Flux

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UNSW Art & Design Masters of Art Semester 1, 2018 Consolidated Studio www.artdesign.unsw.edu.au www.instagram.com/flux-exhibition


FLUX Gaffa Gallery Sydney 7 - 18 June 2018 An exhibition by UNSW Art & Design, Master of Art students. It is with great pleasure that we present FLUX, a group exhibition showcasing the diverse studio-based practices of the students of the Consolidated Studio course, at Gaffa Gallery in Sydney. This course is designed to support the development of practice based research and provides an opportunity for students to consolidate their practical and conceptual skills through the production of a resolved body of work, in the context of a professional group exhibition experience. The works presented before you are the result of significant reflective practice and rigorous individual endeavor undertaken within, and sympathetic to, the group dynamic. This dynamic generated a strong basis of mutual support from which ideas flowed to and from, and enabled each individual to contribute meaningfully to the group outcome as a whole. On behalf of the students I would like to thank; the staff at Gaffa Gallery, Richard Crampton from Darkstar Digital and course convenor Professor Paul Thomas. Most importantly, I would like to congratulate this committed group of emerging artists and commend them for their professionalism, and the true spirit of communal endeavor that they demonstrated throughout this experience.

Michelle Cawthorn, Sessional Lecturer UNSW Art & Design, Sydney June 2018


CHRIS CASALI Mutawintji Dreaming Graphite watercolour on Yupo paper 65 x 91 cms

Chris Casali leads a process driven practice, with an interest in surrounding environments that influence her intuitive and responsive art making processes. This exploration attempts to understand and question the purity of artistic practice whilst using painting and drawing as a vehicle for mediated art processes and viewing platforms. Her current body of work presents a fascination for the detail, using illusion as a base to construct multi-faceted, faรงade like relationships. The arrangement and overlapping of form projects multiple viewpoints, the visual language is an array of protean complexity, with no narrative, no start nor finish. This profusion of detail is a process of making, one of reduction and withdrawal; an active removal of oneself from the external to the internal world. These works are about material and process; the density of paper, the way it supports or incorporates graphite. The refusal of content is a quietly defiant act, driven by a desire for simplification and integrity. Going back to basics is an extended meditation on the fundamental artistic tenets of process and materiality.


GIGI HUANG Attachments, 2018 Latex, polyester fabric and thread, spandex, lurex, sequins, copper wire, pva glue and photographs Dimensions variable

Art making for Gig Huang is shaped by concerns central to the primacy of a process-based practice: among others, a response to materials, a tight focus on aesthetic form, and a consideration of colour drive the final results. Initially drawn to textiles for their inherent symbolism and enduring qualities of tactility and flexibility which she articulates by combining with traditional methods such as, shibori, slow hand crafting, sewing and knitting. Huang believes that an artist’s connection with their work is heightened during the making process. As such, she has an ongoing interest in the haptic and a practice that is largely labour intensive and slow. The repetitive act of binding, folding and knitting together, acts as both an intermediary for and mirror of her emotions. Subsequently her works operate as a record of Huang’s thoughts and feelings; which are at times, confused, messy and ugly. Deeply preoccupied with the colour pink (and all its many nuances). Imbued with historic and stereotypical connotations, pink is associated with femininity, therefore, weakness; something delicate, soft and without real substance. Yet, it is not without its many contradictions, which can include the capacity to be strong, powerful and disruptive. Complexities of which allow this colour to act as a reoccurring motif in Huang’s work. ‘Attachments’ is an installation, comprised of a collection of small objects and forms, utilising textiles and mixed media. This project explores Huang’s constantly evolving concepts around femininity, memory and identity.


