Melbourne Fashion Festival Cultural Program 2016

Dawn Chorus, Melbourne Fashion Festival Cultural Program 2016

0 Comments 22 March 2016


Dawn Chorus

Karen Woodbury Gallery

Review by Jessica Gregory

If you visit the Karen Woodbury gallery during VAMFF, I can guarantee that your opinion of stationery will change forever. Pencils are objects we buy to draw or take notes. Pencils are simple, uninteresting and practical, right? Lionel Bawden thinks otherwise and in his current exhibition titled Dawn Chorus, proves that we are all completely missing the point (pun intended).

Lionel Bawden is a multi-disciplinary artist, born and currently working in Australia. He is best known for his sculptural masterpieces that are made almost entirely from the hexagonal, Staedtler pencils we all know so well. Throughout his creative career, Bawden has expressed ideas associated with the construction of identity through themes of flux and transformation, as well as exploring the earth’s landscape as symbolic of the physical body and its complexities.

Walking into the exhibition space, a single white-walled room, Bawden’s three-dimensional forms can be seen floating amongst the flat canvas of white. A total of ten sculptures are displayed, ranging in size from the smallest piece titled And the World Opens Up to the expansive, three-piece sculpture Like a Glacier Moving Through You which is dedicated an entire wall. It is as these sculptures are closely examined that the hundreds of pencils making up each amorphous form are first noticed. In order to truly appreciate the magnificence of what Bawden has achieved, the viewer must observe the sculptures from both close up and further away, each view providing a different but equally impressive perspective. Bawden has morphed what was once so rigidly linear and practical into something incomprehensibly fluid and rhythmic. It is as though Bawden has captured shape, contours and movement in one singular, dynamic moment. It is a spectacular experience that cannot be grasped through a phone or computer screen.

The earthy tones of the sculptures reflect the exhibition’s key themes. Dawn Chorus creates a dialogue that tells of movement, territory and space. The medium of the Staedtler pencil is used to reinforce the many possibilities of the earth’s natural landscape, the forms whispering to the viewer of journeys through canyons, lakes and mountainous terrains. It is Bawden’s ability to tell these stories through his understanding of the beauty of form that makes this exhibition one not to miss.

Dawn Chorus is for everyone to enjoy and can be viewed in under half an hour, located right in the CBD. Be sharp (once again intended), do yourself a favour, and head to the Karen Woodbury Gallery to experience the genius that is Lionel Bawden.

Dawn Chorus runs until 9 April 2016 at the Karen Woodbury Gallery. More details here.

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