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In/Out: Mimi Jung

In/Out: Mimi Jung

In/Out: Mimi Jung

In/Out: Mimi Jung

In/Out: Mimi Jung

In/Out: Mimi Jung

In/Out: Mimi Jung

In/Out: Mimi Jung

In/Out: Mimi Jung

In/Out: Mimi Jung

In/Out: Mimi Jung

In/Out: Mimi Jung

In/Out: Mimi Jung

In/Out: Mimi Jung

In/Out: Mimi Jung

In/Out: Mimi Jung

Not long ago we looked at the exhibition ‘Wall Hangings’ at Copenhagen gallery ‘Les Gen Heureux’. Today we delve a little deeper into the work of one of the artists, Mimi Jung, whose work is particularly alluring with its soft and rich colours, seemingly organic compositions yet meticulously crafted. Jung’s work is also two things at once: familiar in the sense of traditional techniques and entirely new in what she does with them, an aesthetic that combines old and new.

Jung studied fine art at Cooper Union in New York and graphic design at HGK Basel, where art and design practices influenced Jung’s practice so taking her weavings far beyond the realm of craft-making. Jung is not, and perhaps least, interested in technique (though her skill level is obviously at the highest level) but more interested in ideas.

Abstractions and landscapes, or something between the two where blocks of puffy wool jut out of delicate, intricate cross-hatched lines, or simple plain weave structures with long draping layers of tufting, and sometimes just exposed warp. There are flat pieces and three-dimensional sculptures, pieces that hang on the wall and stand free creating spaces.

For Jung, the process is varied, one piece pre-planned the other completely freestyled. “I like to mix it up”, she says, “If I’m doing a large scale weaving then it’s important to have a general idea of the composition sine each section will take days to finish. For the smaller weavings most of the time I like to keep it open and let the process lead the way.”

Perhaps Jung’s success comes down to her laid back approach, seeing weaving as comparable to meditating and letting the finished product emerge naturally. “I have a general idea of where to take the design of the weaving, but since each weft takes a tremendous amount of time and patience, I can’t really get ahead of myself. It’s best to zone out and remain peaceful until I get to my next color block.”

Credits: Mimi Jung

Mimi Jung

In/Out: Lyn and Tony

In/Out: Lyn and Tony

In/Out: Lyn and Tony

In/Out: Lyn and Tony

In/Out: Lyn and Tony

In/Out: Lyn and Tony

In/Out: Lyn and Tony

In/Out - 2 By LynandTony

In/Out: Lyn and Tony

In/Out: Lyn and Tony

In/Out - 2 By LynandTony

In/Out - 2 By LynandTony

In/Out - 2 By LynandTony

In/Out - 2 By LynandTony

In/Out - 2 By LynandTony

In/Out - 2 By LynandTony

Australian materials are often seen as weather worn, crude, even second rate to European or American ones; a hangover from colonial days gone by perhaps? Lyn Balzer and Tony Perkins of Lyn&Tony confront this psyche with their sensitive jewellery and objects. Manipulating kangaroo leather and native semi-precious stones into exquisite adornments that are appreciated globally but are most importantly; an awakening to what materials Australian designers have to call their own.

Partners in life and in work, Balzer & Perkins are multi-diciplinarians in object design, photography and installation design, falling into jewellery design by chance. While artistically directing a fashion show they produced some tactile ornaments to complement the garments, and ‘2 by Lyn&Tony’ was born.

Recently showing at the Australian Design Centre late last year Scented Intoxication exhibited the breath of Balzer & Perkins’ talents from photography, installation and jewellery design intertwined with their continuing explorations into perceptions of scent.

Since developing two candles with Maison Balzac – Obscurite (Darkness), inspired by the scent of black rocks warming in the sun by the ocean and Etrangete (Strangeness) inspired by the scent of a favourite rainforest waterfall near Byron Bay – the pair have been (what they call) “scenting everything”. ‘Scented Intoxication’ was a further development into Balzer & Perkins’ wonder and obsession with nature; its textures, weights and smells while exploring what happens when different materials come to meet each other in various stages of their natural life cycles.

