Kaleidorama online catalogue

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Danica Chappell Emilio Gomariz Biljana Jancic Taree Mackenzie Justine Varga Emma White

Jaimie Warren Self-portrait as Lasagna Del Ray by thestrutny, 2012 (previous)

KALEIDORAMA 13 June – 18 July 2015 Danica Chappell (VIC) Emilio Gomariz (SPAIN) Biljana Jancic (NSW) Taree Mackenzie (VIC) Justine Varga (NSW) Emma White (ACT) Curated by Josephine Skinner

Like stepping inside a kaleidoscope, Kaleidorama is a spectacle of experiments with colour. Filled with an evolving ensemble of artworks and practices, and embracing a spirit of investigation and fun, Stills becomes a kaleidoscopic play of colours and forms. From darkroom experiments to digital aesthetics, the scientific and serendipitous, the old and now, combine, overlay and interplay, as installations and interventions add new dimensions to the multicolored mix. In this fusion and confusion of colour and pattern, these contemporary artists extend mid-20th Century investigations; from the Colour Field paintings that explored the emotive capacities of colour, to the austere stripes and geometric patterns of Op Art and Minimalism, which placed concept and process over signs of subjectivity. Offering a modern-day mash-up of these methodologies and aesthetics, meanings and feelings, Kaleidorama presents a colourful spectrum of new possibilities. Taking us into the terrain of digital interface aesthetics, for example, is a selection from Emilio Gomariz’s acclaimed Macintosh Lab series. Using screen video capture, Gomariz records his Macintosh desktop as he performs artful manipulations with the most basic tools and keyboard shortcuts. In a cross between computer gaming and the rigorous methodologies of science, he tests and trials Mac’s graphic user interface, enabling him to intelligently predict—and then play—with its pre-programmed features.

Finding inspiration where others would find limitation, default settings, numeric colours and generic graphics are cleverly choreographed by Gomariz into animated geometric abstractions. His newly created videos for Kaleidorama, such as Opening Folders (2015), for instance, echo the everyday task of organizing our computer desktops. In Gomariz’s hands, however, folders open and close in vibrant rainbow gradients and perform dynamic dancing patterns. In the earlier work Twisted Coreography (2012) it’s TextEdit windows that perform in an ensemble of monochromatic, moving stripes. Like an animated stripe painting by Colour Field proponent Frank Stella, or perhaps by Opartist Bridget Riley, the windows mesmerize and entertain as they minimize and jump up from the dock. The controlled patterns and hard-edges of Gomariz’s digital choreographies evoke the Minimalist and Conceptual art tendency to reject signs of the ‘author’s hand’. Yet we also watch as his cursor fleets across the screen, selecting folders and clicking commands. By sharing his methods to creating mechanical-madness, much like techy ‘How To’ YouTube tutorials, Gomariz’s videos equally embody the ideals of ‘digital democratization’ and ‘collective intelligence’. In this unique combination of everyday and ‘elite’ aesthetics, Gomariz reframes our functional desktops as the expansive canvas for expressive and conceptual possibilities: his artistic hand reveals the performative

nature of computerised commands and the latent formal beauty within our taken-forgranted digital tools. Elsewhere, projected large-scale, it’s the viewer’s hand that takes centre stage in www. maadonna.com, an interactive webpage created by Gomariz and Kim Asendorf that has featured in international exhibitions, including in Eyebeam, New York. The website window calmly shifts through fields of pixel-perfect colour until someone takes hold of the mouse. Like an illogical, interactive kaleidoscope, streams of tiny graphic icons burst out from the moving cursor—multi-coloured squares, or, changed with a click, fried eggs, flashing computers and psychedelic mushrooms. From the controlled patterns of the Macintosh Lab videos to this freeform flow of symbols, Gomariz’s kaleidoscopic works echo the psychological effects of psychedelic drug taking, as described by Wikipedia. When the eyes are closed, it states, “fantastically vivid images appear: first geometrical forms and then landscapes, buildings, animate beings, and symbolic objects”. Gomariz’s visual intensification of computer-generated colour, however, suggests that our senses are now commonly stimulated not by hippy hallucinogens, but by our daily desktop interactions—what he calls “the magical relationship between computer and user”.

