Figurative painter, particularly concerned with pursuing meaning through narrative.
"1871: Furious Riding in a Public Place"
Oil on canvas
In Goodchild-Cuffley's new series, Furious Riding: The Kelly Women Narratives, she tells the stories of the women at the centre of the Kelly saga, women whose incredible lives are as rich a part of Australian history as those of Ned Kelly and his gang. This highly significant body of work builds on Goodchild-Cuffley's career-long interest in telling the hitherto-unacknowledged stories of women in history.
The work was conceived and inspired by Noelene Allen's 2012 biography of Ellen Kelly, Ellen: a Woman of Spirit. After reading that, followed by a mountain of books and articles about Ned Kelly, Goodchild-Cuffley realised that this was yet another example of women's experience being marginalised in the histories. The series encompasses not only the history of Ellen Kelly and Ned's sisters, but significant other women in the story, such as Ann Jones, the publican of the Glenrowan Inn, where the final showdown took place.
In this body of work, Goodchild-Cuffley references Sidney Nolan's iconic images on several levels: her paintings conform to the dimensions he used in his 1946-47 series, and individual paintings from that series are referenced in the work and the accompanying text. Goodchild-Cuffley provides ongoing proof, through her own practice, of Nolan's statement that "...it is possible to combine two desires: to paint and tell stories". By finally telling, through a modern lens, the other side of the Kelly story, Goodchild-Cuffley's new body of work provides a fascinating counterpoint to Nolan's.
The exhibition of Furious Riding: The Kelly Women Narratives was held at Art Space Wodonga in August 2017.
In 2010 Goodchild-Cuffley was the winner of the inaugural $5000 Eaglehawk Art Award for her painting "Cornish Miner's Dreaming" - a concept which merges an historical map of Eaglehawk with Cornish mythology.
"Cornish Miner's Dreaming"
Acrylic on canvas
Goodchild-Cuffley's work has almost exclusively questioned the creation of personal identity for women in Western culture through exploration of sources in history. Importantly, her deep engagement with Australian history encompasses a keen interest in the two-way impact between colonial settlers and the landscape and its indigenous inhabitants.
Her 2008 series, Demeter and Persephone, is based on the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, and connects Archaic Greek art and story to contemporary and personal concerns, set in the landscape of Central Victoria.
Her previous exhibition, The Maria Roberts Series, has an overt Colonial Australian theme, as it is based on the discovery of a female convict ancestor. Using direct references to the motifs of Australian Colonial painting, the work alludes to the issues surrounding invasion and colonisation, while clearly expressing the separation, alienation and dislocation experienced by Australia's convict women.
Tragically, Janet's daughter, Sarah, committed suicide in July 2001, after a brief mental illness. From this devastating experience came Significance - The Sarah Series: drawings, paintings and watercolours exploring loss and the process of grieving.
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This page last updated 11th January 2017.