Charlotte Watson

Moral Stranger

19 October > 19 November 2023

A life-size sculpture of a deer, made from unfired clay, lays huddled against a grey backdrop.

“How can someone who’s lived this good life…behave in such an abhorrent way?” 

For Moral Stranger, artist and writer Charlotte Watson creates an installation that unfolds the complexities around crime. For this exhibition, game-hunting and its strict ethical codes are paired against commentary from a criminal case. Drawing from a theoretical term used for offenders, Moral Stranger pits individual morals against social ethics, exposing the grey area that surfaces when choices are made at the expense of another. 

Moral Stranger
is a temporal piece, drawing from both the public and personal. Surrounded by remarks made by lawyers and reporters, life-size deer formed from unfired clay crack as the story of a hunt unfolds. As they quietly decay, this exhibition portrays the fragmentation and disintegration that happens after truths are revealed.

Growing up in southern Aotearoa, Watson explores Pākeha cultural norms. In its attempt to answer the inevitable ‘why’ left behind after a crime, Moral Stranger points us toward the hierarchy of (in)justice. Ambiguous yet piercing, this exhibition leaves us to question who is heard, and who is spoken for.

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Please note > Linden Projects Space is not wheelchair accessible. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Charlotte Watson is a visual artist and writer. Her work expands across drawing, printmaking, ceramics and installation, often using the natural world to tell human stories. Her work sits at the edge of memory, myth and history, and is particularly interested in the stories that inhabit a place, and how place inhabits us. Most recently, she has been using the archetype of the hunter and prey to explore ideas of power, (in)justice and moral value.

Watson graduated from the University of Canterbury (Ōtautahi Christchurch, NZ) with a BFA in Sculpture in 2011 and is currently based in Narrm Melbourne.

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IMAGE > [Top] Charlotte Watson, fawn, 2023. Unfired clay, steel, MDF, paper, 96 x 42 x 26.5cm. Image courtesy of the artist. Photograph: Michael Lillis. > [Middle] Charlotte Watson, fall from grace in many ways, 2023. Charcoal, 102 x 28.5cm. Image courtesy of the artist. Photograph: Michael Lillis. > [Below] Charlotte Watson, freeze, 2023. Unfired clay, steel, MDF, paper, 64.5 x 48 x 23cm. Image courtesy of the artist. Photograph: Michael Lillis