Nomophobia is the fear of being without your mobile, or being out of mobile or internet reception. The fact that this phobia even exists shows something very important about our relationship with technology. We have now got to the point where we rely on our mobiles, computers, ATM’s, and other electrical devices so much that we would be completely lost without them. Andrzej Zielinski is from the USA and is currently visiting artist at the Painting Workshop at the ANU School of Art. His exhibition Prototype at the Canberra Contemporary Art Space explores our strong relationship with technology and the constant desire to upgrade to the new model.
Prototype is a collection of bright paintings which walk the line between abstract and representational. Electronic devices that we depend on everyday are simplified. Represented in glossy paint, and removed from their ability to function, we see them for what they really are: modern day icons. The shine of the paint changes from different angles, like computer screens or the gold background of early Christian paintings. Following in a long history of icon painting, the viewer will be mesmerised by the magic of objects which we interact with everyday, but never really understand. As each new electronic device is released we are drawn to the shine, the thrill of the new, and the growing mystery of their inner workings. The mythological pull of these devices is made screamingly apparent in Zielinski’s paintings.
Excerpt from catalogue essay by Alice Dickins; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.
In Slow Dance and Light Sequence Arryn Snowball has added video and photography to his repertoire of banal transcendence. Simplicity is on the menu in the former where he held lamp to light black painted sticks on a slowly rotating Lazy Susan. The sharp edges of the sticks and blurred edges of their shadows flirt with the third dimension as they create the lyrical illusion of a choreographed routine. There is a droll humor in the slow dance that emerges from a movement through which Snowball adeptly brings together elements of formalism and constructivism on the ironically unrecognizable surface of the familiar Lazy Susan.
Light Sequence doesn’t move too far from the comfortable communal zone of the dining table and continues to reference the traditions of formalist photography, this time from the kitchen. A series of framed photographs that capture the dappled light of the morning sun as it is filtered through vines onto the gridded pages of a notebook reveals a scarcely discernable relationship between nature and artifice. Each image in brilliant grey scale is taken six minutes apart following the changing morning light in poetic form. In both works Snowball collapses the idea of medium using the figurative qualities of photomedia to produce a heightened sense of abstract expression.
Excerpt from statement by David Broker 2012
Feeders was developed during a studio residency in Tokyo in 2010. The work recreates two encounters during which wild birds took food from my hand. The first was at a beach side temple in Kamakura where I had a sandwich snatched from my hands by a large Black Kite. Opportunistic scavenging by Kites is a common event on the coast at near Tokyo, so much so that bi-lingual signs have been installed to warn visitors. This event was a startling and powerful demonstration of the outcome when humans provide food to wild animals, usually in the form of waste, as this allows a certain species to survive and thrive. The experience of temporarily becoming, in the moment of eating, a prey animal, was such an unexpected and compelling encounter that I wanted to investigate it further in an artwork. The second encounter depicted here is when I fed peanuts to a small and charismatic songbird called a Varied Tit when I visited the Meiji Jingu shrine in Yoyogi Park.
Rather than re-staging these events for camera, as in a nature documentary, I have chosen to make a work that takes a more subjective point of view. My intention was to recreate the excitement and immersion-in-the-moment that characterises an encounter with a wild creature.
Excerpt from artist's statement Raquel Ormella
These shadows fall for us, and we for them. Like a roomful of wraiths, they wait suspended, for us to walk among them, animate them, as we, the light, the day itself, moves, making them change, grow, diminish, reach towards us, and fall away. These works are not static, the laser-cut steel sculptures buzz with an electric current, a lightning strike of energy transfixed and pinned on the wall, while the glass works hover and float like cloud or mist that gathers, fades, and disperses as we watch. The complex layering techniques create varying levels of opacity and transparency, allowing the fore and background, positive and negative space, to intermingle; for forms to push forward or retreat to the depths. This is space creation; a demonstration of how the body both activates, and is activated by space. The surrounding swirling patterns are like currents, eddies, whirlpools, which tug at the body, and yet are also a trace, the wake left by the body moving through it.
Excerpt from essay by Sarah Rice
Patterns on the Landscape features eye-popping geometry that transforms two-dimensional flat surface paintings into three-dimensional realms that open up before your eyes. Almost in contrast with the exact angles and impeccably executed lines, it is the pulsating colours and designs of the natural world that inspire her works.
