Slightly unusual and wildly refined are the defining features of Toronto-based MSDS Studio. For them, material is the central focus and their philosophy is based on the principles of good design and the inheritance of craftsmanship, while engaging with contemporary culture.
Their collection Source Materials is a perfect example, each piece – whether furniture, object or lighting, is unfussy and practical, timeless yet with a quirk. All about material, MSDS have used just one type per object allowing its individual characteristics to drive the final design. The Trio Tables, for example, are fabricated in aluminium, wood, and composite sheet and while on first look are quite similar – definitely from the same family, they’re also very much unique to their primary material. The timber Trio has light legs in varying lengths, the one made from composite much more solid – joined by large panels, and the tops on each one differ slightly. The Ancestor Chair, in a smoky blue washed timber, feels extremely modern and yet clearly draws on the traditional typology of the Windsor back. The Aluminium pendant lights turn simple silhouettes and an industrialised material into textural, achieved by the sand casting process. MSDS take a simple form and use well-proven, basic design principles as the starting point and then let the material in question do the talking, adding their deliberate hand of originality.
Keeping things simple and working closely with material certainly seems to be a method that is working for MSDS. Source Materials is a collection in which each piece feels original and yet understated, is sensible and subtle, exciting and extremely beautiful.
Abstract art is deeply engaged with science and the natural universe and yet not always in specific ways that are readily apparent. Discovering ways to articulate these often complex ideas provides the central motivation for artist Marisa Purcell when she enters her Bondi studio. In this exhibition at the Edwina Collette Gallery Purcell looks specifically at the ‘screen’ both as a metaphysical concept and a physical manifestation.
Purcell explains that painting allows her to indulge her very varied interest base (she has a long and dedicated study of science and philosophy to draw from) and filter it through her work; as a result the canvas becomes the actual screen on which to project her ideas. Intangible concepts about the nature of reality, coupled with the open-ended process of making an artwork, gives rise to paintings that provoke thought and engage the senses.
You wouldn’t be alone in assuming that these artworks could be dark and introspective but the opposite is true, Purcell finds joy and optimism and there is a tremendous sense of wonder in these works. The viewer is left to feel like we’re exploring a distant corner of an uncharted universe. Purcell applies thinly veiled layers of transparent colour that materialize like watercolor on the linen surface, she then overlays gestural and intricate marks with ink, dried pigments and pastels. The process is highly experimental, with the choice of materials being informed by what occurred previously, one action prompting the next. As Purcell explains “I can do with the brush things that I could not otherwise predict or preempt.”
Akin to alchemy, Purcell conjures an exquisitely beautiful collection of paintings that provide a glimpse into the connections that underpin our place in the natural world. Her works glisten and dance, in surprisingly varied ways, and it’s impossible not to share in her enthusiasm.
Marisa Purcell ‘Screen’
Edwina Corlette Gallery
2/555 Brunswick Street
New Farm QLD 4005
Tues to Sat 10am – 5pm
or by appointment
14 May – 11 June 2016