SMASHED SCREENS CIARAN BEGLEY | JESSICA BRADFORD | CHRISTIAN DAVIS | ADRIAN DE GIORGIO | GEORGIA EMSLIE JODY GRAHAM | KASANE LOW | AL POULET | COLIN RHODES | LAURENCE WILLIAMS | ROHAN WILSON
SMASHED SCREENS 19 November -3 December Excuse me, I have something in my eye Let’s examine the light emanating from an LCD screen. At first glimpse it’s dull, matter-of-fact: a cold echo of the lifeless machinery within, emerging into the world. Take a second look, however, and it’s a riot of colour. Little blocks of twinkling light dance up and down the spectrum, shooting you a sideways glance as they slip by. An iridescent carapace of unintended hues shimmers into life every time you tilt the screen. This is a contemporary symptom, a cracked vision of a world that is no longer fixed. Our optics are increasingly splintered, just as our notions of what constitutes an authentic experience can change in less than the time it takes to beam a video across the planet. Comprehension is subtly and irremediably evolving. Each of these artists partakes in a view of the world that is as dazzling and unceasing as a firefly ricocheting in a bottle. What happens when the screen is smashed? Suddenly a mediated view of the world becomes compromised. The world contracts in uninvited and unpredictable ways. At the edges, the true dimensions of that which couldn’t be confined – couldn’t ever be rendered across the shallow peaks and valleys of a digital screen – begins to leak out. Kasane Low’s work apprehends this phenomenon in a very literal sense. Her cast glass constructions are comprised of smashed television screens, the high-quality optical glass melted out of all comprehension. Meanwhile, the candystripe colours of Adrian De Giorgio’s paintings delve into the miniature universes of vintage video games and oilslick rainbows, a queasy sugar-high waiting to collapse.
Georgia Emslie’s meticulous drawings engage with an entirely different type of screen. A reconstituted, pathologised vision of a woman’s body is pieced together through myriad medical imaging techniques, and then brought back to some semblance of life in her exquisite depictions. Displayed in perspex boxes, they recall the pseudoscientific Victorian world of the vitrine. Ciaran Begley’s ceramics incorporate and encapsulate glass at their core, the sophistication of the glass world engulfed by the homeliness of clay. These are gems being fostered into life, putting the viewer in mind of the monumental and metamorphic processes of the earth, a grand geological drama to furnish us with glossy transparencies to stretch across screens and windowframes. Jessica Bradford’s own ceramic pieces engage with different kind of lens, the ambiguous distorting lens of memory and inherited ideals. Each one of the artists in this survey engages in a perspectival shift, a subtle adjustment to optics and aesthetics informed by a world that is no longer pre- or post-digital, but enfolded and interpenetrated by the unexpected revelations of the digital at every point. Theirs is a dazzling place, where personal reveries that seize on microscopic details meet broad and courageous vistas. Let’s join them.
- Elliot Waugh The Mechanisms of an Event Art confronts the limits of meaning. It operates in that hinterland between sense and anti-sense; between language and babble; between the mundane and the marvellous. It is always at once generative and defunct. Dragged forth from some other place, it relies entirely on encounters with embodied subjects other than its creator(s) to continually produce the life it pretends. The artist is never really Pygmalion, but always in a way, Frankenstein. If art is a product of unconscious desires (and more or less conscious strategies of production), those desires are invariably unfulfilled or transcended.
When I am in the middle of making art I ask myself only very simple, practical questions, and even then in a dumb, quiet kind of way. I know where things are going, though not in a way that I could explain either to myself or anyone else. There is no cartography in this zone. No GPS. This is precisely because art emerges from a sort of in-between place. Artists at work are forever hopping across the boundaries of the dialectic: now here, now there. Artists are shape-shifters. It often makes them elusive souls at times when they are called on by the world, and magnificently present at unexpected moments. When I am confronted with other art my reaction is different to when I am inside the process of making. I am overcome with an urge to describe it. This petrified, once-molten block emitting an uncanny glow here, this geometric, constructivist frame, fashioned from mundane materials, that is a conduit for sound, there. An apparition made tangible and solid. A painting whose tangled, shallow pictorial depths are landscapes for psychological wandering. One way or another, art, for me, is always about representation. It is always situational. It is always saying something about something. Even when it is gnomic or seemingly hermetic. Even when it chatters like a person made delirious by some plague. It has something to say. I listen to it â&#x20AC;&#x201C; with all my senses. I want to engage. Sometimes an exhibition of work by different artists remains just that. Nothing is added through the act of mixing. No new job of work is done by the disparate objects sharing the space. That is not the case here. Artist and curator, Priscilla Bourne has incisively collaged together a diverse collection of works from a group of artists whose practices, on the face of it, emerge from very different wellsprings. I suspect that this is not quite the case. We have some fundamental things in common. Not least there is an engagement with the raw stuff of making and an interest in the potentialities of poor (inartistic) materials and the ready-made. Moreover, thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a common belief in the innate capacity of inert materials to communicate sensually. We find here reanimations and repurposing of the cracked and used-up, sometimes with the artist having first taken the material/object to the brink of formlessness.
