Photo credit: André Piguet
Photo credit: Charlotte Cornish
Of everything that disappears there remain traces
Opening Thursday 6 April 6-8
Exhibition Friday 7 April – Saturday 29 April
‘At any rate, nothing just vanishes; of everything that disappears there remain traces.’ (1)
When looking at an ancient artefact, or relic, often one may see the material as holding traces of their human makers. The gestures held within materials contribute to a distinctive, yet intangible, eminence – something of an ‘auratic quality.’ Of everything that disappears there remain traces presents a range of artistic practices that highlight the social life of materials in relation to the human gesture.
My training in conservation practices of cultural materials has encouraged the exhibition. When determining conservation treatment methodologies, one must consider the history of values and social transactions associated with an artefact. It is often necessary to determine the ‘ideal state’ (2) in which to treat an object or material for conservation. However this ‘ideal state’ does not always imbue an object with its histories, and can rather freeze an object in time and space, when it will always be subject to change.
Focusing on the artists’ handling, methods of production, interaction with their environments, and the alchemical processes’ of transformation that a material undergoes, this exhibition presents material not as pure matter but rather as holding congealed moments in a broader social trajectory that is subject to change. In “The Social Life of Things” Arjun Appadurai reflects upon the value transactions that become imprinted into an object(s) and material(s) through the rapid circulation of contemporary life, asserting that ‘…today’s gift is tomorrow’s commodity. Yesterday’s commodity is tomorrow’s found art object. Todays art object is tomorrow’s junk. And yesterday’s junk is tomorrow’s heirloom.’ (3) Through Appadurai’s acknowledgement, and our own understanding of a material’s vulnerability and susceptibility to change, we may see how material’s become infused with a myriad of social and personal transactions.
Dan Arps’ studio based practice draws from a variety of visual languages, though most predominately sculpture and installation practices. Arps does not impose narrative onto objects, but is rather interested in the relic, ‘the thing itself.’ In Tree Study (Evil Olive), and Grid Study (Marle), the artist combines formal properties of painting and sculpture, creating three dimensional wall reliefs that seize his fingerprints and gestural mark making. The compositions and structure of the works are created over time through the artist’s actions and gestures in his studio – gradually imprinting these actions into horizontally laid malleable clay. These clay works then undergo a casting process, resulting in a polyurethane object that appears as malleable and earthy as the clay, but holds the artistic gestures in one solid form.
Samantha Barrow’s sculptural works explore settler extrapolation of resources, extinction and current efforts towards re-generation of natural resources. Specifically, the works reference the increasing extinction rate of native oysters (Agnasi), and blue mussels (Edulis Galloprovinicialis.) These creatures need a solid base on which to attach, as barren sandy environments lead them to suffocate. To sustain building activity in Melbourne lime burning became a major colonial industry on the Mornington Peninsula. In This Building is made of clay and shells, Barrow highlights the relationship between extinction levels of Agnasi and Edulis Galloprovincialis, increasing demands for lime for the creation of cement and mortar, and the history of the building. Alongside these new works are various studies in salt, and its chemical reaction with bisque fired terracotta, whereby it crystalises on the surfaces overtime. Barrow’s research and work looks to natural materials and their sensitivity as fluctuating reflections connected to broader social and environmental trajectories.
Jeremy Eaton is interested in various temporary moments that occur simultaneously, as seen Consort (awkward curtain) creating a photograms of objects onto silk. The process is not to re-create materials captured, or utilize languages of the archive and archaeology, but to respond materially to particular moments, that offer various emotional registers within the viewer. The silk work will be exposed to sunlight throughout the course of the exhibition and subsequently bear the imprint of a new environment in the gallery space. This notion of imprinting extends into Consort (bamboo) where the process of casting bamboo in bronze embeds new and old histories within the present.
Kate Hill’s practice utilises site-specific materials and processes to engage in temporal modalities of place, reflecting on both macro landscapes and systems, and the intimate space of walking. Her work is often recycled and re-presented, the reiterative and ritualistic capacity at the forefront. Hill presents a large drop sheet, which she uses to mix different compositions of clay from varying regions around Victoria, an ongoing study into the varying geographies through enviornmental interaction. Presented alongside is a collection of pottery shards found on walks along the Merri Creek. The shards are slightly polished as through the artist’s handling while walking, in a process that merges the body, the environment and the materials. Presented on a shelf in the gallery, the shards stand alone as material aggregations of various social, material and environmental exchanges.