Biljana Jancic’s site-specific installation, on the other hand, uses a single shade of Chroma-key blue to enhance a shift in our shared reality: the increasing reach of digitization into physical space. Playfully reflecting, and, at the same time, disrupting, the architecture of the gallery, she reconfigures inside it the heavy drainpipe tubing that normally skirts along the outsides of buildings. Painting these pipes in cheerful colours is a recurring tactic in Jancic’s practice that belies the subtlety of her refabrications. As the banal building materials are transformed into vast, visually seductive geometric configurations, they formalize her astute observation of the existing lines and spaces of interiors. Her interventions may seem minimal and, in their materials, modest, but they masterfully activate the negative spaces we tend to disregard as voids and sculpturally inscribe sightlines between otherwise incidental features. In Kaleidorama, Jancic’s work echoes the form and function of the gallery’s moveable walls, which usually divide the space but have been removed. Both tracing their absence and serving as a skeletal stand-in, the tubing is fittingly painted in the Chromakey blue used in ‘Blue Screen’ technology. This special effects technique creates digital composites of the ‘real’ and fictional by allowing blue elements to be removed, such as backdrops, and replaced with any alternative we might desire. In this context, the significance of the shade may not immediately be obvious. The potential to look past it, however, is poignant. Jancic’s understatement speaks to the often-imperceptible ways that digital technologies pervade our lives—not just through our online connectivity— but by informing our material reality, including the architecture we encounter everyday. Walking under and around these blue pipes, we might imagine a future that makes more visible this blurring of digital-spatial boundaries. Constructed and painted by hand, these blue lines inscribe our physical space just as software allows us to sketch architectural drawings, and render utopian visualisations of 3-D spaces, via the 2 dimensions of our screens.

A sense of physical disorientation through seeing the everyday in enhanced colour is also evoked in Justine Varga’s new photographic prints. Offering a taster for Accumulate (2015), her extraordinary series to come, Varga has produced improbably vibrant colours and exquisitely layered patterns from interventions in her analogue camera and on the exposed surface of negative film. Deep pinks, velvety oranges and vivid yellows appear quite distinct from her often-muted tonal palette. But while these prints elicit the emotional depths of colour, they also continue Varga’s investigations into the banal realities of her studio and the myriad traces it leaves behind on the material surface of photographic film. Exposed over three-months during a residency in London, Varga’s new prints are compressed accumulations; inflected, quite literally, with her performative gestures, private spaces and personal experiences of time. In Exit (2015), for instance, striking horizontal stripes are an effect of Varga applying tape to the film. This created visual echoes of her neighbour’s tiresome trampling of their staircase, while later, left outside on a windowsill, the negative was mottled pink by rain. In the case of Entry (2015), a glowing yolky yellow tells the unlikely story of a doormat. Placed by her front door, the negative was trodden on repeatedly for weeks. Despite this rough-and-ready approach, it is the intricacies of tiny scratches and markings, the idiosyncrasies of analogue film, which become significant compositional elements when the negatives are enlarged into prints. Within their powerful fields of colour, expressive graphic lines sketch the print surfaces, while dark stains allude to depths beyond their twodimensions. These imperfections exquisitely embellish the works with the texture of space and time, as we encounter in lush colour Varga’s capacity to transform the mundane into the sublime. Accordingly, the disorienting scale of the prints physically and emotionally pulls you in. Producing an altered state of consciousness through an altered state of medium materializes the very essence of ‘psychedelia’—a term, in Ancient Greek, meaning “soul-manifesting” and “mind-revealing”. In this sense, Varga’s works open up their own kaleidoscopic spaces. Looking into them, the aesthetic and affective possibilities of colour expand inwards and outwards from the known edges of the photographic image.