Meditating on the plasticity of materiality, as always plaited, woven, cuffed and polished these objects are beacons of what the Australian environment is capable of if we only took the time that Lyn&Tony take to truly bask in its beauty.

Credits: Lyn&Tony and Subject Matter

Lyn&Tony

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What It Is'

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What It Is'

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What It Is'

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What It Is'

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What It Is'

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What It Is'

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What It Is'

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What It Is'

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What It Is'

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What It Is'

 

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What it is'

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What it is'

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What it is'

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What it is'

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What it is'

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What it is'

In/Out: Doug Johnston 'What it is'

Doug Johnston’s rope coiled sculptures are like behavioral studies of the hand as if left to its own devices. It is no surprise that his practice evolved out of a need for release from the stress of living and working in the Big Apple. Forms scribbled on paper on the subway, tactile cotton rope found in a hardware store and a fascination with the rhythm of stitches – all are great hobbies for idle hands.

His latest show ‘What it is’ at Patrick Parrish Gallery is a collection of fluid forms, some precise and symmetrical while others are animated, all bound together by their organic personalities and eager dispositions. Made from coiling rope and stitching it with a machine, a secondary painted surface is then applied highlighting or masking the construction. Although familiar in form their use and meaning is lovingly ambiguous, instead of being led you’re asked which one nestles into your soul.

Johnston started out as an architect, moved to NYC, lost his job through the layoffs of the GFC, and so out of a need for creation found his place in the arts. His pieces are unique beacons of where your life might take you if you follow your instinct and trust your hands.

Doug Johnston ‘What it is’
Patrick Parrish Gallery
50 Lispenard Street
New York, New York 10013
05 December – 23 December 2016

Credits: Courtesy of the artist & Patrick Parrish Gallery

Doug Johnston ‘What it is’

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: 'Wall Hangings' - Les Gens Heureux

Currently on the walls of the very romantic 1909 artist’s atelier that is Les Gens Heureux – a three-year-old Copenhagen art gallery founded by Sanne Frank and Anneli Häkkinen – is a simply stunning exhibition of textile wall hangings. It’s the kind of show we’d have trouble not touching, if we were lucky enough to see it in the flesh, as each piece – by the four renowned international artists Mimi Jung, Confettisystem, Amateurs, and Clarisse Demory – is a complete celebration of texture, craft and materials.

While the group of wall hangings is entirely complementary – all embracing tactility and making, colour and composition, each artist has their own unique take on the craft of weaving and the works are very different. Mimi Jung’s pieces, which are from her Shadow and Palm series, are inspired directly by materials and are closer to a form of painting than traditional weaving. Expressive and with a strong point of view, the South Korean artist’s wavy purple and cream compositions, with their brush like flicks and woven texture that pops out almost like oil paint, are inspired by the abundance of discarded palm fronds that are found near her home in Los Angeles. Rather than focusing on execution of technique (though that of course is equally impressive) these are about sharing a personal vision and evoking feeling.

Then there’s Confettisystem – made up of artist/stylist/designer duo Nicholas Andersen and Julie Ho – whose work is about nostalgia, play and celebration, transforming simple materials like tissue paper, cardboard, and silk into very interactive pieces that spark collaboration with the viewer. Different to the sense of permanence in Mimi’s work, something to hang on the wall forever, Confettisystem’s creations are light and papery and somewhat ephemeral. Just imagine the perfectness of these pieces – with their thin layers and exquisitely vibrant colours – hanging in a breeze.

The knotted ribbons by Clarisse Demory, which offer us something more gentle in their pastel tones and soft material but at the same time complement Confettisystem’s joyous wall hangings so well, show yet another take on the art and craft of weaving. Here the layering of strips, in sweet blues, pinks, creams, is quiet and subtle in composition, and no doubt reflecting her upbringing in the northern countryside of France.

