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catherine truman: touching distance

Featured image – Fish ForThe Fight (1993) by Catherine Truman.

‘Catherine Truman is medium agnostic. Although she is enduringly fond of intricately carving English lime wood, her oeuvre extends into contemporary jewellery, objects, performance, choreography, public sculpture, installation, photography & moving image. She is a holistic maker – acutely aware of her process, while continually evolving her inquiry. Truman’s curiosity takes her & her makings into the anatomically unfamiliar – probing thresholds of human ‘being’.’

Melinda Rackham 2015.

Treat yourself – grab this stunning book , beautifully brought to us by Wakefield Press . This publication is a visual feast, drawing on Rackham’s generous conversations with Truman and her extensive research into her archives, photographs, process documentation, journals, hard-drives and drawings. The book has been illustrated with ravishing, enticing images, predominantly by Grant Hancock. ( This book should receive awards for the photos alone, and Rackham’s insightful writing is thoughtful, clear and concise).

This publication made me want to book a plane trip to Adelaide  straight away and run to the Gray Street Workshop.

Catherine Truman is an established contemporary jeweller and object-maker whose works blur the disciplines of art and science. She is co-founder and current partner of the Gray Street Workshop – an internationally renowned artist-run workshop established in 1985 in Adelaide, South Australia, where she currently works and lives.

In 1990 Truman was awarded the Japan/South Australia Cultural Exchange Scholarship and studied with contemporary Netsuke carvers in Tokyo. In 1998 she was a finalist in the Seppelt’s Contemporary Art Award at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney. In 1999 Truman qualified as a practitioner of the Feldenkrais Method and uses the body as a starting point in her work.

She has researched historical and contemporary anatomical collections worldwide. In 2007 she was awarded an Australia Council Fellowship and selected as a Master of Australian Craft 2008-2010.

Truman is represented in a number of major national and international collections including the Pinakothek Moderne Munich, Coda-museum, Netherlands, Museum of Central Academy of Fine Arts, Beijing, China, Museum of Auckland, National Gallery of Australia and Artbank.

We learn about the history of jewellery making in South Australia since the late 1970’s. Truman’s outdoor public sculptures ( eg Slate Pool Walkway ) are included too. Long Black Fringe ( 2002) (carved English lime, paint burnt and painted surface), looks like angel’s wings.

We learn of her carving of wood and shell etc until the mid 1990’s and how strain injuries led to her involvement with Feldenkrais and also her further examination of anatomy. We also learn of her work with Restless dance and Baroque like shells and of other works inspired by the interior of the body roll, twist , delight and intrigue sometimes looking curved and hard, at other times floating and fragile.Her work ranges from the delicate Wax Portraits to the 2007 Eye Carving series and the In Preparation For Seeing microscopy gloves of 2015 for example .

There is an extended CV at the back as well as a list of grants and awards Truman has received. At the front of the book there is an exciting photo of the artist at work and a relaxed yet formal portrait at the back.

The author, Dr Melinda Rackham is an artist, curator and writer. Her pioneering Australian internet art wove tales of intimacy and identity online, and her scholarly pursuits in virtual worlds saw her founding and producing the international media arts forum -empyre-.

As her early network art finds a new generation of viewers, Melinda occasionally creates playful digital public interventions.

She writes poetry, socially informed fictive memoir and continues to interrogate the philosophies and processes of interdisciplinary arts practices.

The first major book on Truman, hopefully this marvellous book will be snapped up by gallery and university libraries as well as collectors and scientists and treasured for years to come.

Catherine Truman Touching Distance  by Dr Melinda Rackham
Wakefield Press
Category Arts, Architecture and Design
Format Jacketed hardback
Size 280 x 235 mm
ISBN 9781743054314
Extent 192 pages



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