Gorman Arts Centre

It is easy to think of printmaking as an “old-school” art medium. One that was considered state of the art technology in the Middle Ages because of its capabilities to produce thousands of identical images from a single matrix. But this technology is archaic compared to what is possible with the internet and our mac book pros and ipads today. The print is often considered conservative and out of fashion. Many contemporary artists instead choose to work in more ‘so-called’ exciting mediums such as found materials or installation. Joel Gailer, however, shows us that this common conception is wrong. Gailer roams from medium to medium but his works focus on printmaking and how it is the most appropriate and effective medium to discuss the contemporary world.

Unique State features prints on the floor. Yes, I know what you are thinking. How can precious prints be left on the floor? But Gailer is not your conventional artist and his works are by no means conventional pieces of art. For the month of August he has printed his artwork in Canberra-based magazine Art Monthly, copies of which will sprawl the gallery floor. By doing this Gailer is reinvigorating the print medium and showing us how in reality printmaking is everywhere. Gailer returns printmaking to its democratic roots. He reminds us that in today’s manufactured society print technologies produce anything that is a multiple. A car, for example, is just another printed state in an edition. By bringing his artworks into the popular realm he not only challenges our ideas about printmaking, but also our ideas about art. You may ask, how is this work in Art Monthly ‘fine-art’ if anyone can own it? By blurring these boundaries Gailer challenges us. What is art really? It’s up to you to decide.

Joel Gailer would like to thank ART MONTHLY AUSTRALIA

 

Rosalind Lemoh contrasts the living vigour of the natural world with the severe dynamism of industrial reality. Her ability to evoke new meanings in familiar objects such as fruit is uncanny. She overturns conventional perceptions of the weight of objects, their uses and their meanings. The banal becomes the sacred: a banana, a monumental sculpture of polished concrete smoothened with a lead coating. But despite this shiny finish, the banana maintains its every bruise and blemish reminding us of the life it once lived in the fruit bowl before it was given pole position on the trophy shelf.

Using found objects, both living and inanimate these sculptures are a product of Lemoh’s personal experience between being a nature lover an urban-liver. Lemoh takes you on a journey through the life of the object, but she evokes new possibilities. Across different mediums, she explores the emotional and symbolic meanings embodied in them. Her creations startle us as they express the way small and mundane objects come to carry memories and sentimental significance in our lives. But these works are more than personal. Lemoh explores the reality for objects and living things in a natural, yet urbanized society. The new kinds of evolutions living things are confronted with in the face of industrial changes. Sump oil contained in small glass bottles engraved with delicate forms such as the heart or bones speak of this connection between human, natural life and industrial production and its effects. Experiences of both come together in poetic pieces that evoke emotive response and speak about this duality and conflict between our inclination to the natural but dependence on the industrial.

Adapted from catalogue essay by Isabelle Morgan; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.

 

Dirty Water is an exploration of nuclear activity in Australia. It raises many questions, and powerfully associates them with a shared nostalgia. Nuclear matter has often been tested, mined and dumped on Aboriginal land- with devastating consequences- but it has affected many more Australians, including all of Adelaide when a radioactive cloud from British nuclear tests at Maralinga passed over in October 1956.

In some of the video works, the transport of radioactive materials and nuclear waste through the Australian landscape and via bush highways is cheekily depicted. For instance, in Nuclear Highway barrels of radioactive waste tumble carefree through a small town, past road signs and men mowing a grassy median strip. In other videos, Aboriginal women move through landscapes that have been irrevocably changed by colonisation, their presence highlighting how Indigenous people have been forced to change the way they interact with land that they have been living with harmoniously for many thousands of years.

Having lived in the outback and worked in Aboriginal communities, the political is personal for Alder, but she does not expect everyone to share her concerns. Either way, Dirty Water can be enjoyed as an exhibition of beautiful printed images, moving in both senses of the word.

Excerpts from essay by Annika Harding; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.

 

With a background in both archaeology and visual art, U.K. Frederick is interested in the relationships that we form with objects. For Lament, she is exploring the record, and the exhibition will include prints made from records and music digitised from those same records. Through this combination of image and music, Frederick creates a reflective space in which the viewer can experience the enduring emotional effect of records and their music - an effect that can take you to a different time and place.

Frederick prints directly from the record, calling attention to the record’s physicality-and conversely the disembodiment of music bought online. It is this physicality that people bond with, and perhaps one of the reasons that they are still so valued by many people. Some of the magic of records lies in the fact that you can love it to death by playing it over and over again, as the sound quality and surface gradually wears away.

Excerpt from essay by Annika Harding; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.

 

There’s something about photographs that makes people trust them. Clem Baker-Finch questions this inherent believability by exploring and exploiting the use of photographs in trashy magazines. In these magazines- such as OK, Women’s Weekly or New No Idea- photographs are often provided as evidence. Evidence of celebrities’ rocky marriages or lovers’ quarrels, disordered eating habits and potential ‘baby bumps’.

Baker-Finch appropriates an image cropped from a magazine cover, and lets the words speak for themselves through the image. It’s all in the process: a computer program that he devised picks out the average colour of where a letter will go and writes the next letter in that colour, so that the words are woven tightly into the image. Even though these images are from cuttings, you can’t escape their magazine context- headlines, bar codes and inset images all push their way into view.