The objects in this exhibition invite viewers to engage not just with each one individually, but with the group en masse. In fact, they exist as a group, sharing the space of the gallery productively. They interrelate and suggest interrelations. With the creation of these subtle networks of communication between objects, the stage is set for the exhibition to be made and remade continually through the dialogic participation of viewers. In keeping with the ideas of Russian theorist, Mikhail Bakhtin, I perceive each artwork in “Smashed Screens”, and therefore the exhibition as a whole, as consisting of multiple authentic voices. The authorial voice (of the artist and of the curator) is not singular, but an accumulation of the voices of the others it contains. By dint of the choice of materials, as well as any aesthetic act, the work is characterised by heteroglossia; a clash of different utterances and social levels of language. From this perspective, the work (each individual piece and the totality) has the character of an event and is made from the outside by the viewer. If we accept that the artwork metaphorically has the character of an embodied subject, has a kind of personhood imbued by the artist who creates it, then we can recognise that it is also unable to complete itself: it achieves perspective only from outside – only the other is in space, while the individual is oriented by its non-spatial inner centre – and it cannot know its own beginning and end. “Smashed Screens” is therefore durational. But it does not rely on the temporal linearity of moving pictures produced by a camera. Rather, it reaches behind and beyond that paradigm. It has the quality of an event. And, as such, implies community, which is exemplified by the coming together in space, and continuity, which is characterised precisely by its lack of beginning and end, for it is always being made and remade in consciousness. - Colin Rhodes
J E S S I C A B R A D F O R D
Haw Par Villa Rock Study #5
bisque fired porcelain 12.6 x 6.7 x 4 cm 2016 Image credit; Document: Photography Haw Par Villa is a Chinese cultural theme park in Singapore consisting of concrete dioramas and statues of legends, folklore and history. Privately built in the 1930s by the developers of Tiger Balm it was initially conceived as a site for families. The park once provided a fantastical journey to the world of mythology with the aim to morally educate the young, lest they grow too distant from their own heritage. Haw Par Villa was eventually publicly bought over in the 1980s, and in the intervening years repeatedly renovated, with sculptures re-contextualised and remodelled, in an attempt to promote an authentic Chinese culture. Through the formal processes of reproduction and remediation I use found family photographs of the park as primary source material in my photorealistic painting, and in my miniature ceramic imitations of the parkâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s concrete landscape. For me, Haw Par Villa has become intertwined with the mediation of cultural concepts; a simulacrum for Chinese culture. In the same way we often look at photographs as if gazing through a window, its physical and temporal mediation instant, and also so often invisibly sensed. If culture as an image is always hyperreal, I attempt to smash the window of a representable reality.
sting tory. tially stical ucate Haw n the alised lture. ound listic crete ation often poral age is ality.
J O D Y G R A H A M
Mummyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Little Helpers
Dolls, sticks, fabric, string, chair legs, wooden bats, bike, parts, rubber tubing, plunger, metal shears, electrical cord, old brooms, snorkel, 2017 Image credit; Graeme Wieand
Mummyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Little Helpers
celebrates the broken, displaced and forgotten and speaks to a long nurtured compulsion to restore and rescue with a strong anti-consumerist, re-use and re-cycle ethos. The work has been inspired by smashed family ideals realised growing up watching American sitcoms depicting happy families, such as The Brady Bunch, Family Ties, Different Strokes etc. Dolls and toys represent the fantasy life played out growing up in a dysfunctional home as well as exercising a mesmerising influence for sinister purposes.
C O L I N R H O D E S
Pedagogical Diagram 2 ( after Klee) pen on photograph 10.6 x 16.4 cm 2017
These works all involve dialogues with used-up objects. The sculptures have at their core singular originary objects, a branch, the base of a fallen palm leaf, a soap liquid bottle, and so on. The objects share two things in common: all were finished with and discarded; and all suggested anthropomorphic forms to me. Some people believe that things that have been used by humans acquire something of the spirit of the users and their stories of them and the situation they inhabit. These are all Sydney objects. They tell Australian tales. The photographs that form the base of the graphic works are also used-up objects of sorts. They are orphaned, old images, set adrift and lost. Some are faded, almost gone. All have been rendered anonymous by time and geography. Like the objects in the sculptures they have not been restored, but rather transformed, through a process of suggestive dialogue, guided by more or less unconscious mark-making and intuition for the subjective depths of each.
have leaf, n: all orms quire ation The bjects aded, aphy. ather r less each.
