Monthly Archives: October 2013

Museum of the Long Weekend update!

“Produced by Big hART ( http://bighart.org/public/ )  for the Centenary of Canberra SPIN program, MUSEUM OF THE LONG WEEKEND is a celebration of the national capital through the lens of recreation, holidays, relaxation and older Australians who worked hard building what we now enjoy. The Museum will be exhibited in and around vintage caravans and begins in the far flung corners of the country before travelling by road to Canberra. These convoys of caravans will be stopping along the way sharing stories, pictures and songs across the country, arriving on the shores of Canberra’s Lake Burley Griffin for the long weekend 18th-20th of October 2013.”

For this project I have teamed up with Kylie Brunner and her kids Archie and Olivia and their caravan Bubbles. Thus far the experience has been great! The Brunner family live in gorgeous Maccclesfield, on Terra Bella farm in the Adelaide Hills; a picturesque setting with rolling plains, a spectacular garden and veggie patch, pets galore, bikes, lama’s and sheep! Olivia and Archie are very fond of all the animals and relish their country life. So far I have personally met and hung out with Lola the border collie, Whip the lizard, Milo and Blondie the rabbits, Lucky the duck, Mikey and Winnie the lorikeets, and a whole lots of chooks!

Kylie purchased Bubbles only a couple of years ago. This teeny tiny adorable 60’s/70’s vintage caravan is her first but she has most definitely caught the caravan collecting bug! The journey to Canberra will be the longest yet for Bubbles and the Brunner’s and it will be the very first road trip holiday for Archie and Olivia. Dad, Chad Brunner, is staying home this time around, Bubbles is far too small to accommodate Chad and so has subsequently become a special means of  getting away for just Kylie and the kids – I like to think of Bubbles as a bit of an exclusive cubby house! No technology (or limited) is allowed on Bubbles adventures and so this, and the fact it is the first road trip for the trio, has been the main theme for my response to the project.

Bubbles the caravan

Bubbles the caravan

My work has been focused on – old fashioned fun, summer holidays before the technological age, collecting treasures and scrap booking a journey/adventure, making do with what is at hand and making fun out of essentially nothing! Cardboard is my material of choice – pilfered from factory housing outlet recycle bins and bike shops and toilet paper and fabric rolls (thanks to the lovely ladies at DK fabrics) . I have wanted the kids to be involved in the making and to be the ones who relish the outcomes most. On Sunday I had a great day at Terra Bella farm in the shed with Archie, Olivia and bubbles getting right into making stuff for Canberra. The kid’s enthusiasm and willingness to be involved was awesome. Pictures below of Olivia learning to stencil and spray paint and Archie working very hard at some amazing drawings to kick start his scrap book.

7 6 5 4 2 1

Updates to follow in the lead up to Canberra! stay informed about the event here : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Museum-of-the-Long-Weekend/343280689115919   and find out more about MOTLW here : http://www.longweekend.bighart.org/

Fluorescence exhibition review : Serena Wong. courtesy of The Curatorial Inquisition

EXHIBITION REVIEW : Serena Wong

The Curatorial Inquisition

Issue #15 Monday 30 September 2013
Fluorescence
Jemimah Davis
Urban Cow Gallery
Light, in any definition of the word, is not tangible. Light, as in the opposite of dark, cannot be touched or felt, it is essentially insubstantial. Yet it is so fundamental to our very existence that we couldn’t live without it. The light from the sun completes the act of photosynthesis which means that plants can grow, produce oxygen and keep us breathing. The light generated in the rising and setting of the sun regulates our body cycles, creating waking and sleeping patterns and in doing so keeps us sane, healthy and happy. It is associated with both the deceptively simple act of seeing, but also with deeply psychological and personal factors of religion, morality and mortality. Low light is anything from amorous to sinister, whereas a bright light can illuminate or interrogate. The contradictions and complexities go on.
Among these many contradictions, is the way that light shapes everything we see, without ever having a physical presence. Shadows and luminescence dictate the space that surrounds us as much as the walls of a building. Olafur Eliasson, a well-known artist who works with large scale, elemental based installations and sculptures, describes light and physicality as connected. For Eliasson light is ‘not just something that falls on a surface so that you can see the surface. Light is something that shapes surface. It shapes it both in colour and shade, but also physically – it gives it a body.’1 The tension inherent in this understanding of light, as both tangible and intangible is a powerful tool in which to make art, and why it can hold such a hypnotism over us.
Jemimah Davis, in her first solo exhibition, Fluorescence, reminds us of the many contradictions light based work can hold. Immediately, when stepping into the space, one thinks of Dan Flavin and his legacy of sculpting space with light and colour from fluorescent tubing. Yet there are important differences to note too. Flavin used pre-fabricated, commercially available lights to create what he called ‘situations’ or ‘proposals’, in which he would make work that would directly respond to each space.
1 Olafur Eliasson
By contrast, each of Davis’ pieces, are specially handcrafted glowing pods, made from everyday objects. They transform the mundane into mesmerising undulating spheres, each emanating a different fluorescent colour. Constructed from Tupperware, nozzles, and what I can only imagine is a large amount of glue, these carefully assembled objects draw you in, like a moth to a flame. Intense colours emanate from the centre of these lights, radiating out, funnelled through each nozzle. Gradually the light is defused before it leaks into the space of the gallery. The points made by the nozzles seem chaotic, reaching out simultaneously in every direction, yet they are arranged in an ordered process, following and outlining strangely rounded forms. They seem almost alive, as if they have an agency of their own, and are growing to their own agenda, like early organisms.
Her lights turn technology from an infinitely updated sleek mobile device into a beautifully considered, lo-fi, handmade object. In making them from the everyday, Davis has made objects that seem familiar, yet alien, common yet exotic. After staring into these lights, examining each in turn, one turns away, dazzled and slightly dazed, with shadows of colours dancing across the retina, staining the rest of the room with its residual glow.
Paper-mache Ballons, one of the strongest pieces, was an installation on the wall created from white spheres of varying sizes, arranged in a circle. Onto it Davis projected a 5 minute looped video of swirling, ever changing colours which lit up each individual sphere with a luminesce that overshadowed all the other colours and lights in the room. The texture of the installation gave the colour and pattern based projection a physicality and complexity that was absent in the lights. The spheres gave the fluorescent colours a body, onto which it moulded itself and made each shape unimaginable without the colour and light. The result being the light sculptured the installation and the installation sculptured the light in a beautiful dance between the physical and the imagined.
Unfortunately due to space, the full experience and effect could not be fully realised. Each light needed its own space to breathe, reflect and shape the area around it with its intangible, yet palatable qualities. The size of the room limited this and as a result, the colours became muddied, and mixed indiscriminately together, creating an intense confusion of colour, rather than allowing the lights to shape the space around them. Indeed, the projection piece filled the whole space with its reflected light and much like an older, bigger sibling, overshadowed much of the other work. To see these works in a larger space, that could be separated better, would make each piece the stand out that they could be.
Serena Wong