Beth Kay

15 June - 28 July 2024
Margaret Scott Gallery

In The Feminine Art of Shooting Beth Kay makes her mark on the male-dominated sport of bullseye shooting in Australia. The artist has upheld a rifle range practice for some years and while having a love and respect for the practice, also bears enduring witness to the typical associations and gender stereotypes that pistols and targets evoke in the public imagination. 

Harnessing these conflicting energies, Kay began making drawings and paintings using the target design as her launching motif. These are careful reworkings of paper shooting targets that re-rout the concentric lines of the design and confuse the mono-focus on the ‘bullseye,’   giving momentary pause to the primitive impulse of ‘locking in the crosshairs’. 

Knowing how or where to finish an artwork is a frequent source of an artist’s torment but in The Feminine Art of Shooting the works always end with a bang. Using the rifle itself as a powerful mark making tool, Beth Kay loads up and delivers the end of each piece with a speeding bolt of lead. That surprising little pierce in the paper acting like a full stop at the end of each story told. 


Image: Beth Kay, Before Dinner with Friends, 2022, synthetic polymer paint and pencil on canvas (prior to being pierced by gunshot).

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Image: Belinda Bonney, Reconciliation of the Nation: we all walk together as one (detail)