Many thanks to arts writer Emma-Kate Wilson for her review of 22.08.18.
Review of 22.08.18 at [email protected] Gallery
By Emma-Kate Wilson
The artist’s body is covered in a t-shirt like material as she stretches herself between two rocks on Tasmania’s North-East coast, inviting play through a reduction in her senses. She cannot see, rather her moves are responding to touch. I reflected with my friend about this work at the opening. Was Emma Constantine trapped? Metamorphosing out of her cocoon? Perhaps a re-birthing in the Australian landscape for the British artist. Sleepy Bay (2018) entwines with the other artworks, bringing together the themes of site and identity.
Nuan Ho’s Trophy (2018) is hung at the end of a corridor creating the first sense of observation through distorted realism in the Redfern terrace home of Anthony Bautovich and Madeleine Preston. A set of blank, black eyes stares out at the viewer from within a dark, moody painting of a deer’s mounted head. This unconscious intuition of feeling watched radiates throughout the environment of the [email protected] gallery’s exhibition 22.08.18, a show that explores the interplay between structure and façade of architectural spaces with the emotional point of site.
The exploitation of intimacy from household objects is evident throughout half of the first floor with Nuan Ho’s sullen paintings contrasting Tiffany Ng’s kitschy everyday ceramics arranged as a vanity display. Ng has manipulated clay into luxury items, associated with an aspect of her Chinese heritage that she aims to dismantle. Chanel Rouge (2018), and Gucci Gucci (2018) – the names of the artworks giving away their ulterior motive; exploring obsession with designer objects within modern Chinese culture. The identifiable, mundane objects, are reduced to evidence of a shared identity.
As we move through the first level, away from the object-oriented works, we observe Ro Murray and Sean O’Brien’s representations of site, formed from their surroundings. O’Brien’s broad, dark strokes on the paper allow the viewer to bask in the emotional, rather than the physical site of the regional areas of NSW where the works were created. Bursts of colour and soft trembles of pastel contrast the heavy charcoal. The artworks act as a key to a memory, an observation. When compared to Murray’s work, the site is signified through flattened collage made of links and sketches, connecting the geometrical map style to the natural environment. Murray’s methodical artworks: Beside the Park (2018) and Floor Space Ratio (2018) a cross between the aesthetics of art and science, informed from the artist’s architectural background.
Downstairs in the central section of the gallery, Eliza Gosse’s work embodies the literal forms of architecture, and Mia Miladinovic continues this through the representation of the interiors through her un-homely intent. Geometrical paintings like The Grass Is Always Greener When You Water it (2018) from Gosse, mirror the modernist builds of Australia, personifying the architecture to reflect a suburbia identity. The colour is washed out, formed from black and white photographs, making up her own colour scheme of purples, greens and pinks. Gosse has reawakened the memory and engaged nostalgia for the viewers in her melancholic paintings. The obsessive copying of still life gives concepts of identity to places. For Miladinovic, her works: Scintillation (2018) and Light Transfer (2018) are edging towards the eerie feeling of a room abandoned. The ambiguity falls into soft lines; shapes blend into the background. The balance of light creates a sense of movement, by capturing luminosity. The works pull the audience into their aura and create a unique bubble of opportunity to absorb the colour and texture. Time and place are crucial to the paintings, what the sun is doing and the shadows of the structure around the piece.
22.08.18 transcends place and character and offers a view to observe each artists’ personal opinion of how personal identity informs space. What we see in the dialogue of identity and site is revealed through the informality of the space and personality in situ. These perspectives are played out through the composition and awkward intimacy in the directors’ home; amplifying dematerialisation of the object through paintings, collage, ceramics, video works and ready-mades.