JINGJING YANG Icarus’s Flight Hand-cut paper installation 200 x 81 x 81 cm

Born and raised in China, studied in United States and Australia, Yang has integrated Western culture while also maintaining the traditional Chinese culture. Yang has a keen interest in legends of diverse cultures, where paper is the main media to tell stories. Working with paper gives opportunities to explore how traditional media carries people’s emotion, provides and expresses various experiences while surpassing all kinds of boundaries. ‘Icarus’s Flight’ for the 2018 exhibition ‘Flux’, comprises 20 pairs of delicate paper wings made from hand cut paper. Each pair of wings is a vessel to reveal the hidden emotions of Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD). As Icarus from the Greek myth pursued the sun with fragile wings, AvPD sufferers also pursue normal interpersonal relationships and struggle with mental disorders without being noticed by people who are not aware of the disorder. ‘Icarus’s Flight’ uses four groups of wings to serve as four steps in AvPD treatments. The fragile paper materially represents people with AvPD, and the paper cutting and subtle text reflect the misunderstanding that they experience. Through this work Yang aims to shed light on this largely unrecognized mental condition.


JIAYING LI Uncertainty Space, 2018 HD digital video, stereo sound Duration 03:32

JiaYing Li is an emerging artist, currently based in Sydney. Her art practice involves video filming, and drawings. In this art work, she combines both: with the characters in scenes shooting video and drawing parts on papers, which explores the relationship of time, identity and memory. With the editing inspiration from an experimental film ‘symmetry’, lost time, early memories, uncertain space, life experience comes up as elements constituting this film. This experimental film is composed of images, video and sound effects, without any dialogue. The film adopts the gray color tone to convey a calm and soothing environment, with the intensity of music to match. The content focuses on the complex transition from childhood to old age. The protagonist is a four-year-old girl and her 80-year-old version. By presenting the real pictures (video part) with the uncertainty of memory (the drawings on the paper) from the perspective of identity in two time period, the goal of this work is demonstrating the power of time, memory and intangibility. Divided into two parts, the work consists of two separate digital video frames, one shown in sequence whilst the other is flashback.


SAFFI WONG Cheongsam 2018 Four-channel video loop

Along with the increasingly rapid development in China today, the social status of women is rising. However, there is still a strong force for women’s true freedom. Gender inequality still exits, as Chinese people’s progress in thinking has not kept pace with economic advances. The conflict between economic development and culture has restricted the social status of Chinese women. Most women are responsible for fulltime work while being criticised for not having enough time to look after their families. Saffi Wong is an emerging Chinese artist, focusing on expressing the internal anxiety of Chinese people in contemporary society through making videos, during her period of studying at UNSW Art and Design. This work called ‘Cheongsam’ is a four-channel video with multiple narratives. The image of a cheongsam is used as a metaphor to demonstrate Chinese women’s struggle for equality. Historically, the cheongsam is a symbol of feminine beauty. However, the cheongsam is like a tattoo engraved on every woman and is difficult to be removed. This conceptual tattoo represents the anxiety that women in China feel today. The cheongsam, a symbol of traditional thought, constrains the progress of modern women. If the historical views of femininity cannot be changed, women cannot keep progressing with economic demands.


JO NOLAN Skin to Skin Mineral Pigment on Vellum 110 x 95 cm

Jo Nolan is a painter. Through colour, form and materiality her works reflect upon the essence of human encounters. She is concerned about the gulf between synthesized, curated and technologically simulated existence and the visceral, experiences of real life the most palpable being encountered through birth, sex and death. For this project, Nolan has painted on calfskin vellum. Vellum has been used since the 5th century for illuminated painting and writing. Skin is a natural membrane symbolic of the veil, the interface between our exposed and curated exteriors and our shrouded and vulnerable interior worlds. Skin also holds an embedded connection with touch. Touch is the most primal of the senses. Experiences with touch affect human capacity to engage empathically. Painting on actual skin is about challenging the prepared surface to uncover the undulating realities. Painting on vellum is a traditional and highly specialized practice requiring restraint and precise application of materials to keep it flat. Working outside of the rules and applying layers of water and mineral pigments, the surface tension is released and the energy locked within the membrane discharged as the material resumes its material reality. During making, the movement of the skin required continuously adaption of the hand to respond to an evolving form.


