Carolyn Burns

Carolyn Burns is a writer from Sydney. She holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Sydney, where she has also taught and published research on adaptation, music and dramaturgy. As a dramatist and poet her work has been shortlisted for the Overland Judith Wright Poetry Prize, published by Currency Press, and performed as part of youth programs for the Australian Theatre for Young People and the Queensland Theatre Company.

Big Swinging Ovaries

Jess de Wahls

By Carolyn Burns — 13 July, 2018

In Renaissance Italy fig pendants were carved out of coral or stone in the shape of a fist, a thumb poking between the index and middle fingers, and then carried to ward off the evil eye. Representing a phallus in a vagina, it was believed that witches would be driven to distraction by the pendant’s…

The Lady and the Unicorn

By Carolyn Burns — 11 May, 2018

1. At close range, the size and complexity of The Lady and the Unicorn (c. 1500) is overwhelming. On view in a small antechamber of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the six tapestries feature variations of the same scene: a pale young woman flanked on either side by a lion and a unicorn,…

Fleabag

Phoebe Waller-Bridge

By Carolyn Burns — 9 February, 2018

Fleabag opens with the titular character accidentally flashing her bra at a disgraced manager during a job interview for a company plagued by sexual harassment allegations. Staged at the Sydney Festival in 2018, five years after its premiere at the Edinburgh Fringe, the play would feel eerily prescient if the constant spectre of sexual assault…

The Visitors

Heidi Axelsen and

Hugo Moline

By Carolyn Burns — 10 January, 2018

There’s a charming absurdity to many of the individual pieces that make up Heidi Axelsen and Hugo Moline’s The Visitors, a deceptively simple installation on eco futurist themes. There’s footage of a sapling being carried along a country road in a backpack like an infant in a baby carrier, a porous net veil that enables…

Not Niwe, Not Nieuw, Not Neu

Curated by Micheal Do

By Carolyn Burns — 7 December, 2017

Is she dead or alive? Fiona Pardington’s photograph ‘Captive Female Huia’ (2017) depicts an inky-black bird native to New Zealand. Its long beak is ornately cuffed in silver, tethered by a chain to a small pin and set against a dramatic black background. The feathers of the now extinct Huia were traditionally only worn by…

The Hooved and the Clawed

Katy B Plummer

By Carolyn Burns — 10 November, 2017

A cheerful appliqué banner reading ‘The hooved and the clawed will consider their violent bond’ welcomes visitors to Katy B Plummer’s exhibition currently showing at Galerie pompom. Through a series of video and multimedia works, Plummer tells of an allegorical romance between a lion and a lamb: where the lion, dressed in a vaguely zoomorphic…