HOME@735 GALLERY 13.03.14
By Bridie Connell
When I was an art student in the early 2000s there was a healthy rivalry between the major inner Sydney art schools. . In summary, it was said that the National Art School (NAS) taught you how to make art, Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) taught you to experiment with art and the College of Fine Arts (CoFA) taught you how to think about art.
Ten years since graduating from CoFA, I’m happy to laugh off the old clichés and admit I’m out of the loop with student life but as I wandered into the latest exhibition at Home@375 Gallery, featuring the work of three recent NAS graduates, one SCA graduate and one established practitioner/post-grad student, I couldn’t help but wonder if the concept of ‘school styles’ still existed.
Drawn from photographs and memories the simplified yet emotive landscapes of Jemma Burke are at once colourfully varied yet united by their prominent horizon lines. I remain curious about her painting technique, described only as process ‘of erasure’ using oils on board, with the surface of each work seemingly built up then stripped back to a whisper thin layer – evocative of the way we in which we construct and retain memories themselves.
The rich and earthy tones of Burke’s paintings are complimented by the neighbouring sculptures of Siena White. Essentially formal investigations of [organic, geometric and architectural] shapes and colour, her low relief compositions and small freestanding works are beautifully constructed from found wood and steel and presented in such an intimate hallway space that you can actually smell the wood and delight in the numerous textural variations.
With equally refined studio skills as her alumni Georgina Bonner’s ceramic vessels are playfully named after various species of mushrooms. Hand formed into various organic shapes and matt glazed in heightened shades of violet, blue and green with [airbrushed?] neon highlights they animate the gallery’s backlit vintage sideboard like a psychedelic cabinet of curiosities.
Downstairs in the sitting room space a loop of three video works by SCA graduate Michael Filocamo play on a flat screen TV. Interested in deconstructing traditional concepts of ‘gender’ his works are richly produced, combining noir styling with subtle eroticism and lush symbolism. Interestingly enough, the most arresting work, Ecdysis, is also the simplest production – a torso shot of a naked male slowly ‘moulting’ by removing the packaging tape ‘shell’ cinching his waist like a corset.
On the above walls are Singing With Sines I & II, by established sound artist Gail Priest. Forming part of an ongoing investigation into the interplay of raw and pure sounds through the digital manipulation of sine tones and vocals, each work features a sound component complimented by a meticulously hand stencilled waveform of the composition, so you can follow with your eyes as your ears take in the humming sound-scapes…
Wandering away with Priest’s ‘hums’ resonating in my ears the question of ‘school styles’ seemed irrelevant. I’m far more interested in asking this diverse selection of artists, “what comes next?”
Sound artist Gail Priest