R O H A N W I L S O N
(detail) gouache on paper 2017
“From Windee in the sky, all hills are down below. Motivation takes some vigorous steps, in all, a healthy day. It’s here my thoughts would warm a chair on a quiet verandah, and all in all, and sometimes now, ...this distance is a dream.”
acrylic on canvas 120 x 180 cm 2017 I believe that through the process of walking one becomes a part of the landscape and is able to enter a meditative frame of mind. This contrasts the stagnant observer who is separated from their surrounds by their gaze. My paintings are similar to walks. In this approach my work reveals aspects of experience and also process rather then outcome. These paintings reflect the conscious and subconscious act of walking.
LAURENCE W I L L I A M S This work explores processes of transduction to intimate a sense of the innate materiality of the sounding object. I work with salvaged and subverted electronics, putting them to alternative and unexpected purposes. The glacial time movements of electronic components encourage us to think of sound events as a coming into being rather than a progression from beginning to end. In this formulation, human agency is reduced to monitoring and/or regulating the operations of the mechanical elements, setting things in their tracks, rather than the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;virtuosicâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; notion of a master musician or performer.
C I A R A N B E G L E Y Triptych after Dan Arps
Three porcelain projector housings (cracked) 2017 In considering my work to present for this exhibition I was left wondering what a smashed screen actually represents. Is it the shift from inbuilt obsolescence to commercialised fragility? Maybe it was an inbuilt hatred of change? (I stubbornly kept my phone with a broken screen for over a year despite the increasing impediment this had on all its functions). Could it be the veil we see reality through finally made visible when it structurally collapses? In the end I decided on the hidden shame. The object you break over and over again that you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fix because you know you will do it again. This stimulated a terrible journey into the boxes of ceramic and glass experiments that fissured, cracked and failed in firing. This collection that I somehow also felt compelled to collect over the years and hid even from myself is what I chose to present under the Smashed Screen banner. Like the shame of producing my broken phone to make a call and having someone spot my failure to preserve the sanctity of that most precious of social devices â&#x20AC;&#x201C; here I present the badly formed, misfired, prematurely cooled and misshapen vestiges of my ceramic practice. I kept them because I find beauty in them but it is a beauty built on failure, formed by incompetence and catalogued by an inability to throw things away.
ering nbuilt ed of year be the pses? r and again. glass ction even nner. aving cious urely them rmed away.
ADRIAN DE G I O R G I O
acrylic, pine, and fly screen 2017
GEORGIA E M S L I E This is a body of work rooted in the human response to medical visualisation. There is a sense of strangeness that occurs through experiencing a visual representation of the body that cannot be assimilated into body image. It is a feeling that stands for more than just intuitive response, but for the way that our bodies are rendered external objects by the medical institution. They are to be kept at a distance, are seemingly out of our control and shrouded in mystery. This â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;strangenessâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; has been the instigator of an exploration of the contradictory representations of female form surrounding us, From the medical institute to the the sanitised suggestions of female form in the built environment. This is a body of work that links the decorative objects in the surgery waiting room to the reality beyond. By playfully exposing the contradictions in how we respond to representations of the female body, it is ultimately conveyed as unseen.
porcelain 19 x 12 x 12cm 2017 Image credit: Interlude Gallery
CHRISTIAN D A V I S
Not the Place
fine art rag print on aluminium with resin coats. 3 panels 145cm x 105cm
My work is driven by the process - firstly digital, which enables one to freely reproduce, replicate, recreate and edit an image into many different states, and then continued through the various steps of printing itself. Through this evolution the image becomes removed from itsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; original role as a photograph of a place visited. It becomes a reflection or remnant of what is left after leaving a place. It may even grow into something of its own, a new place, one that never existed but echoes a lingering, perhaps ancestral, connection with an enduring natural world. Not of a place, but of what remains within us.
K A S A N E L O W Too often in this modern world we see ourselves as seven separate entities and we forget that we are part of a much greater reality. It is a matter of perception. It is physics: you, me, we are all part of the same quantum field, and the universe is just one big soup of molecules bumping up against one another, interacting, connecting and exchanging.
TV glass 4.5 x 4.5 x 4.5 cm 2017
front cover: Jessica Bradford
Haw Par Villa Rock Study #10
bisque fired porcelain 2016, 16.5 x 13.2 x 5 cm Image credit; Document: Photography Representation: Galerie Pompom
19 November â&#x20AC;&#x201C; 3 December 2017 Curated by PRISCILLA BOURNE Install shots by Silversalt Photography Printed by Dark Star Digital www.darkstardigital.com.au
Trinity Grammar School 144 Victoria St Ashfield NSW 2131