JOANNA COLE Meanwhile underneath the sky 2018 Oil on board 102 x102 cm

Inspired by en plein air painting ‘Meanwhile underneath the sky’ is an oil on board by Joanna Cole. Her process is the studio-based mediation of direct observation using a limited, localised palette of Australian-made oil paints. Cole paints on large canvas, in this one sitting on the hillside of a property in Turondale, NSW. Subsequent days are spent sketching on paper in an A4 booklet in coloured pencil, chalk pastel and charcoal. Her process creates new destinations; looping image and process, impression to expression, journeying from one “land” to somewhere new. ‘Meanwhile underneath the sky’ suggests there is something happening on this land, and hints there may be something happening in the vast space above. It results from meditation on the question “What can I show you that you cannot see”. Returning to her studio in Paddington, Cole then paints colour swatches, teasing out new relationships between the documented colours. Quartering compositional studies, she creates small abstractions of line and colour which she then transcribes back to large format, layering the image with gestural brush strokes in sometimes unexpected archaeology of place.


KAREN RIETHMULLER Proper Gander (Joan/Oyster) 2018 Fine art digital print in found brass frame, hand gilded with silver leaf 40 x 30cm

Karen Riethmuller’s work explores the concept of femininity as a construction and its relationship to the photographic image. In a global and hyperconnected world, with all the technology and possibilities available to us, we continue to be fed a homogenised and commodified versions of the ideal. In the ‘Proper Gander’ series, the artist examines the role of the mass produced image in the standardisation and increasingly sexualised appearance of the ideal woman. The new photographic technology gave rise to the subversive self-representation of the Victorian ingenue’s carte-de-visits. Mass produced and widely circulated, these “calling cards” evolved into the increasingly stylised Gibson Girls, fantasy pin-ups, sweater girls and hyper sexual Hollywood bombshells. ‘Proper Gander’ is a digital photographic series where portraits of pin-up girls collide with contemporary objects and traditional iconography to create hybrid images.


KAREN LEE Ripple 2018 Paper installation, Arches watercolour paper, acrylic paint

In her career as an art director and graphic designer and now an emerging artist, Karen Lee is drawn to creating pieces grounded in the power of colour to evoke moods and feelings. In her commercial practice, she applies a process of simplifying and finding clarity to support direct communication. Her art practice adds abstraction and ambiguity to this process, allowing her to invite a more open-ended response. Her interest in colour’s power to move the viewer has led her to explore how it can communicate on a subliminal level. Her art practice has recently evolved to recontexualising colour, using geometry and form, light and texture, and composition on the page and in space to help the viewer see and respond to colour in a way that one would not normally experience. This artwork is about the Experience of Colour – both subjective (emotional response) and objective (physics + biology). Starting with basic geometric shapes and colours that resonate with her, the work began by considering graphic representations of movement and light, progressed to modelling 3D forms and how the viewer’s motion in space can change how surfaces and shapes are perceived, and finally to enabling colour to be perceived from multiple perspectives at once. In this work, Lee set out to try and solve the problem of using flat colour on paper, and literally bending space itself to explore how colour could have a more physical, even illusory, impact on the viewer.


MICHAEL BLAKE VRXP01_Gaffa Virtual Reality Simulation Dimensions variable Computer games are a medium obsessed with realism, despite only existing virtually. With each passing year, computer games get closer to their ultimate goal of photo-realistic landscapes and humanity rendered in real-time. Despite having four very real walls that enclose it, the gallery is one of the most virtual spaces of all. Clad in featureless white, it’s aim is to be invisible, a void, a space that can be written over with each successive show. Artists use the space as an attempt to transform the void into a microcosm of ideas. In this work, both virtual spaces, reality and gallery, have been merged into one. Michael Blake’s multidisciplinary practice draws on the tools of modern computer games to recreate the gallery and build upon it. Now the gallery itself is involved in the act of making art. With this work, the gallery forms, reforms and devolves in an endless, unmanageable cycle. The space is trapped in an act of virtual self-bricolage and what was once an attempt at neutrality, or of virtuality, is now the artwork itself.


