Thursday, 15 May 2014

'Fair Isle' now closed

The final movement/ installment of 'Fair Isle' at APS closed last Sunday. The many benefits of this exhibition was that it enabled both emerging and mid career artists to make connections with artists and viewers outside of their usual art friendship groups. Special highlights of this exhibition include Bettina Bruder's rubber band tango with Sach Catt's tension piece, Linden Braye's roller-pallet and white noise sound piece; and Rose Ann McGreevy's soulful, 'Interrupting the spatial plane' (2014).

Better than television: Weekly viewings each Sunday morning (in addition to being able to attend a few of the openings) enabled me to watch the exhibition expand and contract as if it were a set of lungs. With some conversations louder than others, and other works more conceptually orientated than others, the overall effect of this jazz-like exercise was that artists from each segment of the exhibition were able to play and to test their works within the experimental framework of a larger free floating conversation. 

A thoughtful comment made by Andrew Simmons at the artist forum on Sunday questioned the success of the exhibition and queried the level of participation by artists in the overall premise of the exhibition.  Subsequently, this comment made me reflect and think upon my own work and how it sat within the open ended curatorial premise for this exhibition.

India Zegan| Raft #4 (2014)| Archival coloured pencils on archival Fabriano paper (200gsm)| Dimensions 150cmx 150cm| Photograph: Felicity Jenkins

The work that I submitted for this exhibition, 'Raft drawing #4' (2014) belongs to a larger suite of drawings and floor based sculptures that I am currently working on- in addition to other concurrent studio projects that I am currently developing. As a mediation on Gericault's painting, 'Raft of the Medusa' (1818-9), this suite presents a number of drawings of imaginary island refuges for survivors of the shipwreck. I am aiming to complete this body of drawings, inspired by old bromoil photographs, by October 2014. Drawing to the edge of the paper, using only white pencils, is a curious development which is strangely compelling.

I hope that 'Fair isle' enabled participating artists to think deeply and critically upon their practice, i.e how will this piece read if I insert a hole here; how does this work directly engage with the premise; what does it mean to make this object and limit the materials used to three elements (or less/ or more); what does it mean to make this piece at this point in one's practice; how actively does one engage in another artists' practices to conceive their own response in an exhibition-laboratory; how do you signal and/or reference one's engagement with another artist's work through materials used or conceptual frameworks; or what does it mean to remake significant elements of a work shown two years earlier. 
Needless to say, these types of questions are endless and ongoing if someone is thinking seriously on their practice.

Special thanks to Project Coordinators + Artist dynamos: Emma Wise, Sue Callanan and Margaret Roberts.

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