Nov 26, 2014

SAWTOOTH REVIEW #14

It Is Not It That We See
Curated by Liam James (ACT)
Sawtooth ARI, Front Gallery
4 July - 26 July 2014
Review by: Marcus Colla
Photography by: Mel De Ruyter

The following is a condensed version of a catalogue essay for a Sawtooth show curated by Liam James, for which the curator invited me to discuss photographic themes related to the diverse works displayed.

 It is not it that we see – Observations of the Observer

Long has it been observed that the photograph conveys more than the image itself. It fools, it interrogates, it illuminates and it awakens. Ostensibly, it reflects reality, and thus the straw- photographer’s task amounts to little more than that of a conduit. But what self-respecting artist would ever be concerned with anything so tedious and rudimentary as the real world? Or, indeed, as the more philosophically-inclined photographer may query, what artist even could? Photography’s purpose can thus be reduced to proving the sheer ineffability of merely representing this reality. For the very act of creating the photograph introduces by necessity the subjective element.

But it was Barthes who wrote ‘Whatever it grants to vision and whatever its manner, a photograph is always invisible: it is not it that we see’. The photograph, then, is not the artistic entity in and of itself. It is defined by its ‘referent’ (the ‘real’ thing it depicts, spatial or temporal, made ‘meaningful’ through cognition), which itself assumes an objective quality; that is to say, the relation between the object and its representation. As ‘the sovereign Contingency’, the photograph gains authenticity from the singular Necessity with which it began. The very act of creating the photograph, then, is what authenticates it. The photograph, writes Barthes, ‘does not invent’.

Following this reasoning, our attention is inescapably drawn to the role of the photographer – the observer, the performer, the manipulator or the alchemist, depending on your preference. Reading Barthes’ assertion, it is impossible not to infer that he views the artist as secondary, even immaterial, as if she is as much the medium as the tools she employs. Yet is this not the illusion to beat all illusions? For the photographer can never be the mere observer, or even the mere transmitter. The very nature of the photographer’s work requires the passage through man and his technology. As such, the photograph is forever a human construct, and the photographer’s claim to ‘represent reality’ no more than the atavistic residue of a long-defunct empiricism.

But transcending the photographer is the ‘spectator’. And what the spectator experiences is something different again. Experiencing the photograph is not to experience its content. Indeed, we might go one step further and argue that experiencing the photograph is not even to recreate the experience of the photographer. Kant once wrote that experience of the sublime is the key to recognising the power of our rational being. So, can experiencing the photograph be qualitatively identical to experiencing the sublime of that which it represents? One would have to think not. Gone, then, is the idea of the photograph as a window, as if that was ever a satisfying notion to begin with. But in its place we have a sense that the photograph acts as a distortion on our experience of reality. This seems to me more fruitful. But it does yield some unexpected consequences for Barthes.

For one, spare a thought again for the photographer: if she is at once conscious of the travesty she has created and willingly dependent on her viewer, has she entirely capitulated to fiction and surrendered her impulse to convey? Kick and scream all she might, the proud viewer may argue, her work is about me! But then! (retorts the high-minded philosopher), the photographer has recaptured her role as conveyer, and the thing-in-itself again regains its essence! The photographer is again irrelevant, and the viewer and object wrestle only one another, in art as in life itself! Barthes is redeemed!…sort of.

What is now left for the poor photographer? A cursory glance at my initial list yields just one answer – the artist as manipulator. ‘Wrestle all you wish’, he says, ‘but you wrestle on a stage I have myself constructed’. The photographer is saved, and all that is lost is the autonomy of the viewer. The photographer is sinister, the spectator abused. ‘Never!’ scream in unison those who refuse to view the world solely in dichotomies, ‘return to us our independence of thought!’ The smirking artist acquiesces: ‘have back your independence, then! But now it is you who deplores, who hates, who sees the ugly, who bestialises, who sexualises, who objectifies!’ But the King is exposed. Grinning, the shrewd viewer need simply retort: ‘most certainly I do. Yet if this is so, then it is also I who bestows beauty upon the sunset!’

