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BLAZE TEN


BLAZE TEN

JOEL ARTHUR CHRISTOPHER BURTON DIERDRE PEARCE KAEL STASCE

REID BEDLINGTON HAYLEY LANDER MILLAN PINTOS-LOPEZ JULIA THWAITES

CURATED BY SARA D’ALESSANDRO MANOZZO


BLAZE TEN A Real Sum Is a Sum of People

Blaze is the CCAS annual group show dedicated to emerging artists in the ACT; for 2016 it includes the work of eight artists: Joel Arthur, Reid Bedlington, Christopher Burton, Hayley Lander, Dierdre Pearce, Millan Pintos-Lopez, Kael Stasce and Julia Thwaites. For its 10th anniversary edition Blaze has a subtitle, A Real Sum Is a Sum of People, which broadly refers to the concept of community and its different readings. On one hand, it indicates a possible way to interpret the rich, vibrant artistic scene of the ACT; on the other, it encourages the artists to engage with a wide idea, and to go beyond their usual practices and conceptual challenges. A Real Sum Is a Sum of People (1972) is the title of a work by the Arte Povera artist Mario Merz. The work shows a sequence of photographs representing an increasing number of people sitting at a table in a restaurant; all pictures are numbered in neon. The numbers follow the Fibonacci series, where every following number is found by adding up the two numbers before it (1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13 etc.). The Fibonacci series -central in Merz’s work- represents one of the main connections between nature and art; as long as the numbers in the series grow, the relation between two adjacent numbers tends to the golden ratio, the one that we find studying the disposition of rose petals, or the parts of a human body, or Phidias’s Parthenon in Athens. The Fibonacci series also expresses the form of the spiral, the symbol of growth, evolution and infinity. The Fibonacci series is the real, universal, infinite sum; to this concept Merz adds the iconic image of Italian conviviality: eating, all together, in a restaurant.


MARIO MERZ Untitled (A Real Sum Is a Sum of People), 1972, gelatin silver prints, neon tubing, stransformer, wire, 60.9cm x 506cm x 13cm


A Real Sum Is a Sum of People portrays a moment in the city of Turin in the 70s, and a strong artistic scene using conceptual art, numeric symbolism and abstraction. The ‘sum of people’ is the community, a unified group based on mutual support, professional exchanges and, of course, friendships: the same features one discovers approaching Canberra’s artistic community, harmonious, united, sometimes idealistic. A reflection on this simple phenomenon - the existence of a strong, protective art community as a peculiar feature of ACT- and the observation of Merz’s artwork constitutes the basis of Blaze Ten; a foundation that does not purport to be a theme, but food for thought both for the artists and for the public. The existence of a community could be connected with the peculiar space and landscape of Canberra; its map, built around strongly geometrical axes, was supposed to connect the city with an organised nature, in order to create the utopic Garden city imagined by Walter Burley Griffin. Christopher Burton started from a map of Canberra: he analyzed it, looking for the places where the artistic community is more substantial, such as studios, exhibition spaces, meeting places. Aggregation (2016) is the result of this investigation: the tonal areas represent familiar gathering places for artists, while the landscape is transformed through flowing geometric, minimalist lines. Hayley Lander meditates on Canberra community and urban planning in her monumental Pick-Up Sticks (2016). Lander started with a casual action, dropping some branches onto a floor, then synthesized their shapes, cut them from wood and finally painted them. Through this process she obtained a representation of fragile balance (to which the title refers) between rational abstraction and organic disposition, mirroring Canberra’s evolving situation. The removal of every stick changes the general plan and the community who is living in it. Space and the symbols that mark it are the focus of Kael Stasce; through his artworks, he modifies the perception of areas and corners, hiding or underlining pre-existent structures. Blaze’s In between planes (2016) alters the CCAS exhibition space, forcing us to consider how we build our usual viewpoint and orientation. A similar interest enlivens Joel Arthur’s diptyches Static Systems and Screen II (2016). Arthur overlaps different