With a knack for DIY robotics and a personal curiosity for the mechanics of perception, Taree Mackenzie also teases our sense of space, light and colour. Just as we find in Varga’s photographic prints, what begin as resourceful studio experiments spill over into the gallery, in this case, as live feed installations and video on screens. In each work, Mackenzie’s improvisational approach to scientific enquiry is in evidence along with her refined eye for minimalist composition. In Black Line Formation (2013), for instance, a repurposed turntable spins a simple wooden structure, while a handy-cam records it and live feeds the image, via a projector, onto an adjacent wall. The work’s title cleverly refers to the moving formation of intersecting black lines that appear in the projection, as well as the makeshift mechanics that form this moving geometric abstraction. Miles apart in apparent sophistication, the ‘making of’ and the ‘finished piece’, the ‘old school’ of analogue and the instantaneity of digital technologies, are here shown side-by-side. Mackenzie’s capacity to reveal the mechanics of illusion while maintaining the pleasure of its magic is a quality that also appears in her two screen-based works. What seem, at least at first glance, to be slick digital animations, hint simultaneously at their hand-made construction. For example, in a somewhat cheeky play with our default assumption that every graphic image is generated in-computer, the black squares in Black Square Arrangements (2011) are in fact cardboard cut-outs. Dropped with a clunk, they ricochet around the edges of the screen. The physicality and flatness of these squares confuses our perception of three-dimensions in a digital world. The capacity for 0s and 1s to create virtual depth via two-dimensions is both evoked and undercut. LCD screens might be so streamlined they’re near invisible in everyday life, but Mackenzie reminds us they aren’t (just) magic portals to high-definition worlds but are mundane, material objects too. In White Light, White Paint (2013), it is the spectrum of colour comprising white light that is made visible by Mackenzie’s homemade laboratory. Combining red, green and blue light to create white, she drips white paint onto a white surface, a process that creates “rainbow orbs” as the light breaks apart with every splash. By presenting her video of the splashes flat on the floor, Mackenzie invites us to imaginatively join her in enacting the experimental scenario. Looking down into the white surface of the screen we can marvel at the real-life magic of light and colour. A magic that suffuses our everyday yet we rarely see, except in rainbows and oily puddles.

Abstract expressionist works by Emma White are also illusions. Her large and lively painterly images in Kaleidorama are, in actual fact, a photographic series of polymer clay ‘paintings’. Following a period of research at the Matisse Derivan paint factory in Western Sydney, White embarked on this expanded approach to painting as a way to explore tensions between the handmade and industrialization. It was the accidental splashes on the factory’s surfaces that inspired her to make painterly works with the non-paint medium. Polymer clay is mostly widely known as children’s Fimo. A material, the artist points out, that is essentially the same as acrylic paint, just with a much lower viscosity. By handmixing colours together and then processing them repeatedly through a hand-operated press, White found the material softened, blended and, seemingly, dripped like paint. Transformed through photography, White’s small-scale polymer objects are wall-mounted in Kaleidorama as much-enlarged, framed prints. In this scale and format, they evoke the thickly layered surfaces and messy aesthetics of abstract expressionist artists, such as Jackson Pollock and his energetic actions with paint. Despite appearances, however, the process at play behind White’s work is far from Pollock’s seemingly spontaneous flinging of paint. Repetitive and laborious, her approach might be closer to the controlled mechanisms of Minimalism, which historically reacted against such subjective expressionism. Nevertheless, there is a spontaneity and fluidity inherent in White’s material, as signalled in the series’ title, Option Paralysis (2015). Her photographs freeze a single instance of the unpredictable ways the colours interact, and the chance compositions that occur, before they merge into mud. Exploring how the ‘high art’ languages of painting can mesh with the ‘low art’ materials of craft marks an aesthetic return for White and an exciting expansion. In contrast to an earlier series that imitated Italian painter Morandi’s subdued still lives, these new works not only test the material’s capacity for free-form and colourful abstraction, but further tease out the relationship between photography and the plasticity of truth. This most clearly reveals itself on a lightbox in Kaleidorama. On it, White presents a box of beautiful photographic slides of her polymer-paintings, and next to it, a proof sheet. Donning gloves and magnifying loupe, visitors are invited to pick and choose slides to view. Rather than revealing the artist’s photographic process, however, on this light box what becomes transparent is that the entire scenario is a fiction. The slides, their plastic box and the proof sheet are all unique art objects, handmade in polymer.

While White moulds and manipulates the slippery line between material and image, Danica Chappell uses tintypes, one the oldest forms of photography, to test the entanglement of process and light sensitive materials. To create Traversing Edges and Corners (2014-2015), the series in Kaleidorama, Chappell undertook a process she describes as blending photography “with a desire to paint and construct forms”, by layering scrap papers and odd materials directly onto the metallic ‘wet plate’. Feeling her way around the pitch-black darkroom to blindly create her abstract geometric compositions is an activity she calls “darkroom haptic”: a form of photography that, in the first instance, preferences touch over vision. Chappell’s works, therefore, don’t just record the shapes and lines of found detritus, but also her unseen performance, which remains only in shadows, textures and traces. There is a similarity here to the way Varga’s autobiography accumulates on the surface of negative film. Chappell likens her time in the darkroom to “crawling inside the camera”, suggesting that her physical presence is as instrumental in the process as any photographic tools and materials. Inherently unique, Chappell’s tintypes are neither object nor image, sharing qualities with both. A distinct characteristic of tintypes, for instance, is their mirrored finished. This effect makes them impossible to reproduce in printed or digital media but imbues them, when experienced in person, with a captivating, time-based presence. They appear to shift and alter as you move around them.