The haughty photographer, accordingly, realises his fate – an anonymous medium, incapable of communicating, and thus limp in his art…

SAWTOOTH REVIEW #13

It Is Not It That We See
Curated by Liam James (ACT)
Sawtooth ARI, Front Gallery
4 July - 26 July 2014
Review by: Brigitte Trobbiani
Photography by: Mel De Ruyter

Three months on and I still think of Liam James curated exhibition, “It Is Not It That We See”. Even though it was presented in the July of this year, James’ curatorial approach and the works themselves still cross my mind.

 Prior to enrolling into the Bachelor of Contemporary Arts degree (I really just enrolled to avoid exams so that I could travel to Japan), I wasn’t really exposed to the dialogues, interactions and notions of Contemporary arts. Sure, I had been exposed to art and design, mainly the latter but really, the industry is still new to me. I’m still learning.

 “It Is Not It That We See” was a curatorial project by Liam James featuring the mixed-medium work of artists from Tasmania and Victoria. Collectively, the works could be best described as the collation of emerging and established artist’s representations of space, place and self.

 Photographs constituted much of the exhibition’s content, featuring an elaborate display of portraiture, landscape and still-life elements which aimed to portray more about the artist’s themselves than the title-boards present.

 On two plinths sit curved two photographs of a farmhouse, pinned to the wall are iconic Hobart landmarks (a giant hedge, a swirly overpass), a Hello Kitty ‘cake decal’ rests diagonally against the back wall. There are detailed portraits of a man in a Brisbane Lions Guernsey next to my favourite; a photograph of a sculptural pink figure that represents a mound. Fluffy, course, pastel and soft.

The exhibition was installed in the Front Gallery, the largest of the spaces at Sawtooth ARI, hung using the pre-existing space alongside the use of plinths and the largest of the works, hanging from the trusses of the space. The work hung from the ceiling was perhaps the most impactful in terms of redefining the space itself, while recognizing and portraying the still life to the viewer.

The exhibition was a successful culmination of mixed medium, varied presentation and expansive representation of content. And while it’s often easiest to congratulate the artists in relevance to the show, it seems timely and appropriate to really regard James’s careful consideration as the fleshy ‘meat’ behind the show. The curating process itself (from the consideration of works themselves to the hanging and arrangement) was cleverly depicted in such a way that a certain atmosphere and energy was created in the Front Gallery.

 An exciting representation of both emerging artists come established artists was exhibited within the show. There was an explicable excitement accompanying the works themselves; the arrangement was exciting (helping to represent the artworks, while redefining the space at Sawtooth), collectively the content captured a familiar topic or theme (space, place, self) and yet, the presentation of each of the works made an old muse seem brand new, desirable even.

Personally the show “It Is Not It That We See” is memorable. James’s curating approach helped to realize that perhaps the standard framed artworks on the wall wasn’t the only way to present works, outside of the standard ‘sit on a plinth’ approach. The artworks singularly were strong but perhaps may not have been so well received if they weren’t accompanied by the pieces next to them. Creating an energy transcending from the artworks themselves was of great significance to my experience of the show as a both a viewer and learning creative.

 I’m new to the industry and I’m still learning but July’s Front Gallery exhibition, “It Is Not It That We See” curated by Liam James is of great weight to my learning.  

Nov 19, 2014

Sawtooth Poem #15

Remote Companion
Poem by: Ross Jackson
Inspired by: Drip Drawing by Bron Fionnachd-Fein as part of the 2014 Members' Exhibition
Sawtooth ARI, @Sawtooth Pop-up #Exhibition
2 - 24 May 2014
Image courtesy of Bron Fionnach-Fein


Remote Companion


It is the same moon.
So drab, so grey on that clouded lake.

It is the same moon
surfaced on our pond, delaying
for the dissolving noses of carp.
It is the same old companion
for the songwriter.
Same clear face far above
the spinifex plain,
the silver dish the dingoes howl at.


It is the same moon.
So drab, so grey on that lake.
The specialists trip to its shore.
They plan to treat it well.


One day guns or flowers may be there.
It is the same moon.

