Many thanks to arts writer Emma-Kate Wilson for her excellent review of our current exhibition.
08.05.19 at [email protected] Gallery review – written by Emma-Kate Wilson
‘08.05.19’ is an exhibition that explores form through texture, colour and shape. A seemingly simple task, to measure up the weighs of each element, yet the contrasting curation creates lines to depart from. The eye is caught at all angles. Opposing themes of traditional ideologies within femininity and masculinity are balanced through soft colours, smooth textures, and rough, hard edges; that at times, break from the mediated canvas or ceramic object.
Matt Butterworth’s ceramics are the perfect starting point for the conflicting materiality of form. Each sculpture defies classification. At [email protected] Gallery, Butterworth’s vessels are lined up on a shelf at the top of the stairs; they are denied a name, all simply titled Untitled #1, 2, 3, and so on, until 11.
However, each object has its own personality within a handheld-sized piece of ceramic. Completely useless as a vessel, as they are broken, with cracks exposing the pressure points of each sculpture. They then seem to grow abnormal flowerings from their smooth curves. They are glazed in a rainbow effect of soft muted colours. Or, gold, like a glistering object from Roman times.
Matt Butterworth’s ceramic pieces are paired with Louise Gresswell paintings; these too defy their medium, and the paint has sculptural qualities that veer out of the canvas. Unframed, the artworks are poised on the walls like hanging objects, rather than traditional 2D representation. Gresswell says these works, titled, Fractured (blue & black) or Untitled (red velvet), (both 2018), are about the action of the painting and embracing imperfection.
This embodiment of performance as painting is mirrored in the works of Kyle Murrell, whose paintings reflect the act of making, tracing the lines in a drawing action. Murrell exposes the repetitious activity, saying, “once I break the canvas, I know I am done.” Simply framed in light wood, the paintings return to an unconsciousness, and are heavily textured. Mediated by the natural frame, they are conflicts to notions of nature and drawing, expanding on human ideas through interruption.
Josie Cavallaro’s series Grazing on Graves (2018/19) continues the musings on form with nature, through conceptual disruptions. Her sculptures are composed of ceramic flowers, in pinks, yellows, and whites, resting on raw concrete hunks. The works are inspired by a friend’s visit to her mother’s grave at a cemetery in a regional town, where she was advised not to place fresh flowers on the grave as kangaroos eat them. Grazing on Graves becomes a consideration on grief and social ritual — reflecting onto the metaphors within the beauty of flowers, and practicality of concrete.
Chris Capper’s still life painting, Roses (1987) is hung above Cavallaro’s sculptures, depicting pink and white roses in a white vase. Roses marries well with the sculptures and resist the themes in the rest of the upstairs level. Through its stillness of form, the painting exposes the delicate nature of human expression.
Downstairs in the gallery, Capper’s other still life paintings transcend classification with geometric lines that divide the canvas into blocks of grey or burgundy. Capper combines the methodology of still life paintings with formalist abstraction to create representations of memory rather than reality.
Tilly Kubany-Deane’s ceramic sculptures are also downstairs with Lisa Patroni’s monochrome paintings. Gold Loops (2018) is an example of Kunbany-Deane’s rejection of form. She creates departures from the vessel, standing at 53cm tall, with loops pushing out the clay form, providing alternative ideas to containment. Lisa Patroni’s paintings reverse this ideology in pure, white-washed oil of linen. Where other works in the exhibition are made of complexing narratives of form and shape; Patroni’s artworks offers space to meditate on the show.
‘08.05.19’ is a resistance to all measures of art, and the extension into the contemporary art scene. The works are small and inviting but densely layered to create a narrative that extends throughout every artwork. Memory and reality are placed within a juxtaposition that mirrors the history of aesthetic abstraction, the functionality of design, and the trace of personal artistic expression – at Home.