Melbourne Fringe 2012

The Contemporary Sculptors Association

0 Comments 08 October 2012

Doll heads suspended in gelatine, computer interface graphics emerging in a black lit room, enormous cardboard structures adorned by plastic toys and the delicate imprint of flora in glass – these four extremely diverse exhibitions are currently on show at the Yarra Sculpture Gallery.

Leonie Ryan’s Disturbed Habitats is a series of drawings and sculptures which look at the suspension and release of childhood memories. Somewhat creepy objects emerge out of semi-opaque yellow gelatin. In this new context the objects take on new meanings; we understand them not as just objects of nostalgia, but also as objects of morbidity, materiality and connection.

The idea is engaging, however, it’s possible that the use of objects such as this can operate on a fairly surface or shallow level. This certainly isn’t the first time I’ve seen the use objects such as dolls heads and toys to represent childhood in an attempt to subvert our understanding. This connection is obvious and unfortunately the show didn’t delve much deeper than simplistic parallels and transformations.

In Kate Geck’s Soft Tomb #1, fluorescent yellow and pink cardboard glasses are provided to the audience to wear. Donning the glasses, you find yourself suddenly immersed in a kaleidoscopic view of the gallery. Strange yet oddly familiar imagery and sculptural installation takes over the dark space which is lit by a black light and the light from a flickering projection. The show takes digital iconography of the recent past and re-contexualises it to expand upon its nostalgic and time-anchored properties. The show uses irony and humour in an idiosyncratic way to delve into the new aesthetics of digital interfaces in order to present them in a bright and bizarre way.

The remnants of 24hr Sculpture People dominate the large main space of the gallery. Over the period of 24 hours participants were invited to construct and engage with the process of sculpture-making within the space. What is left is what you see now, a crazy mixture of found objects assembled to create a sense of chaos and the absurd. Having not been at the marathon sculpture event, what I saw was the residue of a performance, the object component of an ephemeral event. There wasn’t all that much to be made of the chaos in this room other than the understanding that I had probably missed the most important part. An incongruous clash of founding objects combined to create no more than the sum of its parts. However, event-based and ephemeral on-site collaboration is an engaging idea and I’m annoyed I wasn’t there to witness at least some of this marathon event.

Found corrugated iron and the details of Australian flora acted as the departure point for collaborative duo Kerry Strauss and Liz Walker in their show Fusion. A mixture of glass, iron and a play of light combines to create works not unlike the practice of Rosalie Gasgcoine. The works were a beautiful play on the use of a complex material, and underpinned the nature of the very mediums used. The pieces are simple gestures which were perhaps overshadowed by the chaos of the room next door, but were interesting and contemplative in their own way.

Yarra Sculpture Gallery is afforded a large multi-dimensional space to show diverse works. Unfortunately there were aspects of these shows that really didn’t expand upon their own conceptual framework to reach the desired potentiality, and so fell flat.

These new works by four artists will be shown at the Yarra Sculpture Gallery until 13 October. Entry is free.


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