Home@735 group exhibition 11 February to 8 March 2015
Home@735 presents “11.02.15” a group show of recent Sydney art school graduates whose works fall into two camps of appropriation and intuition. Carefully crafted visual statements mark the work of Stephanie Pragastis, Freya Ludowici and Kate Duncan. Though it is likely they have also taken a studied approach to practice the end result is different for Samuel Massey and Elizabeth Poole with compositions that are impulsive and visceral.
Pragastis lines a ledge in with blanched white ceramic casts of amusing and familiar mass produced objects such as a Vegemite jar lid, egg cup and bottle cork. The installation recalled Fehily Contemporary’s ‘The Last Suppermarket’ by Ken and Julia Yonetani whereby objects were cast as solids in salt that took aim at environmental issues and consumption. Pragastis is concerned with the fetishisation of objects, something she problematises through creating new objects. The installation pieces are set alongside photographs that deepen her consideration of everyday objects as mediums to impress memory upon. It is an imagined nostalgia as the surreal images place her banal objects out of context. If history is told by the victors then this narrative of people’s connection to objects is told by the converted. Her sentimentality has been reframed as a critique, but might be more affective as a meditation.
Sharing a space with Pragastis are Poole’s misshapen clay that express fecundity. Referencing orifices and the body the glossy but pitted surfaces of her vessels and orbs offer a tepid sexuality. Poole’s choice to link humanity and organic cave-like and sheltering shapes may relate to the fact that we inhabit a physical body but maintain complex inner worlds. The dirt, green pea and flesh tones and material choice of ceramic (an organic medium of changing state) point to the idea that a piece, or a person, is formed by nature and nurture.
Looking out rather than inward Ludowici’s images of interiors were hung on a wall facing the liminal space of a landing between three sets of stairs. This underscored the motivation of the work to exist in the shadows of perception. Her work “Surface” explores the notion that a “camera transforms the banal to construct both a visual connection and separation to the real”.
Similarly, Samuel Massey believes that “painting is about counterpoint”, where differences are in a happy orbit of one another. As such he is inspired not only the sitter but also their immaterial surrounds, such as light and shade and the history of mark making. Gestural drawings belie his self-reflexive approach.
Like Massey Duncan gains new ground by rethinking classicism. In “Marble Fracture” Duncan films the fall and shatter of different types of the stone as they are dropped from various heights as an interruption to the natural state of matter. Her guiding precepts were entropy and accelerationism – a dialectic introduced at the beginning of this overview of the works on show.
Altogether the group reflects push and pull between what is referential and innovative. Using the idiom of art history they attempt to cast a new form of practice. Swinging off from the branches of education they have found themselves in a space that they must now captain alone balancing art-knowledge and creative abandon.
words by Chloe Mandryk