2 – 26 March
ACT artist Elizabeth Kelly is our Artist in Residence – she says it’s time for artists to rethink how we conduct ourselves in a truly revolutionary manner – to stand against the habits of plastic waste, fossil fuel dependence and pollution.
Revolution also refers to a circle, and in this case, a circular economy. Spinning around an axis acts as a metaphor for rethinking the framework of a changing world. Kelly exhibits with local artists working with found and upcycled materials, asking “what can we do to minimise the environmental impact of the artwork we make or consume?”
Artists: Elizabeth Kelly with Fiona Gavino, Nien Schwarz, Mark Parfitt, Dawn Gamblen, Phil Gamblen, Kathy Allam, Theo Koning, Ric Spencer, Claire Bailey, jewellers Sarah Elson and Louise Gore Langton, with Bruce Slatter, Leonie Mansbridge, Sharyn Egan, Nalda Searles with Pantjiti Mary Mclean and Dinni Smith and special guest, Bondi gleaner Rox De Luca. Curator: Thelma John
Read a review in SeeSaw magazine here:
link to the podcast http://www.sisters-of-perpetual-plastix.net
Elizabeth Kelly has an MA in Visual Arts (1997) from Sydney College of the Arts and was Head of Glass workshop at the Jam Factory Adelaide before setting up Studio Tangerine in Canberra – a glass design and sculpture studio. For ON revolution, she focusses entirely on sculpture using salvaged materials, such as off-cuts of brass sheeting or Corian, usually a benchtop surface.
Revolution becomes a point of departure for Liz, whose fascination with geometry and the shape of growth systems in the natural world, binds her practice to the two current crises we face – environmental devastation and the virus pandemic.
“It is a time to stand against the habits of plastic waste, fossil fuel dependence, pollution and unaccountable market consumption hence I am making art from found objects and salvaged materials as I can’t justify not doing so.” says Elizabeth Kelly
Elizabeth Kelly shows with:
In recent developments, Gavino’s ambitious weaving practice has embraced discarded metal strapping to form sculptural objects and 2D works that combine the industrial with the domestic. Informed by her Australian, Filipino, and Maori heritage, Gavino has worked extensively across cultures. With basketry as the foundation to her practice she expands the boundaries of what the techniques and materials can physically do and say and continues to be inventive with both organic and found materials.
Schwarz reworks her sample bags made from obsolete Australian survey maps salvaged from the National Map Library in Canberra. They are rearranged in totemic spiral forms to further contemplate land use practices and associated problems. Her life-long passion for geography and the environment combines with her installation art in a lament to widespread destruction of natural habitats to fuel a misguided world economy.
Parfitt’s site-specific and participatory work extends sculpture to a performative act. As a Lecturer in Art, Parfitt sets his students an exercise in sustainability – creating a sculpture from chairs scavenged from roadside throw-outs. Here he tests his aesthetic and construction skills by undertaking his own challenge and extending the life of the unwanted chair.
A fascination with machinery and analogue technologies are behind much of Gamblen’s artwork.
Long known for his kinetic works, he has been salvaging and reinventing materials in new configurations for many years.
Gamblen has been experimenting over her career with placement and repetition of utilitarian “found” objects to create forms such as her quilt of single-use medical scissors, sourced from Fremantle Hospital. Her reconfiguring of everyday items has been a dominant theme in her work.
During years of turning plastic water bottles into sublime floating artworks, Allam ventured into ceramics and moulding found textiles such as lace into fragile works laden with meaning.
Everyday found objects find harmony in Koning’s re-contextualisations. Objects found, scavenged, and collected are reordered and assembled in a challenge to “subvert, convert, and reinvent the identity and language of the found material or object”.
His love of the found object extends to elegant constructions fashioned from discarded material. In this work a dialogue is created between shape and colour that is almost a language of its own. Koning’s practice is based in sustainability and the few materials he purchases are generally second hand.
Spencer has recently had the chance to spend time in his backyard studio, where he has been drawing gumnuts and making paper from them. Gumnuts are constantly landing on his roof, punctuating the hours and he has been working with this organic, readily available material as the inspiration for his drawings and the main ingredient for his hand-made paper. His current work shows a focus on appropriate technology, and treading lightly.
Elson combines an interest in traditional metalsmithing and experimental techniques transforming metal fillings or jewellers’ scraps (recycled precious metals) into evocative botanical forms. Reflecting on the longevity and contested sovereignty of the land on which the ancient Balga tree thrives, she has collected parts from destroyed Balga plants, damaged due to incompetent clearing of “Crown” land for road building. Balga resin and natural Balga fronds have been used to mend a damaged work that is made from recycled silver.
Louise Gore Langton
Gore Langton discovered jewellery making when she enrolled in an evening class in 2004. It was a perfect fit and ended up with her graduating with an Advanced Diploma in 2006. She’s been an avid collector of things natural and manmade and loves utilising materials in her art practice that would be otherwise bound for the tip.
Mansbridge’s work is born from her experience as Māori, living a life of being colonised through assimilation. She engages with postcolonial dialogues around wider social political concerns. He Cloak series using found textiles, references her great, great grandfather and functions as both an artwork and a social document.
Nyoongar artist Egan recreated the toys she made as a child at New Norcia Mission to comfort herself and other youngsters forcefully separated from their families, as they cried themselves to sleep in the dormitory. She used found materials including sardine cans, found fabric remnants and gravel to create these simple treasures. The scrounged materials reflect exactly what the child could get hold of at the time and speak of a tradition of making-do and never letting anything go to waste.
Nalda Searles with Pantjiti Mary Mclean and Dinni Smith
Created in 1996 the books displayed are part of a larger series of around 150 modified Readers Digest Condensed books. Nalda’s choice of materials has always been organic – clay, seeds, leaves and grass as well as found books and garments. She is an artist whose practice is essentially sustainable. The series was created in collaboration with Wongi fellow artist to share Mclean’s Ngaanyatjarra language. Searles is a living icon of Western Australian art. Her practice draws from the unique landscape of the West of Australia to express the contradictions of post-colonial identity and the complexities of her relationship with the land and its inhabitants, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous
Slatter’s sculpture practice has explored the replica, the souvenir, the model and the toy, creating new context and meaning for objects removed from their usual roles all the while embracing the discarded. Sharing a familiar experience or a common moment with a viewer is most important in the work. Whether that experience be frustration, loneliness or a shared joke, they are moments that remind us of life and living. Nostalgia and the nature of childhood is often juxtaposed with control or fetish in Slatter’s scenarios.
Bailey dismantles and reconnects objects in imaginative ways – a seemingly random process to achieve a built form. But every arrangement harks back to her preoccupation with time, evolution and music.
Rox De Luca, special guest, Bondi gleaner
De Luca shows garlands formed from plastics foraged from her daily trips along the seashore at Bondi and Rose Bay. They are cleaned and fabricated into sculptures and body art. Using found, single-use recyclable materials, the works explore colour, texture, materials and the joy of construction whilst reflecting upon the serious global issue of plastic waste