Objects that play a supporting role, or usually exist in relation to another object of more importance, inform Georgia Kaw’s practice. Kaw often looks at boxes and packaging as objects that usually have an inside, and an outside, a display side and a non-display side. Kaw’s ‘box sculptures’ are a similar shape to the original material, however they do not have a front and back, inside or outside. In How Do I Walk With Warm Regards? the image of a found German note book cover photographed on a fake terrazzo desk, flops over the top of the box and the TV image on the box. The artist is drawn to aesthetic surfaces – as seen here with the book cover and the TV box – the final work speaking to the integrity of the surface and packaging materials as valuable objects in themselves. Instead of the box housing something from the outside, it acts as support for the print. In merging these different representations of surfaces and support objects, Kaw’s work can be seen to balance out original hierarchies of viewing.
Seala Lokollo-Evans’ ceramic sculptures embody a relationship between the artists’ body, the materials, and surrounding space. The ceramics form an artistic language, created through the use of raw natural materials and the artist’s personal emotional and physical gestures within the process of construction. The artist forms a motion between her body and the material, resulting in the otherworldly, liberated and energetic objects. In many ways, the sculptures are related to time and place, as they are created through a vigorous studio practice which is harnesses within the final object.
Kate Newby’s Who did I see? Neighbourhood people, a bank president and a couple of entrepreneurs, consists of a bronze window prop, molded from a pipe that the artist saw someone throw out of their car window in San Antonio, Texas. After hearing a large crash sound, the artist went and picked it up, seeing it as an extremely expressive object. Let me be the wind that pulls your hair consists of clusters of small ceramic sculptures, positioned on an adjacent windowsill, outside of the gallery, and also huddled on the gallery’s exterior windowsill. The ceramics were made by the artist throwing balls of clay at a might distance across her studio. In both of these works the act of throwing, the human gesture and the specific sites, are innately present in determining the sculptural form of the work. The final objects bear the traces of these fleeting actions, gestures, and moments in time, but are held in subtle stasis for the exhibition.
Charlie Sofo’s site specific Seasonal Work offers the last figs of the season, picked from neighbourhood trees around Brunswick and surrounding Northern Suburbs, to be replenished throughout the course of the exhibition. The gesture of gathering and giving is integral and embodied within this work. Sofo is interested in how these gestures initiate conversations, about histories and passions, particularly in relation to personal family histories. Sofo’s practice focuses on the gathering of seemingly non-art materials and configuring them in a way that embodies the traces of their original usage. Figs, though perishable, still have the power to contain information about social contexts, and the environment, as subject to change.
1 Baudrillard, Jean. Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared. Chicago: Seagull Books, 2009.
2 Applebaum, B. Conservation Treatment Methodology. Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, 2007.
3 Appadurai, A ‘Introduction: commodities and the politics of value’ in Appadurai, A, The Social Life of Things: Commodities in cultural perspective.
Dan Arps lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand. Dan holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The University of Canterbury, New Zealand, a Master of Fine Arts (First Class Honours) from Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland, New Zealand, and a Doctor in Fine Arts from The University of Auckland, New Zealand. Selected group and solo exhibitions include Bilder Bilder, Neon Park Brunswick, Melbourne, 2016; Necessary Distraction: A Painting Show, Auckland Art Gallery, 2015; Frieze Art Fair, Michael Lett Stand, London, 2011; The Walters Prize, Auckland Art Gallery, 2010 (winner); Toyota Corolla, Neon Parc Melbourne, 2009; and Accumulations, Ramp Gallery, Hamilton, 2006. Dan is represented by Michael Lett in New Zealand, and Neon Parc in Melbourne, and Minerva, in Sydney. The works included in the exhibition are courtesy of Neon Parc, Melbourne.
Samantha Barrow lives and works in Melbourne. Samantha completed a Bachelor in Fine Art at Monash University in 2016. Selected group and solo exhibitions include; MADA Now Graduation Show, Monash University, Caulfield, 2016; Trash Trail to Transcendence, in collaboration with Amaila Lindo, BATCH Gallery, Monash University, Caulfield, 2016; Damp Camp as a part of Damp: study of an artist at 21, MADA Faculty Gallery, Monash University, Caulfield, 2016. In 2016 Samantha received the Fine Art Technicians’ Award from Monash University.
