trying to read a complex novel, Such is Life, that was written by a great uncle of mine Joseph Furphy in 1903. He wrote under the pseudonym Tom Collins mostly, which of course is also a nice gin drink.

Tailored gin and vodka and artist Marian Tubbs (image: Cooper Brady Photography)

What inspired the artwork you created for Archie Rose Tailored Spirits?

The digital watercolour employs tones that mingle between autumn and spring when the soil is just starting to heat up and buds are getting ready to say ‘hello.’ I wanted to create an abstract piece with depth and soft botanical feelings in line with the native ingredients utilised in these products.

What did you enjoy about working on the project?

This is the first - and perhaps the only - project that I will work on that straddles both the artistic and the commercial spheres. There can be a vibe in the art world that these things should be kept separate; that is to say, an artwork with integrity cannot perform as a commercial instrument as well.

It is something I have tossed over in my mind for a while. I have questioned the preciousness or immaturity that exists in the fine art market - the need to know exactly what is being looked at to deliver its category and value. While I had thought about this philosophically, I had not entertained the idea that I would enter this space as my work is generally so experimental and chaotic.

This led to the actual process of working on this project becoming the highlight: meeting really cool people that work at Archie Rose and witnessing how sensitively they supported my practice and adapted the material outcome of the artwork to suit an eco-friendly and editioned print. It showed me something hopeful regarding industry methods in Australia - that a company that thinks about ecological, social, and artistic concerns is an important one to collaborate with.

What’s next for you?

Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now continues at the NGA through January 26. I just won the Sunshine Coast Art Prize, so I am using that funding to work on a solo exhibition that will primarily feature new 3D and lenticular photo assemblages to be held with STATION Gallery in May 2022. I am also writing an essay on the influence of artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns on my work for an exhibition focused on their work - it is also to be held at the NGA before touring Australia.