layers of painting, each one characterized by a geometric pattern that interlocks with the others, creating an optical effect that addresses to our perception. This procedure is also a metaphor for how a community evolves, through shifts, connections, affinities and divergences, in a fluid, constantly changing situation. Communities are built through symbols, evident or subtle; their existence strengthens social identity, implies accepted values and represents shared beliefs. Millan PintosLopez’s Portrait of an Angel with a Dirty Face (2016) is a monument to the straight line, the core of abstraction. The decorative quality of its patterns transcends western traditions, giving birth to a universal celebration of the geometric shapes, which nevertheless, maintains its status of immanent object. Julia Thwaites’ Untitled (Are you getting the love that you need? Do you need love in your life to have faith?) (2016) also plays with the ambivalence of symbols; her use of Christian iconography aims to highlight the tension between public institutions and the personal sphere. As a structured and organized religion, Christianity does not address only to spirituality; it binds the community together offering a system of moral precepts, a model of behaviour and, ultimately, life’s final purpose. Being a part of something, the individual can feel protected, since in religion one can find refuge from vulnerabilities and despair. The personal questions the banner poses, in Latin (“Are you getting the love you need?” “Do you need love in your life to have faith?”) are answered publicly - without considering the specific background of the individual. To the contrary, Reid Bedlington turns religious iconography into personal experience. The shrines of Personal Utopia (2016) celebrate private relationships and beloved people through paintings and physical offerings. These secular altars refer to personal stories and feelings - placed on the floor, they glorify immanency, biological life, material desires and corporeal needs. Science and maths are connected to personal experience in the work of Dierdre Pearce. Merz work (2015 - ) is constituted of seventeen brooches made of coloured cuisenaire


HAYLEY LANDER Pick-Up Sticks (detail), 2016, Oil on wood, multiple pieces; installation, dimensions variable


rods, which grow following the Fibonacci series. A short video shows us Dierdre wearing them while they get bigger and bigger. Brooches and cuisenaire rods are both familiar objects - one a wearable accessory, the second a maths learning aid fro children. Pearce’s idea of uncontrollable and infinite growth conveyed by the Fibonacci series is presented in a playful, shared way, associating abstract theory to human dimension; as Kurt Schwitters’ Dadaist Merzbau, Merz work is communicating a highly abstract content through prosaic objects of everyday life. Sara d’Alessandro Manozzo February 2016


HAYLEY LANDER Pick-up sticks, 2016, Oil on wood, multiple pieces; installation, dimensions variable


CHRISTOPHER BURTON Aggregation, 2016, Graphite on board, 122cm x 244cm


DANIEL SAVAGE The Rugby Creed, 2015, HD digital video, 5’14”, stereo, dimensions variable


KAEL STASCE In between planes, 2016, Wood, steel, lead pencil, steel rod, tape; installation, dimensions variable (above, and previous page)


JOEL ARTHUR Static Systems, 2016, Oil and acrylic on canvas, 165cm x 280cm


JOEL ARTHUR Screen II, 2016, Acrylic on canvas, 165cm x 287cm


MILLAN PINTOS-LOPEZ Portait of the Angel with a Dirty Face, 2016, Spray paint on deconstructed plywood, 240cm x 240cm x 1.2cm


JULIA THWAITES Untitled (Are you getting the love that you need? Do you need love in your life to have faith?) (detail), 2016, Fabric, monotype; triptych, central panel 113cm x 100cm, side panels 115cm x 70cm each


JULIA THWAITES Untitled (Are you getting the love that you need? Do you need love in your life to have faith?), 2016, Fabric, monotype; triptych, central panel 113cm x 100cm, side panels 115cm x 70cm each


REID BEDLINGTON Personal Utopia, 2016, Two shrines in painted wood, oil on canvas, cyanotypes; installation, dimensions variable


DIERDRE PEARCE Merz work, 2015 -, Seventeen mixed media brooches (found objects, balsa, jewelery fixings) Video (slideshow in continuous loop); installation, dimensions variable


DIERDRE PEARCE Merz work, 2015 -, Seventeen mixed media brooches (found objects, balsa, jewelery fixings) Video (slideshow in continuous loop)


BLAZE TEN

A Real Sum Is a Sum of People Curated by Sara d’Alessandro Manozzo

CANBERRA CONTEMPORARY ART SPACE FRIDAY 19th FEBRUARY - SATURDAY 24th MARCH 2016 GORMAN ARTS CENTRE, 55 AINSLIE AVE. BRADDON CANBERRA A.C.T. Tues - Fri 11 - 5 & Sat 10 - 4 | www.ccas.com.au

CCAS IS SUPPORTED BY THE ACT GOVERNMENT, AND THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNNENT THROUGH THE AUSTRALIA COUNCIL, IT’S ARTS FUNDING AND ADVISORY BODY.

Blaze Ten @ CCAS (2016)  
Blaze Ten @ CCAS (2016)  

Blaze is an annual showcase of emerging contemporary art in Canberra. Blaze Ten is curated by Sara d'Alessandro Manozzo and showcases the wo...