MEHA GOENKA Dialects that Bind Us Single channel animation Duration: 2 mins 30 seconds

Drawing on her cultural and ethnic roots, ‘Dialects that Bind Us’ is a dialogue between the geographic states of Meha Goenka’s home country, India, expressing their interrelation through the languages spoken and written while referencing the traditional folk art of India, Warli. India, with its rich culture and colonial history exists as a melting pot of numerous languages, cultures and sub sects of religion which contribute to the multi-cultural entity it is. These languages are specific to each community who reside primarily in their individual state. Collectively, they form one nation. Derived from an exploration of self-discovery, Goenka’s unravelling of each culture is equivalent to coming to terms with their historical roots and an attempt to gain a foothold on the life of Indians today. Goenka is keen on connecting the thread which runs through the country, while focusing on the many Indian languages that are so diverse and yet so specific to each community across the country. This single channel animation, visually represents the combining of these languages and symbols into what appears to be a traditional Warli painting, however on deconstruction it is a mix of alphabets from each language which come together to form this work.


MICHELLE CHANIQUE Head in the Clouds Acrylic 50 x 90 x 120 cm

Michelle Chanique’s multidisciplinary practice is fundamentally preoccupied with taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary. This is the reason she often uses the camera to separate herself from what is around her, this helps her to be objective in a subjective world. Chanique has never taken a conscious approach in defining subject matter, however there is a constant theme in Chanique’s work, that of ‘displacement’. This has evolved over time and maybe due to being an immigrant originally herself, displacement has taken on many different shapes and forms. We often dismiss what we see every day or take it for granted, Chanique’s objective is to make the viewer reflect and rethink their perception of the world around them. Whether her approach is dreamlike or conceptual Chanique’s prerogative is to engage the viewer in taking the everyday to elevate the banal, reflecting on how the emotional, psychological and physical can evoke meaning. Chanique’s current enquiry is about the ethereal cloud, a constant that is not a constant, so delicate and light in a way that seems to be not of this world. She deconstructs the idea of a floating cloud by using unlikely materials in an unlikely location. The displacement aims to shift your perception of the everyday cloud as Chanique says “Keep your head in the clouds just as long as you can keep your toes touching the ground!”.


ROXANNE LILLIS ARCHAEOLOGY OF THE EVERYDAY 2018 Mixed media Dimensions variable

This work is Roxanne Lillis’ approach of portraying new ways of perceiving the ‘real’. Components of her life stand in for themselves. It is a form of dislocation where materials from her everyday are removed from their original context and recontextualised as ‘art object’. She considers it an archaeology of the everyday, where the site of excavation is herself. Lillis has always been fascinated with used canvases, household objects and textiles from her immediate surroundings. The idea of them embracing a new life either, by being thrown in the washing machine or working on the reverse side, covered in latex, frayed, adding stitches, safety pins, staples or bolts has become a preoccupation of hers. Taking her direction from abstract art, Lillis embraces textured surface-qualities and minimal mark-making. She uses a variety of supports and objects in each project, however her methodology is consistent. In these works, Lillis is using physical polarities; the hard lines of the metal versus the organic shapes and colours of the canvases and textiles. Patterned fabrics are in dialogue with transparent plastics. Her palette is restricted, allowing the viewer’s focus to remain on the placement and joining techniques, highlighting their contrasting appearances and tactile qualities. The layered works are then combined into an installation where for Lillis, emotive connotations exist, creating a metaphor for her memories.


AMALINA LATIFF An Ode to Mourning 2018 Series of 2 Mixed media Dimensions variable

Nowadays, the act of mourning has become more private, often veiled from others. People are never taught how to mourn. They are never warned that death leaves them at the mercy of a legion of human terrors: flashes of rage, the silent deceitful settling in of pain and sadness, the exhausting weight of guilt and the waves of anguish that creep in time and time again. What happens after death to the people that remain? The passage of time often seems to be the only remedy for grief, but does it ever plateau after? For something so fundamental to being human, modern society’s dismissal of grief has left behind a dysfunctional culture that emphasises stoicism. All that’s left is to pretend, everyone has become good at that. ‘An Ode to Mourning’ serves as a physical manifestation rooted in the loss of Latiff’s grandmother and documents the fragility and silence that comes with the mourning journey. Confronting the reality of loss and operating as a cathartic means of closure, the work directs itself as a metaphorical shedding from a catastrophic stage of life by performing as a visual representation of the stages of grief, honing in to the instability that is mourning. As a means to normalise the conversation about death, to learn that these losses are beyond one’s control. It’s unpredictable and brings us to our knees. Let it, fall to your knees and be humbled. It’ll get better.


