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time, materials and entrapment

Earlier this year I was doing some research on bio-feedback art and came across ‘Eudaimonia’ by Lisa Park, a phenomenal work that translates thoughts into visualisations (click here to visit Park’s website). The black pools of rippling water got me thinking about how humans (mostly unconsciously) translate subjective thoughts into materials to create objective, shared experience. I also started thinking about the role of sculpture within this process and am planning to make a new body of work that interrogates the sociocultural position of sculptural practice to either re-enforce or dismiss subjectivity or objectivity.

The practice of Sekine Nobuo (関根伸夫) came to mind as one that provides a schema for how artists can use sculptural and spatial practice to critique human perspectives and senses of nature. By drawing attention to the surface of natural and industrial materials, Sekine presents us with an interrogation of how we perceive 'solid’ objects and the way we form associations and use personal references to shape our understanding of what is around us. Beyond a critique of sensory experience, Sekine’s practice as well as other members of Mono-ha, are also interesting in their political perspectives of overturning the dominance of art-as-commodity. Mono-ha provides a framework for exploring how one can, through sculptural practice, provide a counterbalance to tricky modern relationship between materials, existing, influence and owning.

Sekine Nobuo, Phase of Nothingness–Black No.1, 1977.  Click here  to visit image source.

Sekine Nobuo, Phase of Nothingness–Black No.1, 1977. Click here to visit image source.

APPROACHING THE POST-NATURAL: PART 2

Ren Gregorčič, One another other (installation detail), 2019.

Ren Gregorčič, One another other (installation detail), 2019.

One another other, my sculptural installation in ‘nature, post-nature’ of composed of a series of 5 solid concrete sculptures each with gold detailing. The gold is highly reflective and so it picks up ambient light, casting warm yellow onto the harsh stone surface. It’s a mesmerising quality that reflects my research into the role of intimacy within the context of the Anthropocene.

As Timothy Morton discusses in ‘Dark Ecology’, climate change is linked to our physical and mental distance from geological and ecological systems that are not. Closeness to physical aspects of nature (i.e. rocks, plants, animals) that are not changed or augmented for the purposes of human use (forests, wild animals, natural fields, cave systems etc.) generates a feeling of place and interconnectedness that promotes awareness and empathy. Distance on the other hand folds nature into simplified versions of complex systems consistent with human logic.

Most people’s relationships to nature, I would argue, sit somewhere between these polar opposites; nobody is ever full removed from human-limited nature. However, our access to these places is becoming increasingly limited and so, in our changed world, there is a need for us to establish empathy with the white plaster walls, grey concrete and cold steel materials that now dominate.

I’ve found that soft light and rippled reflections have an interesting ability to create intrigue that seems to establish this closeness of mind and so I’ve incorporated it into One another other. I’m very excited to continue to test the effects of soft light and rippled reflections in upcoming works.

If you’re in Melbourne, make sure to check to see One another other in ‘nature, post-nature’, my collaborative exhibition with Jessye Wdowin-McGregor, at Rubicon Ari (309 Queensberry St, Melbourne) from 21 March to 5 April.

ambient structures

Helen Pashgian, Untitled, 1968-1969, cast polyester resin.

Helen Pashgian, Untitled, 1968-1969, cast polyester resin.

Helen Pashgian’s dreamy, highly-polished spherical sculptural works exemplify the exactitude and complexity of form common amongst Light and Space artists. Objects of complete fantasy, Pashgian’s sculptures use the qualities of light to obscure and mask the object’s material boundaries in order to reveal murky and internal structures that appear as physical manifestations of ambient and sometimes broken light.

I’ve incorporated many of Pashgian’s principles of ambient light into a work that I’m currently producing for an exhibition presented in collaboration with artist and researcher Jessye Wdowin-McGregor at Rubicon Ari in Melbourne next month (March 2019) titled ‘nature', post-nature’. ‘nature, post nature’ explores the idea of the post -natural landscape, in which plants, animals and natural phenomena reclaim a position within environments where ecological systems have been disrupted by human activity. These can be mundane spaces: in between factories at the edges of cities, under freeways and bordering railways unlikely urban landscapes in which the natural world persists against the odds.

Yet to be titled, the aim of my sculptural installation is to use structure to create devices for observing the post-natural and create situations in which one can experience the post-natural as a phenomenon that contain beauty and softness. The post-natural is not inherently evil or sinister as it is often characterised.

slicing a thunderstorm in the neo-avant-garde

Teresa Kazimiera Murak’s original use of everyday materials and unique mixture of nature and culture is the inspiration for a body of work I’m currently on. Beginning in the 1970s, Murak’s oeuvre consists of performances and interventions that embraces inevitability (i.e. the continual movement of plants in time towards a state of decay; the limits of repeated movements; the eventual end to the predictable movement of celestial bodies) within the boundaries of human understanding.

Murak’s work is a philosophy of interactions; how ‘natural’ elements interact, transition and unite within a comic system. Each expression is a reminder of the potential of individuals and groups to either be a part of the natural order or resist against it as well as the consequences of that choice.

Teresa Murak, Slicing a Thunderstorm, 1985/2016, photo: Maciej Musiał, via http://culture.pl/en/artist/teresa-murak

Teresa Murak, Slicing a Thunderstorm, 1985/2016, photo: Maciej Musiał, via http://culture.pl/en/artist/teresa-murak