An ominous and enveloping cloak of ash shrouds Roman Stachurki’s exhibition Second Nature. This is the first of a pair of exhibitions concerned with the future of planet earth and Second Natureexplores a dark and forbidding possible reality.
Stachurski says that his works reflect his interest in “the current state of the planet and civilization, particularly the consumerist culture of mankind and the modernizing world.” Themes of the terrestrial and the possibility of decay are expressed in Second Nature, a mixture of static and kinetic sculptures feature in an ash covered gallery space that transforms and transports the viewer into Stachurski’s own vision of the future. Second Future, is set in a far more traditional gallery setting with plain white walls and clean floors. However, themes of a grim and frightening future persist. The influence of science fiction on both Second Nature and Second Future is evident with the artist acknowledging the influence of sci-fi author Phillip K Dick on his work. Whether or not one subscribes to such a bleak outlook of the future, it is fascinating to see how Stachurski conjures such an alarming experience of the future.
A close study of Patrick Larmour's screwed up paintings will reveal that these were competent completed works that appear to have been destroyed before exhibition. A little more research will also reveal that the patterns so beautifully rendered on the canvas are those of his distinguishing shirts (or sometimes those of his friends). Thus they convey aspects of self reflection and a mood of sadness. Larmour’s work is often characterised by a sharp melancholy that in these works has been further sharpened by his attentiveness to what has apparently been discarded. Although he does not consider the work to be sculptural the process of destruction is actually a method of creation. As the paintings become three-dimensional each fold and twist is that of the artist’s hand, or more precisely, a problematic collaboration between mind and body. At this point the “experimental” gives way to the metaphorical, whereby the frame rejects its role as a support and stands for the artist’s body – flawed, fragile, unreliable and unpredictable.
In Holly Granville-Edge’s exhibition Throwaway she investigates what is valuable in a photograph. Whether it is a snap from a family photo album or an image seemingly insignificant or insipid, photographs have significance and prominence in art and in everyday life. ‘Photographs can carry a weight and a value far greater than the paper they’re printed on’ says Granville-Edge. Throwaway features constructed colour photographs featuring everyday objects and staged moments. Narrative and meaning do not take form, rather the work aims to highlight a contrast between the valued photographs and the memories they contain.
Ralph has produced a series of intensely coloured paintings that reference flashbacks to another era when colour reproduction was less taken for granted and its rendering of greater significance.
James Rowell’s paintings reveal sexual innuendo in the form of puns based on the name of English philosopher John Locke.
Abstraction has never looked so good, nor has it ever made you think so much! Ella Whateley’s exhibition Communicants at Canberra Contemporary Art Space, Manuka takes abstraction to new levels, offering an aesthetically awesome experience and, if you please, a little meditation on the side. You are in a space of immense and subliminal colour. You will have to fight hard to resist being enveloped by the pools of inky colour and clouds of pigment that swarm you, inducing a dense state of contemplation. Although simple fields of colour appear empty of subject matter, they are fulsome in the depth of their tones. These are works of art, but in the volumes they create they can also be gateways to spaces beyond the real world. Spaces of contemplation for thinking about all that is above and beyond the human sphere.
“Photos often appear on paper, canvas and in picture frames", says Julia Boyd, " They also surround us in our every day lives; in magazines, online, in the media or as family mementos. My work is inspired by this saturation of images and I use the humble two-dimensional photograph as my starting point for a three dimensional artwork. The photograph becomes a fluid form that can be painted and manipulated in lots of unusual ways."
Shot over eighteen months on the New South Wales South Coast, View From Here is part of a series exploring forgotten spaces in the urban landscape.
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
Hannah Bath recreates family photos and holiday postcards, carefully manipulating the colour palette in order to instill feelings of nostalgia and longing. Intense colours bleed in from the edges, mimicking imperfections in photographic processes. The landscapes and scenes that Bath reflects upon are altered and exaggerated, creating an idealized memories.