For Amateur, Parisian couple Jin Angdoo and Mathieu Julien, material is also important, but perhaps not quite as important as the act of discovery itself. In their wall hangings, from the ‘A Flag for Every Home’ series, we see big shapes and bold colours and work that falls somewhere between art and design. Based on the idea that very home is a micronation, with its inhabitant as its ruler and that every nation needs an emblem, the flags are very much about experimentation. This is a team who are constantly exploring new disciplines and methods, using different materials and processes, tools and techniques, just to see what happens – and we’re very glad they do.

Between soft knots and paper layers, tightly woven threads and block prints, it’s a show of utter variation and truly wonderful texture, simple beauty and inspired makers. Here, the ordinary becomes extraordinary and it’s well worth celebrating.

‘Wall Hangings’
Les Gens Heureux Gallery
Store Strandstræde 19 5.
1255 Copenhagen
Denmark

Credits: Les Gens Heureux

‘Wall Hangings’ at Les Gens Heureux

In/Out: Out/About: DESTINATION SYDNEY Exhibition
Grace Cossington Smith
Trees, c.1927
Oil on plywood, 91.5 x 74.3cm
Newcastle Art Gallery

In/Out: Out/About: DESTINATION SYDNEY Exhibition
Elisabeth Cummings,
The Music Room, 1996,
Oil on canvas, 122 x 122 cm,
Mosman Art Collection

In/Out: Out/About: DESTINATION SYDNEY Exhibition
Brett Whiteley
Self portrait in the studio, 1976,
Oil, collage and hair on canvas, 200.5 x 259 cm,
Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection
Purchased 1977.
© Wendy Whiteley

In/Out: Out/About: DESTINATION SYDNEY Exhibition
Brett Whiteley
Self portrait in the studio, 1976,
Oil, collage and hair on canvas, 200.5 x 259 cm,
Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection
Purchased 1977.
© Wendy Whiteley

In/Out: Out/About: DESTINATION SYDNEY Exhibition
John Olsen,
Sydney Nights, 1965,
Oil on canvas, 91.5 x 122 cm,
Private Collection

In/Out: Out/About: DESTINATION SYDNEY Exhibition
John Olsen,
Kitchen by the Sea, 1971,
Acrylic on plywood, 182.5 x 229 cm,
Institute of Early Childhood Art Collection, Macquarie University

In/Out: Out/About: DESTINATION SYDNEY Exhibition
Cressida Campbell
Interior with poppies (Margaret Olley’s house),1994
Woodblock 120 x 240 cm
Private Collection,
Courtesy Philip Bacon Galleries

In/Out: Out/About: DESTINATION SYDNEY Exhibition
Cressida Campbell
White Waratah, 2000
woodblock 51.5 x 57 cm
Private Collection

In/Out: Out/About: DESTINATION SYDNEY Exhibition
Elisabeth Cummings
Journey through the Studio, 2004,
oil on canvas, 175 x 300cm.
Private collection

In/Out: Out/About: DESTINATION SYDNEY Exhibition
Kevin Connor
Town Hall Crowd 2004
oil on canvas 198.5 x 244 cm
Collection: James and Jacqui Erskine

In/Out: Out/About: DESTINATION SYDNEY Exhibition
Lloyd Rees,
The Harbour from McMahon’s Point, 1950,
oil on canvas, 77.2 x 99.7cm,
Art Gallery of New South Wales collection – purchased 1950

Peter-Kingston_Passing-ferries,-1999-oil-on-canvas,-180-x-360cm_mini
Peter Kingston
Passing Ferries 1999
oil on canvas 180.5 x 360 cm
Collection: The Artist

In/Out: Out/About: DESTINATION SYDNEY Exhibition
Peter Kingston,
Morning Star, 2002,
Hand coloured sugar lift aquatint printed in black ink & gouache on BFK Rives,
68 x 50 cm,
Art Gallery of New South Wales Collection

So much of Sydney’s identity is a product of its situation of the shores of arguably the most picturesque natural harbour in the world. This aesthetic appeal has long been an influence on our artists and this summer three public galleries, The S.H. Ervin Gallery, Mosman Art Gallery and Manly Art Gallery and Museum will present work that utilizes Sydney, in her many guises, as the central theme and motivation. The S.H. Ervin will show Grace Cossington Smith, Margaret Preston and Cressida Campbell, at Mosman, John Olsen, Kevin Connor and Peter Kingston and Manly, Lloyd Rees, Brett Whiteley and Elisabeth Cummings, whose show at King Street Gallery, Sydney featured here last week.

