Many thanks to David Greenhalgh for his excellent review of our May exhibition. The review has been published in Hester Magazine.
Let’s talk about sex. In fact, while we’re at it, let’s talk about symbols, mediation and the information age. Sounds titillating, doesn’t it?
Home@735 present to you 4 artists, Lauren Bonner, Lisa McCleary, Alexandra Mowat and Hidemi Tokutake, all of whom are navigating the chasm that separates thoughts, feeling and actions. Karl Popper’s ‘3 worlds’ informs the following thoughts on the following artists. All of who are at a remove.
Let’s talk about symbols: The human animal is arguably the only animal to possess an open flexible system of symbolic communication. This fact is transformative to our species. In fact, we’re partaking in it now – The symbols dancing before your eyes are processed into intelligible ideas. A symbol is a mark, a character or even simply a thing that then represents something.
Let’s take Tokutake’s elegant ceramic work. Whilst the functionality is apparent in a lot of these works it is the symbolic aspects that garner our attention. The pooled glaze and gumnuts give a context and a ceremonial elegance to the work.
• Art is inextricably bound to the symbol, even when the artist attempts to defy this notion, the audience wills the symbolism into being.
o Art is always a document filtered through human subjectivity.
*Art is always going to be once removed from reality.
<A REMOVE AND A HALF>
But we must also consider the idea that symbols may not be open and universal but instead bound to subjectivity and not socialised.
Enter the fetish:
A fetish can really be towards anything: a fetish is the attribution of sexual arousal or a feeling of power towards an object or a non-genital part of the body. In this the thing acts as a symbol does, becoming laden with meaning.
Alexandra Mowat’s photography examines the fetish and extends into the world of bondage and play. Whilst these brooding, tense and poetic images can be taken as literal representations of sexual acts, it is the symbolism of
• the voided face and
o the smothered mouth that speaks most:
♣ obscuring the face is a powerful act
Lisa McCleary has entered the deep symbolic realm. Her disjointed, mysterious and finely rendered paintings address the information age’s Reality Of Choice: a mediated reality where text and image are the people. Further to this she has decided to communicate this through paint. While the artist has resisted digitising her practice, her practice communicates a digital symbology:
• Disjointed imagery; voyeuristic intentions; the pastel hues of tumblr.
o The effect is that the traditional 2:3 aspect of canvases seems to have been displaced with
♣ the new aspect of our times, the 1:1 of an Instagram picture
Laid out on a table is a pristine white book. Gloves for handling this give the impression of a place that must be approached with sensitivity. This work, 100, documents the online correspondence between the artist Lauren Bonner and one hundred online avatars. The decontextualised, faceless conversations between these strangers oscillates between sexual advances and inane chatter. What we take from the work is the tension that ripples through the conversations. Some take the distance between the participants as invitation to engage in explicit dialogue, but none-the-less the overall picture is one of boredom with the earthbound context of each person she comes across. The mediation affords a distance from consequence. Nearby is projected Blue (Sha-la-la-la), a work that pristinely illustrates the idea of the online mediated existence. It plays like a mood-book:
• Imagery includes water; parachuting; holiday-makers
o The shots are closely cropped and without grounding
♣ A consequence free environment, removed from the sharp-edge of reality.
The distance we feel: The distance afforded by the abstraction of thought and the intervention of symbols; signification and the mediums that we communicate through is perhaps the separation that we feel from the natural order. If art is to speak to the human condition, art must speak to the act of communication.