Dark Dark Forest: Janet Clouston

Dark Dark Forest: Janet Clouston

Janet Clouston is presenting her first exhibition at Timeless Textiles Gallery in July.

With soft sculptures built from old dresses and scrounged scraps – hand stitched, with embroidery and applique – raised up on recycled and reimagined pieces of cast out furniture, – she presents:          ‘The Great Men’ and, with a touch of sardonic humour, the Great Aunts .….  set against a forest of ghosts.

“In the beginning was The Dark Dark Forest. Mother Nature ruled supreme.

 But this is a story of Hubris and Narcissism. When the Patriarchy reimagined the Deities in its own image, asserting that Man was no longer part of Nature,  that Nature was there to serve his desires, Women [as embodiment of ‘dumb’ Nature] were also bent to his will.

Myths were re-written and recast. Gods, reinvented, became the Creators of a world for Men only.  It was a misogynistic power grab. These twisted foundational myths of Western culture, pervading philosophy thereafter, hold grim repercussions for the exploitation of Nature and of women which continues to the present day.

What is the Dark Forest now the trees have gone? It is a metaphorical theory of the universe and of the internet. As creatures in a forest are quiet, hiding from Night predators so other planets in the universe stay hidden from us. In the internet we withdraw into private chatrooms to avoid criticism from the world. But these private rooms become hideouts for male predators themselves.

Who are the Predators? So often they turn out to be THE GREAT MEN. The Greek gods and heroes, the Dictator, the Children’s Entertainer …. the Devil!

Great Men? I counter them with THE GREAT AUNTS! The ancient women of myth – and our childhoods.

The Great Aunts were allowed to embroider and decorate the home. With head submissively bowed they could stitch away, patching and mending and prettifying with needle and thread – quilts, table clothes cushion covers and drapes. Out in the world of Art, Great men painted the Greek gods and Great Men.

Rescuing the burnt trees, brought on flood waters to the shore, and calling up the animal spirits of the forest in loud protest, I offer a glimpse into this dark forest.

Enough of the age of Patriarchy, it is time to honour Mother Earth, her rivers, her oceans, and her Forests. Time to honour the Great Aunts with some subversive stitchery.”


10 Jul 2024 - 11 Aug 2024


All Day


Timeless Textiles Gallery


Timeless Textiles Gallery
90 Hunter Street, Newcastle NSW, Australia