Curated by respected writer and publisher Lou Klepac ‘Destination Sydney’ draws on the power of Sydney and its harbour to inspire artists and the varying yield is where the true magic in this multi-venue exhibition resides.

While romance underlies all three artists exhibiting at Manly the audience is presented with an all consuming, sensual love from Brett Whiteley, a wistful, nostalgic love from his life long friend and mentor Lloyd Rees and the intimate, familiar love from Elisabeth Cummings. This is a particularly impressive collection of the artists’ most seminal works and the gallery’s generous proportions (for several very large scale paintings) sitting virtually on the high tide mark of the harbour make this a perfect place to share in their adoration of Sydney.

John Olsen also speaks of Sydney in emotive terms with a series of works referring to it as the ‘Siren City of Desire’, ‘The Seaport of Desire’ and in his diaries he calls her a ‘blue bitch goddess.’ After living overseas Olsen returns to his home town in the late 1960s and reacts with tremendous spontaneity that culminates with the Opera House mural based on the Kenneth Slessor poem ‘Five Bells.’ This poem tells a quintessentially Australian story of the writer and cartoonist Joe Lynch who falls tragically to his death from a Sydney ferry in 1927. Apparently he sunk to the bottom of the harbor weighed down by numerous beer cans in his coat pockets. You can almost imagine him on board one of the ferries that feature so prominently in Peter Kingston’s wonderful paintings and works on paper for many decades. Both he and Kevin Connor, who presents a grittier, urban view, have extended histories of working and residing in Mosman and neighbouring North Sydney and have built solid careers responding directly to their immediate surrounds.

The S.H. Ervin’s inclusion of the works of Grace Cossington-Smith, Margaret Preston and Cressida Campbell reveal another side of the city, they are less expansive and examine the suburban fringes of the city and interior views. Cossington-Smith painted mostly in and around her home in Turramurra while Margaret Preston made prints of native wildflowers near her Berowra residence. Cressida Campbell continues this tradition with her exquisite woodblocks, preferring subject matter that is personal and familiar.

Klepac explains how artists who live and work in Sydney tap into “the immense collective energy” and “extract their own individual vision from it.” The wonderful bi-product of this exhibition is that the audience bear witness to this dynamism and with the geographical setting of these galleries, share in the celebration of their common muse.

Destination Sydney
National Trust S.H. Ervin Gallery
2 Watson St
Millers Point NSW 2000
Tues-Sun 11am-5pm (Closed Mondays and Public Holidays)
11 December – 21 February 2016

Mosman Art Gallery
Corner Art Gallery Way and Myahgah Rd
Mosman NSW 2088
Mon-Sun 10am-5pm (Closed Public Holidays)
05 December – 7 February 2016

Manly Art Gallery and Museum
West Esplanade
Manly NSW 2095
Tues-Sun 10am-5pm (Closed Mondays and Public Holidays)
05 December – 14 February 2016

Credits: Courtesy of Leah Haynes, National Association for the Visual Arts
Words by Katrina Arent

Out/About: ‘Destination Sydney’

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat']Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'\Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'\Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Out/About: Aida Tomescu 'Eyes in the Heat'

Good abstract painting is a thing of pure joy, it plays with the senses and allows the viewer to explore and assign meaning. This personal engagement with colour, form, material and process is never more critical than in the work of Sydney based artist Aida Tomescu.

If you frequent galleries you will inevitably come across the phrase ‘gestural abstraction’. This can mean a multitude of different things but at its core it suggests a spontaneity in the placement of marks on the canvas or paper. Tomescu is widely considered to be one of the finest practitioners of this form of painting and yet her works evolve slowly and as she confidently states are “as remote as they could be from self expression.” They are the culmination of months (sometimes years) of unbroken concentration, the adding and removing of paint crafting an “entity” or “presence” in the work.