Nov 18, 2014

Sawtooth Poem #14

waiting
Poem by: Peter Schonefeld
Inspired by:
The Waiting Room
Josh Foley and Gillian Marsden (TAS)
Sawtooth ARI, Project Gallery
31 October - 22 November 2014

 Photograph by Mel de Ruyter

sitting here

somehow out of place

sitting here

like dead grass by the paddock gate

hung on a wall

somehow out of place

with the hum of organic machines

waiting

waiting

waiting

for the snapshot of an

immaculate creation

framed only by

chaotic lines of dark energy &

almost lost forever

like soiled ephemera  

waiting

Sawtooth Poem #13



JIG SAW
Poem by:
Ross Jackson
Inspired by:
Half Full / Half Empty
Amber Koroluk-Stephenson (TAS)
Sawtooth ARI, Middle Gallery
7 March - 29 March 2014

Photography by Mel de Ruyter



Jig saw of a painted suburb fitted with lawns, trees, brushed in flowers
but minus one piece, an example of an authentic 1950’s house
cut out, then spirited to a retro architecture
design show.

The developers had wanted a glow across the estate
but that blank space left behind, blew a hole
in its genteel atmosphere.

Sure, it was only one impassive gap, but in an area
which might be labelled nice, any vacuum
most likely bad for real estate.

Had aliens sucked a house up into space? A question
to put off potential buyers, also an unfinished
game of jig saw likely to frustrate, or debilitate
the elderly.

Nov 11, 2014

Sawtooth Poem #12

the road
Poem by:
Kevin Gillam
Inspired by:
Flood
Will Rhodes (TAS)
Sawtooth ARI, Front Gallery
30 May - 21 June 2014

Photography by: Mel de Ruyter

the road

the road scars right, across the

palm of land, tumbling, dwindling,

a groove, a history, a way in,

worn and healed slick



the road, oil on linen, bitumen

on peat, with all the gradations

of shadow, bruise to smear to brush



the road, cloud above scuffed and

tugged by wind, rain sifting down,

the ‘haar’ they call it here,

cold breath of wet



the road, its dip and sway, blur

of scrub, the urge, glimpse of roof,

swerve, the early dark, the entrance

 - Kevin Gillam

Sawtooth Poem #11

Star...
Poem by: Ross Jackson
Inspired by:
Nebula
Susan Buret (NSW)

Sawtooth ARI, Middle Gallery
3-25 October 2014
Photography by: Mel de Ruyter

Star...

a sphere of turbulence
ranges of clouds and storms
appears from outer space

viewed closer: overlapping spears
of lemon sunlight, forests
of crystalline chain mail

once into its atmosphere
a descent to its flailing walls
clown suit of scales to clamber down

its overload of energy
bound to explode sometime
into vapours of eternity far, far out

Oct 29, 2014

SAWTOOTH REVIEW #12

The Fall of Icarus
Daniel Savage (ACT)
Sawtooth ARI, New Media Gallery
3-25 October 2014
Review by: Mara Schneiders
Photography by: Mel De Ruyter

After viewing Daniel Savage’s New Media exhibition, it struck me that that the connection between his and Henderson’s work is the body in space; the boundaries of our physical selves in the natural world, yet also our aspirations to extend experience.

I watched Savage’s piece with a friend who is a nurse. Afterwards she said she watched for movement in the prone body – a breath, an eyelid flicker. I had noticed the stillness of the form, but was also mesmerised by the falling feathers; their slow descent. Nothing could hurry them as they twirled, clustered, settled on landing - the natural laws of gravity, weight and wind at work. The use of music strengthened this response. Savage’s piece evoked sadness for the physical boundaries now imposed on the broken body, yet juxtaposing this was a moment of peacefulness in the meditative movement.

SAWTOOTH REVIEW #11

Papering Topographies
Sue Henderson (TAS)
Sawtooth ARI, Front Gallery
3-25 October 2014
Review by: Mara Schneiders
Photography by: Mel De Ruyter

I am familiar with Sue Henderson’s work so I came prepared for textual cliffs and playful interpretations of the landscape. What came unexpected, was my emotional response to the white void framing the rock formations. Entering at the corner of Sawtooth’s front gallery I faced the eastern wall. My eye was drawn to the spaces between evoking reflections on the depth of human experience, of possibilities yet to be realised.