Jeremy Eaton lives and works in Melbourne. Jeremy is currently completing his Masters in Fine Art by research at the Victorian College of the Arts. Selected group and solo exhibitions include Extended Movement, West Space, Melbourne, 2013;.What happens between the rain and the ground, Kings ARI, Melbourne, 2015; “Blue miles for the ocean, green miles through the palm trees, and yellow miles over sandy stretches”, BUS Projects, Melbourne, 2013; and Smokescreen, TCB art inc., Melbourne, 2013. Jeremy also undertook a residency at PICA in 2014, and took part in the Gertrude Contemporary and ArtAND Australia Emerging Writers Program in 2015.
Kate Hill lives and works in Melbourne. Kate completed a Bachelor of Fine Art at RMIT in 2010, and a Masters of Community Cultural Development at Victorian College of the Arts in 2014 where she was awarded the Jim Marks Postgraduate Scholarship. Selected exhibitions and projects include; Until now (400+ prints from Pepperhouse walls), Kochi AIR, Kerala, India, 2016; the scribe notes, slight (+Abbra Kotlarczyk), Bus Gallery, Melbourne, 2016;Digging, Eltham Library Community Gallery, Eltham, 2015; Mend, Mr Kitly, Melbourne, 2014; Tributary, C3 Artspace supported residency, Melbourne, 2014; and Aikawa, Kofu Art Festival, Yamanashi, Japan, 2013. In 2016, Kate participated in Time Place Space: NOMAD, an Arts House supported residency in the Wimmera Region, Victoria, and in 2017 was a delegate forWater Futures, presented by Arts House, Tipping Point Australia and Asia TOPA, Melbourne.
Georgia Kaw lives and works between Leipzig, Germany, and Perth. She graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Sydney College of the Arts in 2010. In 2011 she studied under Heimo Zobernig at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna. Selected group and solo exhibitions include; Spring Tour, Haus B, Tapetenwerk, Leipzig, (2017); I Like People That Go Home, TCB Art Inc, Melbourne (2016); IN HOUSE, Perth (2016); SPV #2, Turner Gallery, Tokyo, (2016); Silver Age, Spring 1883, Sydney (2015);Loma Show, Perth (2015); IMAGE, MIRAGE, IAMAGE, Moana Project Space, Perth (2014); Park & Ride, 55 Sydenham Rd Marrickville, Sydney (2014).
Seala Lokollo-Evans lives and works in Melbourne. Seala is currently completing her third year in a Bachelor of Fine Arts, specialising in Ceramics, at RMIT, Melbourne. Selected group and solo exhibitions include; Clay, Institute Seni Indonesia, Yogyakarta, Java, 2016; Last Tree, Institute Seni Indonesia, Yogyakarta, Java, 2016; Place to be, Brunswick Sculpture Centre, 2016; and Shining Tree, Melbourne CBD (group site specific instillation and online sculpture work), 2016. Seala received the RMIT Study Abroad Scholarship in 2016, and the McGraith Scholarship in Fine Art in 2017.
Kate Newby was born in Auckland, New Zealand, and currently works between Auckland, and Brooklyn, New York. Kate graduated with a Doctor of Fine Arts from the University of Auckland’s Elam School of Fine Arts in 2015. Selected group and solo exhibitions include; The January February March, with Jennifer Kabat at The Poor Farm, Wisconsin, USA, 2016; Two Aspirins a Vitamin C Tablet and Some Baking Soda, Laurel Doody, Los Angeles, 2015; and Always Humming, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, 2015. Kate recently undertook a 2-month residency at Artspace, San Antonio, Texas, where the works for this exhibition were made. Kate is represented by Minerva, Sydney; Michael Lett, Auckland and Laurel Gitlen, New York.
Charlie Sofo lives and works in Melbourne. Charlie completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) at the Australian National University School of Art in 2015, and a Master of Fine Arts at the Victorian College of Art in 2012. Selected group and solo exhibitions include; A gap opens up, Melbourne’s Living Museum of the West, Melbourne, 2016 (solo); Set, Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney, 2015 (solo); Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, 2013, Desire Lines, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 2012; Sudden Gestures or Noises, Artspace, Auckland, NZ, 2011; and I wander, curated by Sue Cramer, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2010 (solo). In 2016 Charlie undertook a residency at Monash University Prato, Italy.