Inspired by the traditions of her people the Budjiti as well as by the environment of her homelands within the Paroo River watershed country of southwest Queensland and northwest New South Wales, McNiven translates the richness of these environments into exciting contemporary works. She began working in this style twenty years ago applying it to t-shirts as well as hand painting lino prints and has now developed her practice to working on canvas and producing sculptures. McNiven connects the Indigenous tradition of interesting geometric patterns with similar movements in the Western art historical tradition such as optical art which was a popular style in the 1960s. These paintings rich not only in colour and visual affect but also in the connections they make between converging cultures and traditions.
Adapted from catalogue essay by Isabelle Morgan; photography by Brenton McGeachie.
Around 1654, the Dutch genre painter Gerard ter Borch painted The Paternal Admonition. This is a figurative painting of an anonymous woman, her back towards us in a satin robe talking to another lady and man seated behind her. Between 1654 and 1750 it is a well-known fact that there were multiple, almost identical replications of this work circulating the art market. Not only was this woman portrayed repeatedly by ter Borch himself, but also by his contemporaries and other later artists. Hanssen has taken this work as a starting point for ten of her own painted interpretations, paraphrases, pastiches and reproductions. She enlightens us with a fresh perspective of the painting and its history of reproduction because in today’s society of technological and digital reproduction this appropriation acquires new meaning. Hanssen ask what is an author? Is anything ever truly original? Or is everyone just reusing and recycling the work of someone else?
Words by Isabelle Morgan; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.
Green Valley Farm Farm is a regional holiday park located just outside the small country town of Tingha in northern New South Wales. Clare Thackway’s paintings and documentary video inspired by her visit there focus on the freakish specimens sited at this peculiar “bush oasis”. The farm is home to playgrounds, waterslides and deformed animals. If you have ever wanted to see a five-legged sheep, Green Valley’s got one. The most interesting attraction of all, however, is the Smith Museum that was the first registered private gallery in Australia. Here the country curator shows Thackway the unique memorabilia collected over the years. Dead specimens are bottled up and preserved in methylated spirits: two-headed kittens, a headless lamb, an albino echidna and legless lizards.
Adapted from catalogue essay by Isabelle Morgan; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.
My paintings are created by referencing photographic source material, and editing it through the process of painting. In this way, the source images lose their original context. This visual editing can create a sense of intrigue, an uncanny familiarity, or a strange sense of déjà vu. I negotiate the unending glut of images in the televisual world by collecting forgotten visual moments in an attempt to re-imagine the everyday. My work aims to explore the parallels and slippage between the imaginative space within paintings, and the hybrid space of the virtual world.
Adapted from catalogue essay by Isabelle Morgan
Lyndy Delian’s glass sculptures emerge amongst grains of sand in her new installation, Journeys. Lit from underneath, the play of light in this earthen environment is both astonishing and subtle. Delian makes connections between the original qualities of glass as sand and the sophisticated finished product. As the glass sculptures emerge from the sand, the audience gets a strong sense of her developing process. Delian’s glass sculptures connect with the land and earth as they lie in the soil. Light and reflections evoke the ethereal beauty of the sky and water. These handmade pieces, each surface shaped with care and coloured with thought, reveal the layers of inspiration behind Delian’s work. They are inspired by her connection to land and community as well as by poetry and stories. From these rich sources her organic and lively sculptural forms are imbued with life.
Adapted from catalogue essay by Isabelle Morgan; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.
In 2009 Helen Michaelsen, Mona Oren and Ellis Hutch established v.o.i.d, an international project informed by a shared interest in experimental collaborative practice. The artists currently live in Perth, Western Australia, Paris, France and Queanbeyan, New South Wales.
All three have strong connections with Chiang Mai in Thailand, having met there through previous work and study residencies. This place was thus chosen as the initial site for the artists to meet and generate the first series of collaborative works for the v.o.i.d project.
The residency at ComPeung Village of Creativity in the village of Doi Saket in Northern Thailand in January 2010 enabled the three artists to generate the first stage of a dynamic body of site specific performance and video based work. The chosen site was Mae Kuang Dam. Aspects of the site were both monumental and intimate, with elements of the natural environment intersecting with a significant man-made infrastructure. The works were made in response to the site itself and in to the conversations and experimentation the three artists were conducting throughout the residency.
The artists met in later in 2010 in Perth to further develop the initial work and then undertook a second residency at ComPeung in January 2011. v.o.i.d #02 literally took to the water, engaging directly with fluid presences and absences, spending time on the water, watching the light, listening to the sounds, contemplating the sky reflected in the surface while aware of the depths below. Each artist drew on an individual experience and relationship with materials to create a performance to be shown as part of a series of video works; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.