The ink paintings are smoothly plastered to the gallery wall, yet visually stand out in blocky, bulky dimensions. My hand is drawn to touch the hard edges imagining the feel of rock. 

Absorbing Sue Henderson’s Papering Topographies requires viewing from varying vantage points. Not unlike walking through a landscape, new positions reveal different vistas. Taking in the length of brooding darker panels the layers reveal trees intertwining paths. This work is a newer direction for Henderson, a place more enclosed.

The repeat patterning of the lichen pieces on the southern wall reference both the natural and created. From afar a domestic wallpapered wall is shown, yet up close the earthiness of colour and detail challenge the orderliness.  Yet we notice they are not contained, but spill over onto the forested landscape and into the foyer area.  Lichen has its own life, reaching further into spaces. 

SAWTOOTH POEM #10

drinking why
Poem by: Kevin Gillam
Inspired by: The Fall of Icarus by Daniel Savage (ACT)
The Bayou (2014) oil on paper. 29.72 x 41.91cm (paper size)
New Media Gallery, 3-25 October 2014
Photography by: Mel De Ruyter

drinking why

I guess you can hear the worms working.

was your fall gracious?

you’ve one wing splayed, pointing skyward

 

your plumage suggests diurnal,

male obviously, being so garish

and I guess you can hear worms working

 

eyes open, glazed like stars forsaken,

piercing infinity, drinking why,

one wing splayed skyward

 

and ants will come, seething black ropes,

swarming, feeding on your story.

I guess you’ll still hear the worms working

 

then wind, whittling at hollow bones,

thieving your commas, your full stops,

one wing still splayed, skyward

 

‘too close to the sun’ they prattle,

but too far from dreams?

with one wing splayed skyward.

I guess you won’t hear the worms working

- Kevin Gillam

 

 

Oct 21, 2014

SAWTOOTH POEM #9

October 2014 @Sawtooth ARI Program
FRONT GALLERY: Papering Topographies by Sue Henderson (TAS)
MIDDLE GALLERY: Nebula by Susan Buret (NSW)
PROJECT GALLERY: DAMNATION by Annika Harding (ACT)
NEW MEDIA GALLERY: The Fall of Icarus by Daniel Savage (ACT)

3-25 October 2014
Poem by: Peter Schonefeld
Photography by: Mel De Ruyter

Untitled

And here i lie, a bed for feathers.

but soon realise this rest is just 

an interlude to a deeper crisis 

as my shade floats down 

to a place with

ink on white walls

   (valleys carved by clouds

   and pasted vertically into

   flat forests foretelling failure

   by tweened sheets by

   ancient lichens on igneous) and

yellow shapes

   (collecting like strings in space,

   rivers in the topography of time:

   grouping and repelling,

   opening entranceways,

   and blocking exits).

after forever, she asks,

why so sad Icarus?

i reply, “there’s no way out.”

too bad, she chides smugly,

you’ve built your own damn.

now live in it.

 - by  Peter Schonefeld 

Oct 15, 2014

SAWTOOTH REVIEW #10

October 2014 @Sawtooth ARI Program
FRONT GALLERY: Papering Topographies by Sue Henderson (TAS)
MIDDLE GALLERY: Nebula by Susan Buret (NSW)
PROJECT GALLERY: DAMNATION by Annika Harding (ACT)
NEW MEDIA GALLERY: The Fall of Icarus by Daniel Savage (ACT)

3-25 October 2014
Review by: Tanya Bailey
Photography by: Mel De Ruyter

A word to describe the exhibitions at Sawtooth ARI this month: mesmerising.
Each in their own way....

I started my journey through the exhibition (as directed by the director) in the New Media Gallery with Daniel Savage‘s work The Fall of Icarus. Standing in the dark with all focus on the video playing on a single screen, I was mesmerised as white feathers continually floated down and gradually built up on and around a single human figure lying in an awkward pose on the ground. The stillness of the body, the gentle drift and weave of the feathers and the floating piano music made for a poetic composition. Not having read the artists statement before watching, I was lured back after my viewing to learn more, and found that the piece tied the artist’s personal story-turned-myth of flight and falling into the mythology of Icarus flying too close to the sun. An elegant and refined response.