Baker-Finch also significantly enlarges these small cuttings from throwaway magazines, further highlighting the gravity, tragedy and also the humour in these modern relics of celebrity culture. But Baker- Finch isn’t being polemical; he is just making an observation, and like the readers of trashy magazines, the viewer must choose what they want to believe.

Excerpts from essay by Annika Harding; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.

 

Artists: Kate Barker, Dean Butters, Bettina Hill, Helani Laisk, Ishak Masukor, Dan Lorrimer, Joanthan Webster and Fiona Veikkanen

It’s always a challenge to curate a cohesive exhibition when bringing together the best emerging artists working in a particular time and place. At a glance, it appears that the ties between the works in Blaze 6 are tenuous, but then it becomes apparent that space—between the works and as a central ide—links the works together.

There are many ways to define the spaces these artists engage with- domestic spaces, virtual spaces, remembered spaces, rooms, galleries, streets, personal space and the body. Spaces can be finite or infinite; sometimes they are explored and sometimes merely noticed. This preoccupation with the idea of space may have something to do with the uncertainties of the age that we live in, in which people are turning back to the tangible realities of human life. And maybe this preoccupation with boundaries, or lack thereof, is also a way for these emerging artists to locate themselves and their work within the broad context of contemporary art.

Photograph by Brenton McGeachie.

 

I’ve heard it argued that it doesn’t matter if Gina Reinhardt has editorial control over the remnants of Fairfax newspapers because no one is compelled to read them anyway. But what if Gina was to offer something so delicious, so delectable and so salacious that it was impossible to resist?

It is the explosive cocktail of megalomania and human frailty that Yesterdays’ News is concerned with. Media saturation has been a recurring theme in the work of Natalie Thomas possibly because there is no point of satiation in sight. She does not take an academic approach to Yesterdays News being an artist who works from the content rather than as an observer or bystander. From this place Thomas invites her audience to share her experience, ironically, an experience in which they are already profoundly immersed but would not have considered in quite the same way.

Yesterday’s News is a personal audit of media consumption that explains why Thomas often makes poor consumer choices. It is an intimate look at her “diet” although a diet it is not. “I try to be well informed, to read quality, well-researched, current journalism” she says” but more often than not I find myself clicking on links leading to a gallery of Hollywood's shortest weddings, or cosmetic surgery procedures gone bad. It's a real dilemma.” The material that Thomas uses is so seductive that it impossible to ignore.

Adapted from catalogue essay by David Broker; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.

 

Belinda Toll believes there are always new ways to see. It’s like finding shades of purple and blue in the black night sky. Or a glimmer of sunlight reflected on a shiny car bonnet. The transient nature of light constantly creates new visions, sensations and emotions. Holding Light is about the power of light and how it alters the way we look at things.

Toll is known for her clever use of glass that plays with optical perception. She embraces the unique capacities of this medium to structure and extend sight. In Holding Light, digitally manipulated images and objects are placed behind glass domes. Toll uses the inherent qualities of light in the glass, but also LED lighting to abstract our perception. She transforms the contents of each light box, encouraging us to see from new angles.

Everyday objects such as a feather or straw embody new life. Toll plays on the dimensions and scale of these objects to alter our thinking about them. Lighting a net from behind, it is filled with euphoric colours reflecting off the glass. It becomes a multi-dimensional abyss; a small universe. The humble net becomes something bigger, alluding to realms beyond human experience.

Toll’s sculptures investigate how “optical devices can probe the gap between reality and imagination”. They obscure our original understanding of everyday objects, pushing us beyond our usual capabilities to see. Toll goes beyond the mere materiality of the object, visually suggesting new possibilities of perception. These objects no longer have their usual function or meaning, but are catalysts for larger ideas about time and space. Toll’s work invites the viewer to open both eyes and mind wider; to think about how we perceive the world - all that is inside and outside it - in new and exciting ways.

Words by Isabelle Webster; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.

 

Flutter is a multi–channel sound installation exploring the dynamics of communication between individuals in physical and social space. Comprised of an array of 16 speakers, the work presents several thousand recordings of individuals aged from six to sixty playing the children’s game ‘Chinese whispers’. Messages are passed from one individual to the next, progressively evolving over time as a diversity of interpretation colours the transmissions; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.

 

From bedtime stories to legends, tragedies, chronicles and rumours, we all love a good story. They make us laugh and cry, they teach us lessons and morals and they even sometimes give us wisdom and new ways of seeing. Whatever their purpose they are everywhere we go. Spoken out of mouths, written in books, lying in the abyss of our imaginations. Inspired by the Seanchaí, a respected Irish storyteller and bearer of folklore, Andrew Moynihan explores the oral story. Handful of Stew transforms the oral legend into a visual experience that surrounds the viewer. Linking this curiosity in his Irish heritage with his interest Australian Indigenous oral storytelling, Moynihan creates his own ancient tale. A tale of a troubled teenage boy rescued by a shark and brought to solid ground. Mystified the viewer becomes immersed in the story, amongst the dark shadows and blotched shapes revealing themselves in the monoprints. Although the events of the story seem impossible, one can relate to the boys feelings and in this respect Moynihan imports his ancient tale into the present. One can connect with the story, even though its events seem mystical and impossible. Moynihan therefore reminds us of the role of the story in our lives. He celebrates the simple presence of the story and leaves it up to you to decide what you do with it.

Adapted from catalogue essay by Isabelle Morgan; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.

 

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