Exhibiting Artists: Leonie Barton | Louisa Chircop | Lynne Eastaway | Julia Flanagan | Jody Graham | Michelle Perrett
Exhibition dates: 5-31 March 2016
Visual artists record objects, places or people from observed vantage points all the time: drawings or paintings of still life, a landscape or portrait easily come to mind. However the term ‘Vantage Point’ has many connotations: the observed view from here or over there; or a standpoint informed by a unique experience. This exhibition considers some of the nuances of ‘vantage points’ or ways of seeing ‘things’, places, experiences and the self.
Julia Flanagan and Lynne Eastaway create work based on observation with contrasting results. Julia Flanagan’s exuberant use of colour and layered marks that dance across her canvas describe landscapes and places she has been. Working from memory and imagination these paintings express fleeting moods, feelings and memories that she describes as ‘fragments of my daily life. A place I can visit and be immersed within my imagination’1. In contrast Lynne Eastaway’s fascination with relationships between objects informs her observations. She ‘sees’ the shapes of negative spaces, the gaps between, shadows cast or reflections made. These observed shapes are isolated and unpacked into sketchbooks then moved around turned inside out, upside down and rearranged to create new relationships. Shapes and forms drift in and out of her drawings and paintings with each work feeding the next in an ongoing investigation.
Observation of a different nature are central to Jody Graham. Jody Graham is perhaps best known for her highly expressive and evocative drawings on paper. An explorer, Jody considers themes of impermanence and mortality via her most recent muses, the large abandoned buildings around the inner west. For Vantage Points, Jody presents an assembage of collected objects and detritus that represent a new type of observation. These objects used are collected from the streets or ‘borrowed’ from the abandoned buildings she has drawn. These objects are broken, decaying and would normally be considered rubbish. When they are placed on a plinth in the gallery in carefully arranged compositions we see them in a new light. We not only ponder our ‘throwaway society’ and the impermanence of ‘things’, but our curiosity about the objects is piqued. We can't help but wonder about the owner, its past and its story.
Leonie Barton is also a collector however her focus is objects found in the natural world. Leonie’s work in the Gallery represents small sample of a year long project completed during 2015. Each day for 365 days Leonie took a short walk and using only what she found created an ‘ephemeral work’. The work was documented (on Instagram) and then abandoned. Similar to Jody Graham’s assemblages, Leonie’s arrangements reveal what we could ‘see’ if we slowed down, stopped and considered our immediate environment or the wider world more carefully. In addition to documenting the ephemeral work Leonie documented a ‘wide photographic shot’ showing the work in the wider environment in which it was placed (samples of the two images side by side are displayed on the television screen in the Gallery). This documentation at once reveals more possibilities – or perhaps makes us question whether things really are as they seem after all.
Louisa Chircop and Michelle Perrett offer a perspective into ‘the self’. Michelle’s convex mirrors are bas relief ceramics fired with reflective glazes. ‘The mirror’ holds a unique place in our imagination: enabling us to ‘know thy self’. As we know mirrors/reflections reveal the truth, or do they? The convex mirror, unlike the flat mirror, distorts reflections tricking the eye. This distorted view provides an interesting vantage point considering our ‘selfie in the mirror’ obsessed contemporary culture, where selfie is carefully constructed and reviewed before the acceptable one is loaded to social media.
Louisa Chircop’s paintings and ceramics are loaded with symbolism and offer an exploration of the subconscious and as she describes ‘shadows of the self’2. From a young age Louisa used visual art as a release from tensions of growing up in a very full, migrant household3. Her highly personal works morph imagery from are variety of sources: the real, the imagined, religious symbolism, collaged contemporary media and Romanticism (Goya being a particular favourite). The result is contradictory images, Surrealist in nature and open to a variety of interpretations, depending on one’s vantage point.
Lisa Woolfe March 2016
1. Artist statement Every Now and Then www.juliaflanagan.com.au retrieved 5 March 2015
2. Stranger, Lucy 2015, Louisa Chircop, Artist Profile Issue 31 pp25
5-31 March 2016