Next, from the darkness of the video room out into .... wow .... an installation covering the whole (large)Front Gallery space. Sue Henderson’s Papering Topography is overwhelming in the best way.  I was enveloped in a papered landscape depicting towering rocks, trees and lichen and drawn in to investigate more.  This is one of those wonderful works that you can appreciate at a number of different scales. Standing back and looking at it as a whole, I enjoyed the contrast between the all encompassing papering of one long wall (including a door), the balance of paper and void on the opposite wall and the grid-like pattern of organic lichen shapes on the end walls. I particularly liked the way some of the lichen seemed to be escaping the grid and moving across on to other walls, around doorways and even up into the roof space.

Zooming in to the next level of detail in the panels of textured paper on the long walls, I wondered how it was done. The artist has managed to turn her artwork in to wallpaper with each panel quite unique yet blending in to the next quite seamlessly to form a whole. Most panels are textured and dark coloured and suggestive of towering rock faces on one side of the room and a rocky forest on the other. The rock faces are emphasised through the clever use of ragged edges and the white wall as negative space. The forest wall is populated by traces of trees overlaying scree and warrants a close and lengthy inspection of the finer details. As do the lichen shapes (each a work of art in its own right) as they each successfully depict the colourful symbiotic relationship between fungi and algae.

Despite the completely different subject matter of the works, moving from Henderson’s work in to the Middle Gallery containing Susan Buret’s Nebula was not at all jarring. In fact the large regular grid of organic shapes in one room was beautifully complimented by a large grid of repeating geometric shapes within a cloud- like outline in the next. Nebula too was mesmerising. Buret’s use of a repeating yellow triangle on rectangles of white (and occasionally pale blue? or was that part of the illusion?) paper laid overlapping above, below and next to each other across one wall and onto another,  led to an optical illusion of grand proportions. As I stared at the wall the yellow triangles appeared to move in and out and even dance around as the white/blue of the paper seemed to billow around them. I eventually had to close my eyes and turn around to give them a rest only to find another arrangement of triangles on the wall behind– that eventually jumped out at me as 3D cubes. Clever.

In the furthest (Project Gallery) space the grid arrangements continued in Annika Harding’s work DAMNATION. While smaller in proportion than in the previous rooms, these grids of painted works on cardboard are no less engaging or meaningful. Large painted words like “OOPS”, “UNDO” and “DAMN” on some of the pieces jump out and proclaim a message.  On further inspection the depiction of machinery and dams and environmental degradation reveal the artist’s response to the destructive effects of large scale infrastructure projects. According to the artist the title “alludes to the idea of ‘nation building’” which is often used as the impetus for environmental manipulation on such big scales. Again, the work is clever, effective and mesmerising.

Oct 1, 2014

SAWTOOTH POEM #8

scent through
Poem by: Kevin Gillam
Inspired by: Half Full / Half Empty by Amber Koroluk-Stephenson (TAS)
The Bayou (2014) oil on paper. 29.72 x 41.91cm (paper size)
Middle Gallery, 7 March - 29 March 2014

scent through

red painted path. geraniums and

caterpillars. moist earth. rubber mat.

thumb, door bell. hallway. wet dog.

forgiving berber. lounge. lemon cake.

tapestries. china cabinet. best

never used. dining table. doilies.

short bread. rattle of hanging beads.

 

kitchen. corned silverside. yellow

bench tops. split lips of lino. lam-

inex table. ‘Flour’, ‘Sugar’. clock

hands crawling. sliding door. sleepout.

venetians. naphthalene balls. back door.

flywire slap. tea leaves behind camellias.

sun through pickets. freshly mown couch.

Sep 30, 2014

SAWTOOTH REVIEW #9

The Crowd 
Sonja Hindrum (TAS)
Sawtooth ARI, Project Gallery
5 - 27 September 2014
Review by: Tanya Bailey
Photography by: Mel De Ruyter

“How often are we alone together? “

A crowd of faceless yet endearing figures stitched onto calico and hanging from the ceiling enticed me through to the Project Gallery at Sawtooth ARI this month. I seem to be drawn to artworks that portray complex ideas with elegant simplicity and Sonja Hindrum’s “The Crowd” certainly does that.  The numerous human figures at once depict individuality and sameness: being alone and faceless within a throng of faceless others.

