The Artists—
Catherine Bell

The Artists is a silent film by Catherine Bell documenting an artist residency at Norma Redpath House, University of Melbourne in December 2017. Undertaken by artist collaborators Cathy Staughton and Catherine Bell, who have been each other’s muse since 2009, both artists explore the lived experience and female identity in their painted and video portraits. This film documents the first time “The Artists” have lived together and produced artworks outside of Cathy’s studio at Arts Project Australia.

For a brief time in history, the silent film genre provided an inclusive experience for the hearing impaired who could fully participate in this cultural form as equal members of the audience. The film focuses on communal daily rituals, and how “The Two Cathies” co-exist with Catherine Bell’s dog Archie; and interact when they are not making art, using a combination of sign language, lip reading and visual communication. The film explores how feminist ethics play a role in their participatory practice and illuminates concepts of interdependence, reciprocity, trust, friendship, and embodiment. The film advocates for feminist ethical and theoretical approaches to collective, participatory, relational, community-engaged and collaborative practices.

Dr Catherine Bell is a multi-disciplinary artist and Associate Professor teaching visual art in the Faculty of Education and Arts, Australian Catholic University. Her creative-led research is focused on the role of the artist in the archive, art on the margins, socially-engaged, participatory and relational art practices, redefining and repositioning the female in contemporary society. She is represented by Sutton Gallery, Melbourne.

A digital and billboard exhibition, touring with NETS Victoria. Curated by Jessica Row and Claire Watson.