Tomescu also speaks of colour being transformed into the entity she seeks and the title of her show at Sullivan + Strumpf: “Eyes in the Heat” points to a marked change in the temperature that is distilled in her paintings. Like the process of making the work, colour is layered and scraped back to create the perfect balance between the high-heat of the cadmium-rich orange, red and yellow and the breathing space created by the cool whites and icy pale blues. As a result some paintings vibrate with the full force and immediacy of a complete symphony orchestra (like the monumental diptych with the same title as the exhibition) while others like ‘Ash’ are built up to a point where they emanate profound silence.

Aida Tomescu was born in 1955 in Romania and moved to Sydney in 1980. She is an internationally exhibited artist who is represented in many major collections both here and overseas and this forceful exhibition is a must-see for anyone who wants to witness an artist who is truly mastering the abstract language.

Aida Tomescu ‘Eyes in the Heat’
Sullivan + Strumpf
799 Elizabeth St
Zetland NSW 2017
Tues-Sat 10-5pm or By Appointment
03 November – 28 November 2015

Credits: Courtesy of the artist Aida Tomescu and Sullivan+Strumpf
Photography Credits: Nikki Short, Mark Pokorny, Jenni Carter

Words by Katrina Arent

Out/About: Aida Tomescu ‘Eyes in the Heat’

In/Out: Out/About: Noel McKenna ’The Curragh’

In/Out: Out/About: Noel McKenna ’The Curragh’

In/Out: Out/About: Noel McKenna ’The Curragh’

In/Out: Out/About: Noel McKenna ’The Curragh’

In/Out: Out/About: Noel McKenna ’The Curragh’

In/Out: Out/About: Noel McKenna ’The Curragh’

In/Out: Out/About: Noel McKenna ’The Curragh’

In/Out: Out/About: Noel McKenna ’The Curragh’

In/Out: Out/About: Noel McKenna ’The Curragh’

In/Out: Out/About: Noel McKenna ’The Curragh’

In/Out: Out/About: Noel McKenna ’The Curragh’

In/Out: Out/About: Noel McKenna ’The Curragh’

In/Out: Out/About: Noel McKenna ’The Curragh’

In/Out: Out/About: Noel McKenna ’The Curragh’

There is something in the way Noel McKenna presents his ideas and the quiet pathos in his depictions of life that shows a profound understanding of the human condition with all its’ frailties. As respected curator Glenn Barkley so neatly puts it “he depicts the noble poetry of the everyday.”

McKenna chronicles these everyday journeys be they in Sydney, where he works, or on his frequent travels both in Australia and overseas. There is a deliberate banality in the material he chooses to paint and a spare language in his compositions, all underpinned by an insightful humour. In recent years he has made paintings of the big structures located in rural Australia (think Big Banana); a map of all the public toilets in Sydney with a rating system attached (very useful) and a list of things that bug McKenna about the world like “4WDs in the city”, “most politicians” and the fact that “too many things are made in China”.

Melbourne’s Niagara Galleries plays host to the most recent offering, the result of a trip to his ancestral homeland of Ireland and the famous racetrack ‘The Curragh’ in County Kildare. McKenna creates an air of melancholy by depicting the equine residents, these powerful racing beasts, mostly alone in bare paddocks. All the colour and frivolity of the racetrack is absent and in ‘Horse on a jetty’ a brown horse looks wistfully over the sea to a rising full moon and there is a sad inevitability in ‘Breeding Barn’. This relationship between human and animal has long been a curiosity of McKenna and these sparse works, painted in his signature naïve style, continue to hint at a narrative beyond the picture plane.

It’s certainly no co-incidence that this show is being held during the Spring Racing Carnival and in the home town of the race that stops the nation, the Melbourne Cup. These modest and yet surprisingly moving paintings present another side to the racing industry and also encourage the viewer to examine something about ourselves.