Despite having no facial features, each black stitched figure is distinctly individual with their character expressed through their dress, size and body shape (I must admit to spending some time looking through the figures trying to work out which one would best represent me). Standing face on with hands by their sides, each figure still manages to ooze personality.  The omnipresence of headphones and red mp3 players (or are they hearts?) on each figure does point to a deeper meaning: having to be in the same space as others but choosing to live in one’s own world and play one’s own tunes.

Red threads hang from the mp3 player/hearts stitched at chest level on each figure, giving the impression of bleeding. Not in a gory way. ... in a subtle, slow leaking kind of way that really can only be seen clearly when close up. Perhaps a representation of each individual’s heartaches/ love songs...or just a nice colour contrast to the white and black behind!

White threads suspend the squares of cloth upon which each figure is stitched with the white threads and ends of stitched black threads continuing to float downwards ending in piles on the floor. This configuration adds movement to the piece with the cloth and threads moving along with the viewer as they move through and look at each figure. Occasionally the threads trailing from one figure may touch or even tangle with another bringing to mind possible interactions between individuals in crowds, whether wanted or not.

This work was one with which I wanted to engage. I circled and inspected and moved through it, looking for similarities and differences in the figures, thinking of how I feel in a crowd, how I engage with personal technology in a public place. However, again we are given the choice as to how deeply to contemplate the layered meanings represented in the work. The simple yet effective aesthetic of the crowd of hanging stitched figures can be appreciated alone for what it is. Yet the faceless heads enclosed by headphones immediately hints at a deeper significance that encourages greater consideration. 

According to the artist “this work has been a response to our behaviour in crowds or social situations which might work against our need for solitude or the expectation to engage”. I find her response eloquent, elegant and engaging. I for one would revisit this work was “The Crowd” ever to pop up again.

 

Sep 16, 2014

SAWTOOTH POEM #7

darks

Poem by: Kevin Gillam

Inspired by: Helene Weeding, Endless
Middle Gallery, 8 August - 30 August 2014

darks

Chopin saw Bb minor as charcoal

in ICU its your name and the date

number of truths equals number of cuts

ravens prefer to roost on dead branches

ill’s a good word – deals with it succinctly

congregation of tuarts, all standing

it’s a dangerous light near the surface

not recuperating, always the next

cirrus smeared, hinting, smudging the language

venetians slivering the mopoke’s call

the undead aren’t writing books about it

raking the coals, making night in the grate

all purpled, fly-wired, Sunday afternooned

while in my shirt box mind, pinning moth words

Aug 15, 2014

SAWTOOTH REVIEW #8

A Body Residing - Winter
Wendy Morrow
Sawtooth ARI Artist-in-Residence (winter)
4.30pm Sunday 29 June 2014
Reviewed by:  Patrick Sutczak (August 2014)
Photography by: Mel De Ruyter

 

In January 2014, Wendy Morrow conducted a short residency at Sawtooth. As I sat with others on the floor afterwards, I remember listening more intently to the sounds of the outside world while feeling my face and arms being warmed by the afternoon summer sun pouring in through the skylights above. I remember thinking about spaces and history and intimacy. I remember thinking differently. I remember that Morrow would return in the winter, and that I would be moved again.

Winter arrived, and eventually Wendy did too. In the darkening sky of a cold June evening, the artist began her performance. I remember thinking about time and intersection. I remember looking out the window across the street to a young couple walking a dog, who paused to carry their conversation to a deeper state of engagement, for better or worse, before moving on.

‘Intimate, perhaps sensuous’

I remember looking at my watch. I remember the regret that while Morrow emerged from a suitcase surrounded by furs at Sawtooth, I was twenty-kilometers away.