WEIQING JIANG Unity 2018 600 gsm paper, watercolour, split pins 60 Ă— 60 cm

Weiqing Jiang illuminates the meaning of unity through paper sculpture. Her contemplation of unity is expressed via the simplified human form fabricated as paper cut outs and assembled in simple spheres. There is flatness and depth, the two dimensional forms come together to create three dimensional objects. The different spheres represent different cultures and different people. She questions the oneness of humanity through sculpture irrespective of race, religion or gender. The outside of the spheres are painted white for unity, the insides are painted a different color to demonstrate different cultures. Human figures of paper are placed inside the sphere, with one light bulb. All of the shapes are connected inside the sphere. When the light is turned on we observe the shadows and see the variations between the spheres. Jiang installs several figures in a repetitive way, using color to accentuate contrast and radiance, maximizing the interplay of light, shadow and weight in three dimensions. A desired outcome is that the audience conclude that they are one family and the earth their common homeland.


TAMARA PAVLOVIC Modern Venus Expandable foam, wire, rope, gesso, copper pipe, custom wood box and paint 88 x 31 x 28 cm

Tamara Pavlovic is a Sydney based multidisciplinary artist interested in female identity and gender roles imposed by society. In this body of work, Pavlovic has purposefully moved away from her preferred mediums of oil, ink, watercolours and collage to challenge herself further by experimenting with expandable foam, wire, ropes and clay. In her sculpture ‘Modern Venus’, Pavlovic investigates the multiplicity of female roles in today’s western world. The fragmented body sculpture represents women caught up in their daily routine and juggling these roles of mother, wife, worker, daughter, nurse, chauffeur, cleaner, cook and feeling torn and conflicted. Throughout the history of Art, women’s breasts were the topic of fixation but more for other reasons than sexual. They represented fertility, they were a symbol of woman’s nurturing role and a symbol for life. The title ‘Superwoman’ reflects the song written by Alicia Keys that talks about our imperfections and flaws but still being powerful. Pavlovic is concerned with the body image projected by celebrities via social media and what effect that leaves on the young generation. Celebrating the natural size and shape of women’s breasts as distinct from the artificial implants and cosmetic surgery used to enhance the appearance of their breasts, is illustrated with a ceramic relief sculpture hung by ropes on the wall.


HO TAK, YU (ROY) Print Advertisement 2046 by Grassby 2018 12” x 24” Canvas print, A3 Satin photo paper 200gsm and A3 Coasted paper 160gsm Dimensions variable

Ho Tak’s art practice highlights environmental issues caused by human activities. With his work, Ho Tak reminds the audience that now is the time to take action against environmental destruction. In this work we are asked to imagine the year 2046. The human population has reached a level where food shortage caused by global warming has become a catastrophic issue. The human race has gone through a drastic mutation to cope with the new paradigm and instead of growing hair we now grow grasses and plantations on our heads so that we can produce sufficient nutrients by photosynthesis. Through computer retouching of photographic images and composing them in a form suggestive of print advertisement, the work illustrates the futuristic look of humans and questions whether consumerism will still be strong even though it was the root cause of nature’s destruction.


MARI UCHIDA Bioppositional Silkscreen print on paper Dimensions variable

Mari Uchida’s work uses transitions in time and space to explore her experience of living away from her home culture of Japan. This piece began with the idea of journey of migration being comparable to a looped video, the same ground covered again and again until any sense of beginning and end have disappeared. Mari explored different ways to express this idea, through video, sound, animation, photography, collage and drawing, until the process itself became a kind of loop. The result was this work, in which images transition towards each other, sometimes leaving a gap, or blending colours and structure in the process. The work seeks to question how we define points of transition or differences in any journey. By placing screen-prints in tones created with different sized dots next to each other, it explores tensions between creation and reproduction, original and copy, primary and secondary, and reality and reflection.


DESIGN Mari Uchida Meha Goenka PHOTOGRAPHY Michelle Chanique Karen Riethmuller Karen Lee PRINTING Darkstar Digital WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO Sessional Lecturer, Michelle Cawthorn Course Convener, Paul Thomas



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