Noel McKenna ‘The Curragh’
Niagara Galleries
245 Punt Road
Richmond 3121 VIC
Tue – Fri: 11 – 6
Sat: 12 – 5 or By Appointment
20 October – 14 November 2015

Credits: Courtesy of the artist Noel McKenna and Niagara Galleries
Words by Katrina Arent

Out/About: Noel McKenna ‘The Curragh’

Paul Davies

Out/About: Paul Davies 'Other Desert Spaces'

Paul Davies

Paul Davies

Paul Davies

Paul Davies

Paul Davies

Paul Davies

Paul Davies

Paul Davies Out/About: Paul Davies 'Other Desert Spaces'Out/About: Paul Davies 'Other Desert Spaces'Taking the crisp, clean lines of some of the best modernist architecture as his subject it will come as no surprise that the paintings of Paul Davies are popular. So dedicated to his practice, Davies left his hometown of Sydney two years ago to position himself amongst some of the most quintessential examples of this architectural style and set up studio in Los Angeles.

For those unfamiliar with his work Davies creates his paintings by layering multiple hand cut stencils onto canvas. His paint application, often with gestural marks, creates an abstract ground and the perfect tension with the linear characteristics of the landscape and buildings. In fact it is this relationship between the natural and built environments that has motivated Davies for the past decade as he explains, “my work is driven by friction between opposing forces of built and natural environments, design and art, abstraction and figuration.”

This friction is perhaps at its most apparent in this exhibition ‘Other Desert Spaces’ opening in Sydney this month at Olsen Irwin Gallery. Where in previous exhibitions Davies has meticulously created a scene that you feel could potentially exist in the world, this show sees him break down the picture plane and partner seemingly incongruous features, collage-like, on the canvas. Ice-capped mountains loom ominously over a palm tree surrounded pools in the ‘Built Landscape’ series. Here Davies has deconstructed the modernist theme by rotating four stencils around a central axis and thereby fragmented the formal elements that have ruled his previous exhibitions.

Davies also created a series of works on paper on site during a road trip earlier this year that took him through California, Arizona, Utah, Colorado and Nevada. This work ‘One hour of solstice sunlight’ presents seven repeated mountain landscapes in varying hues recorded using stencils on photosensitive paper. There is a pleasing irony in his use of the stencil, a tool to produce multiples, to create a highly personal reflection of his new surroundings.

It is curious that in an age where Australia’s physical (and therefore cultural) isolation is broken down by new media that Davies’ move to another country has had such a profound effect on his work. It certainly presents a strong case for creatives to take risks with their methods and as Davies returns to the city of angles next week we can’t wait to see what comes next.

Paul Davies ‘Other Desert Spaces’
Olsen Irwin Gallery
63 Jersey Road
Woollahra 2025 NSW
Mon – Fri: 10 – 6
Sat: 10 – 5
Sun: 11 – 5
7 – 25 October 2015

Credits: Courtesy of the artist Paul Davies and Olsen Irwin
Words by Katrina Arent

Out/About: Paul Davies ‘Other Desert Spaces’

Sentinel_mini

The Tourist_mini

Prod_mini

Postcard #12_mini

Postcard #11_mini

Postcard #8_mini

Postcard #6_mini

Postcard #5_mini

Banded_mini

730 Days_mini

There’s definitely something about our feathered friends that’s striking a cord with the contemporary artist in Australia at present. Artworks with birds have starred in many recent exhibitions including Guy Maestri’s ‘Great Divide’, Paul Ryan’s ‘Birds of Wollongong’, Stu James ‘Vignettes’ and it’s impossible not to acknowledge Leila Jeffreys’ irresistible photographs that articulate every micro-fibre of this beautiful creature’s plumage. Opening this week at M Contemporary is relative newcomer to the exhibiting scene Michelle Cawthorn with her show ‘Birdland’.

Cawthorn has wasted no time since completing her Master of Fine Art at the University of NSW earlier this year, with this impressive exhibition closely followed by another ‘Bittersweet’ at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery. Like the aforementioned artists, Cawthorn employs the bird (and other wondrous creature concoctions) as a vehicle to express something else. She explains that her primary motivation is communicating ideas of memory: “We all have an inner landscape, a private space inhabited by our thoughts and dreams, memories and emotions.” These recollections take shape in her works on paper in representational and non-representational forms.