I remember driving back home a while later feeling agitated. I probably passed Morrow on the road going the opposite direction after her work was complete. I remember thinking about commitment and responsibility and labour. I remember thinking about nurture and cycles and wondering why I was over here when I really wanted to be over there. I wondered about the nature of things, of us, of life. I remember Matt Berninger singing about his girl apologising to the vines in the garden as the lights of Launceston created a pale glow in the valley beyond the curl of the highway. As I drove, I remember thinking about experience and the etching of memory.

‘Yes, it was a large space.’

Much later by the glare of a halogen desk lamp, I remember thinking of Benjamin and of philosophy, and of lightning, and of the rolling thunder afterwards – the place of texts. I remember thinking about image, dialogue, access, and of fictions. I remember thinking about those things and about gently kissing the foreheads of my sons as they slept.

‘We were invited to touch the furs.’

‘Emerging from the suitcase. Slow, mesmerising.’

I sat at my desk flanked by the ink of night beyond the window. I was there in the reflection, somewhat abstracted, and largely ignored except for the fleeting moment of forced distraction from the screen in the belief that revelation was over there, somewhere just for a moment, in or beyond the glass.

The scent of the furs.’

I remember pouring wine. I remember wondering if the elixir would bring me sleep or awaken monsters. I remembered it had done both of late at precisely the same time.

‘Rising out of the earth. Breathing. Rising up and down. A creature’

Long after the house fell silent, I remember the solace in self-calibrating. I remember welcoming the nothingness of space with the enormity of introspection and the cataloguing of thoughts. I remember the responsibility of continuing to draw breath. I remember thinking about design. I remember thinking about the defunct.

‘There was a woman sitting in a chair. The sound. Move. Separate. Move. Separate. Slowly moving. And then the end.’

Amid the darkness, I returned often to the fireplace in another room for a rejuvenation of warmth. I remember the abstraction of time as I rotated back to front, gripping the mantle and contemplating everything from the trivial, to the imaginary, to the unnecessary. Minutes became quarters of the hour.

‘We walked back through the spaces. Back through the furs. On the wall, a video. An eye. Closing, opening. Clouds’

I remember thinking it was late. I remember moving through the house, turning off light and systematically disconnecting. I remember the fire burning and the behaviour of things under the parameters of circumstance. I remember letting the fire burn.

Burning within that box.

Within that space.

Eventually ash.

I remember.

  

Aug 6, 2014

SAWTOOTH POEM #6

the moon’s reminder
Poem by: Kevin Gillam

Inspired by: Edna Broad, Tide Travellers
Project Gallery, 7 March - 29 March 2014

the moon’s reminder 

prefer boat to ship – sounds rounder, safer –

ten of them, a scattering, at all angles,

paper boats, only paper is for stories

 

people in one boat, sea unfolding,

wind scuffing cheeks –

prefer boat to ship – sounds fatter, safer

 

caught betwixt and neaped and between,

at the whim of moon’s tug,

a paper boat, only paper is for stories

 

letters and boats make journeys, while

the tide is the moon’s reminder –

prefer boat to ship – sounds rounder, fatter

 

but flotsam needs to be found,

lifted, held in cupped palms,

a paper boat, only paper is for stories

 

so I’m building a jetty of words, line by

plank by line, out to these

paper boats, only paper is for stories –

prefer boat to ship, sounds rounder, safer

 

 

   Kevin Gillam

 

 

 

Jul 10, 2014

SAWTOOTH POEM #5

Drip Drawing
Poem by: Kevin Gillam

Inspired by: Bron Fionnachd-Féin, Drip Drawing (2013) video
Sawtooth ARI Members' Exhibition, @Sawtooth Pop-up #Exhibition, 2 May - 24 May 2014

Drip Drawing

things get damp. needs it’s white surrounds, it’s silence.

ravens hover,  skip t’wards road kill.   present tense.   a

triangle. white.  finishes with a tongue flick.  damp. 

conjures up bruising,  something having sat for a long time.

simple enough.     nothing rhyming.   sleek-winged and

button eyed.    things.  the scab off shame.   right angle

triangle. damp, of course, being the hypotenuse.    head

voice conspiring, angst ridden.  silence.  sibilant.      

raven’s being opportunists.          truth it’s own metaphor.

