Art is alive. No, not literally. But you wouldn’t have to apologize for thinking so if you’ve been to Alive at Canberra Contemporary Art Space Manuka. Three local artists Saara March, Ellyn Rose and Harry Townsend know how to create good art in the liveliest sense. That is, sculpture that you can connect with in a living, moving way. These works come to life in their animal, human-like and branch-like forms. They confirm the power and ability of the artist to not only give movement and vivacity to static materials, but to infiltrate emotion, feeling and purpose into works.
Once stationary and motionless, these materials have been morphed into sculptures by the genius hands and brains of their makers. They raise dormant mediums from the dead, providing you with much candy for the eye. March makes you clucky with her quirky creatures, while Rose’s found objects and materials with the help of good karma commence their second-life. Townsend draws your attention to trees as living and breathing beings. Transfiguring branches, he launches them into a new phase as sculpture, but their remaining imperfections remind us they were once part of nature in the bush. These works speak to you. Not in the way that you can have a real conversation with them, but they seize you in ways normal materials don’t. Feelings, sensations and physical connections are evoked when stagnant and mundane materials are given unexpected aesthetic capabilities and opportunities to communicate ideas at the hand of the artist. This is awe-inspiring stuff. Alive reminds us of why art always has us coming back for more.
Words Isabelle Morgan