There is an appealing strangeness in these forms; surrealist at heart. While Cawthorn constructs pictures that draw on the familiar, from her thoughts of the past, when transcribed to the page they take on a distinct life of their own. Elegantly interlacing tendrils float gracefully in ‘730 days’, a quizzical single eye surveys the scene in ‘His’ and ‘Hers’ and a curious bird leg emerges from beautifully rendered abstract shapes in ‘Banded’. Her meticulously hatched lines in these drawings, which she describes as meditative to make, allows the viewer to reflect on their own inner workings, be they memories, daydreams or imaginings.

Michelle Cawthorn ‘Birdland’
M Contemporary
37 Ocean Street
Woollahra, 2025 NSW
Monday: by appointment
Tuesday – Saturday: 10 – 5
Sunday: 10 – 4
3 – 31 October 2015

Michelle Cawthorn ‘Bittersweet’
Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Art Centre
782 Kingsway, Gymea NSW
Monday – Sunday: 10 – 5
17 October – 29 November 2015

Credits: Courtesy of the artist Michelle Cawthorn and M Contemporary
Words by Katrina Arent

Out/About: Michelle Cawthorn ‘Birdland’

Out/About: Formafantasma at Parallels

Out/About: Formafantasma at Parallels

Out/About: Formafantasma at Parallels

Out/About: Formafantasma at Parallels

Out/About: Formafantasma at Parallels

Out/About: Formafantasma at Parallels

Out/About: Formafantasma at Parallels

Out/About: Formafantasma at Parallels

Out/About: Formafantasma at Parallels

Out/About: Formafantasma at Parallels

Out/About: Formafantasma at Parallels

Out/About: Formafantasma at Parallels

Out/About: Formafantasma at Parallels

Formafantasma’ is Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin, Italians based in the Netherlands whose inquisitive minds delve into past techniques to shape contemporary forms. Like anthological explorers they glean methodology from the manmade and create objects of beauty labeling and tagging them in a scientific manner, and in doing so crediting, their humble beginnings.

Although only starting their studio in 2009 their body of work is impressive. Each project is thorough in its research, both physically and intellectually, until a purified form is realized. As their name suggests ‘Formafantasma’ – ghost shape or ghost form – the tangible object is only a phantom presence that is appreciated through the manufacturing technique.

They seem to take delight in the grotesque, exploring the unlikely materiality of, lava, fish skins, cow bladders, blood, sawdust, and insect excrement (shellac) in their work. It’s this refreshing take on design and craft that brings them to our shores for the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) talks, Parallels: Journey into Contemporary Making. Starting today, it is a two day dialogue between both Australian and international speakers, about contemporary craft and its place in modern society.

In anticipation of their visit we wanted to highlight one of Formafantasma past projects. Their ‘De Natura Fossilium’ project illustrates their capacity for diversity from one material. Andrea grew up on the island of Sicily and so experienced the behavior of Mount Etna – one of only two active volcano’s in Europe – he talks of ash being in your house, your bed, your hair. It’s this abundance of materiality that ‘Formafantasma’ talks about within ‘De Natura Fossilium’ – “Mount Etna is a mine without miners – it is excavating itself to expose its raw materials” – which in 2013 led them to explore the characteristic and behavior of lava and basalt.

The collection is at once visually arresting and functionally prolific, reminding us of the materials origins and although sometimes raw they are never clumsy. Making exquisite textiles and fine ceramics out of basalt fibre, controlling the heat process to reshape, and refine lava glass are examples of their curiosity of materiality and As Gallery Libby Sellers so succinctly puts it “by returning the rocks to their original molten state Formafantasma are reversing the natural timeline of the material and forcing a dialogue between the natural and the man-made.”

And with all this in mind we will have a keen ear out at Parallels this Friday to hear what Formafantasmas latest discoveries are.

Credits: Formafantasma

Out/About: Formafantasma at Parallels

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