Significantly, within the show Chappell’s works evoke the mirrored surface found within the kaleidoscope. This scientific tool, invented for experimenting with light, used mirrors to produce perfectly symmetrical patterns—an apparent order—from the coloured pieces of paper tumbling around inside. Chappell, however, inverts the kaleidoscopic scenario. The patterns that emerge and dissipate within her tintypes are irregular and lopsided: a mix of arranged straight lines, blind luck and the quirky effects of chemical photographic processing. The tintype’s reflective qualities are put to work to challenge, rather than aid, our ability to comprehend colour. Likewise, Kaleidorama is a lab for messy aesthetics and conceptual overlays: a space for the inquisitive imagination and mischievous testing of the tried and true. ‘Tumbling’ together in the gallery, these colourful practices mirror each other; unexpected visual patterns emerge and lines of enquiry geometrically intersect the space. Like a cross between the immersive C19th painted dioramas and the all-encompassing entertainment of US bowloramas, in this spectacle, shared motifs explore the science of optics and make-your-own illusions, historical ‘high art’ and pop-corn-worthy pop culture. With their recourse to captivating colour, however, the artists do much more than create crowd-pleasing displays. From Chappell’s photographic performances, to Mackenzie’s in situ set-ups and Gomariz’s creative cursor, they each imaginatively play with, as White puts it, the point where “process (or ‘making’) interacts with representation.” With the weighty history of scientific experimentation—including the humble kaleidoscope—you wouldn’t think there could be further territory to explore, anything more we can experience. But, by taking a contemporary look at the processes and possibilities in creating colour, these artists aesthetically prove otherwise.



Macintosh Lab, 2009 to present

Open closed.txt Default, 2012 screen video capure 01:36 minute loop £2750

Twist Choreography, 2012 screen video capure 03:41 minute loop £2750

Opening Folders, 2015 screen video capure 02:20 minute loop £2750

Nyan Folders, 2015 screen video capure £3700

Opening text full screen, 2012 screen video capure £1850

Alternated Gradients, 2002 screen video capure 03:41 minute loop £4650 *Audio by Dylan Frazer

Deep Gradients screen video capure £2750

Kim Asendorf and Emilio Gomariz Maadonna.com Not for sale


Untitled, 2015 site specific installation PVC tube and Chroma Key blue paint *works available on a commission basis


Black Line Formation live feed video installation $6600


Exit type C hand print 123.5 x 98.5cm edition of 5 + 2AP $2200 unframed

White Light, White Paint video, 02:22 minute loop edition of 10 + 1AP $550

Black square arrangements video, 03:38 minute loop edition of 10 + 1AP $550

Accumulate, 2015

Edge type C hand print 123.5 x 98.5cm edition of 5 + 2AP $2200 unframed

Prices include GST and are subject to change

Enter type C hand print 123.5 x 98.5cm edition of 5 + 2AP $2200 unframed


Orange #8 unique tintype 31 x 33cm $950

Traversing Edges and Corners, 2014/2015

Orange #9 unique tintype 31 x 33cm $950

Orange #7 unique tintype 31 x 33cm $950

Orange #10 unique tintype 31 x 33cm $950

Blue #4 unique tintype 32 x 26.5cm $950

Blue #5 unique tintype 32 x 26.5cm $950

Blue #3 unique tintype 32 x 26.5cm $950

Blue #1 unique tintype 32 x 26.5cm $950

Blue #2 unique tintype 32 x 26.5cm $950

Yellow #5 unique tintype 32 x 26.5cm $950

Yellow #3 unique tintype 32 x 26.5cm $950

Yellow #4 unique tintype 32 x 26.5cm $950

Yellow #2 unique tintype 32 x 26.5cm $950

Yellow #1 unique tintype 32 x 26.5cm $950

Red #2 unique tintype 28 x 38cm $950


Option Paralysis, 2015

Untitled #3 pigment print, 90 x 70cm edition of 5 + 1AP $1870 unframed

Untitled #1 pigment print, 95 x 70cm edition of 5 + 1AP $1870 unframed

Untitled #2 pigment print, 70 x 70cm edition of 5 + 1AP $1760 unframed Prices include GST and are subject to change

Installation Photography: Silversalt Photography; Brownyn Rennex

36 Gosbell Street Paddington NSW 2021 Australia Tel 61 2 9331 7775, Web www.stillsgallery.com.au

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