through the gauze, bleeding.     in their silken tails.  

sibilant and infinite.          sitting on it’s three legged chair.

memory a roofless church.   mind assembles, too much

glue.      their raspy cry.      proportional to ‘things’ and

‘get’.   pews not there for comfort.    parts in the wrong

order. pythagorean.  simple enough.   mouthing hymns.

things.  white.  sells it not short.  festering.   get.    

voracious. silence. logical. incense. like undertakers. creeds

and prayer cushions.        all from the one box.     damp

 

 

 

Jun 25, 2014

SAWTOOTH POEM #4

Metamorphosis
Poem by: Karen Knight

Inspired by: Michael Schlitz, Thatʼs Far More Intriguing (2013) hand printed woodcut on Kozo paper, unframed. Image Courtesy of Bett Gallery
Michael Schlitz and Tom O’Hern (TAS)Whack & Blight
Front Gallery, 2 May - 24 May 2014

Metamorphosis

I’m a ripped-down, torn-up

landscape. A sifter of soil

and stone.

 

When it’s raining chainsaws

I pull the earth and its trees

around me. Our roots

go down a long way.

 

Last night there was no moon

just a flurry of meteor showers

a planetary line up, then I saw

the sun rise.

 

I opened my leathery throat

and a slow growth of trees

strained through the colander

of my toes.

May 30, 2014

SAWTOOTH REVIEW #7

The Girl with The Golden Nose
Mae Finlayson (TAS), Jessie Lumb (SA), Emma Challacombe (UK), Madelaine Button (TAS) and Niki Wilson (TAS)
Sawtooth ARI, Middle Gallery
2- 24 May 2014
Review by: Brigitte Trobbiani

Television and film seem to portray witches as they appear within our imagination as children; evil, ugly and powerful. There are a few exceptions to the rule, Glinda the Good Witch of the North (from The 1930’s classic, “The Wizard of Oz”), Matilda* the protagonist from Roald Dahl’s novel of the same name and, Samantha, the perfectly imperfect housewife (and house witch) from the 1960’s fantasy, “Bewitched”. And if you were anything like me, these women influenced some very strange attempts at magic; questionable nose twitches and face scrunches and the assumption that if you had a wand, well, anything was possible.

Magic is a central theme in the female group exhibition currently showing at Sawtooth ARI in Launceston. Aptly titled “The Girl with The Golden Nose” (a “Bewitched” reference), the drawing-based show aims to decontextualize magic within the creative arts and in doing so, aims to allow the viewer to create what they perceive as magic and madness. The artist statement references these intentions, aiming to explore “charged female energy with arrestingly curious touchstones of magic held within”and how the truth or energy of magic in art can be saved by the “seeing”.

The exhibition itself is a vibrantly colourful experience featuring an array of artworks to keep the viewer engaged and inspired. Taking over the middle room in Sawtooth’s expansive gallery, “The Girl with The Golden Nose” is childish and reminiscent, bright and witty. The Yoga Girl Colouring In Competition, the overlapped drawings, the handmade merchandise, the collage-like assemblage all contribute to the atmosphere of the show while bringing forward the necessity to include and consider magic, impulse and madness in the creative arts.

The aesthetics of the work collectively, could be compared to the visions and perspectives of what magic is and what magic does as a child. It ignites something, challenges a thought or belief while redefining preconceived ideas.Like the expectations a drawing show and an all female group exhibition.

While the pieces collectively work together (and help to connect and reinforce the central theme), the pieces individually are strong, utilizing size, colour and drawing well. With participatory pieces, merchandise, textiles and 3D components, the show is visually and thematically strong. 

“The Girl With The Golden Nose” is a visually and physically engaging (and challenging) exhibition featuring drawings from Mae Finlayson, Jessie Lumb, Emma Challacombe, Madelaine Button and Niki Wilson. The group show is an enchanting look at how magic can be applied, investigated and represented within the arts while focusing on the influence of the viewer’s abilities to see and reflect.

*I know Matilda isn’t a witch, but she does however fit into the same category of the other women, as females with magic powers (who don’t fit the conventions of witches in film; ugly and mean).