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Connie Dietchold 2009 | Artspace 24/25 | Everything is Connected to Everything Else | Imprint | Notes on the Castle | The Assorted Spat Out Ones | Of The Earth Series | The Fragility of Goodness |

 

 

 

 

Liz Day at Connie Dietchold 2009

Mesh Works, Of The Earth, Unravelling of Form

 

Artspace 14/25
Dilluyhia Garden

 

 

Everything is Connected to Everything Else

Matthew & Others : Journeys with Schizophrenia
curated by Anne Loxley, Dinah Dysart and Nick Waterlow
Campbelltown City Gallery
2006

 

Everything is Connected to Everything Else Work for Uncle Frank and Others who Fell into the Chasm of Fear in History's Black Void
knitted baby wool spiders web, dvd of interviews with relatives of schizophrenics
2006


[left]
Cosmos

Chewing Gum Painting
1.2 x 1.4 m
2006

[right]
Everything is Connected to Everything Else Work for Uncle Frank and Others who Fell into the Chasm of Fear in History's Black Void

knitted baby wool spiders web, dvd of interviews with relatives of schizophrenics
2006

 

Read Anne Loxley catalogue essay [pdf]

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Imprint

Trouble with the Weather
curated by Nori Neumark, Jaqueline Bosscher, Maria Miranda
UTS Gallery Sydney
2007


Imprint
grass, grass roots and drawing on earth with Sports Utility Van tyre
2007

Read Review


Imprint
grass, grass roots and drawing on earth with Sports Utility Van tyre
2007

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elizabeth_day

Notes on the Castle

Notes on the Castle
Solo Exhibition Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney
2004

Art and the Age of Accountancy
Solo Exhibtion Gallery 49, Sydney
2007


Art and the Age of Accountancy
Cardboard archive boxes and A4 retrieve from instituional gargage bins
2007

Art in the age of accountancy is a formal development of a previous work notes on the castle (2005) at the University of Sydney Tin Sheds Gallery. Elizabeth Day used a range of media including cardboard boxes reminiscent of sandstone blocks in constructions which address the architectural links and attendant colonial attitudes inherent in the Australian prisons that draw their forms from the European castle…flying buttresses, crenellations, turrets and so on. She made links between current institutional technologies of surveillance (the proliferation of quality assurance processes of the current economic regime) and the earlier colonial import at Port Arthur (Tasmania) the panopticon of the model prison, in a work titled micro-management. art in the age of accountancy (Edifice) continues in the vein of this earlier project.

Day has worked as a teacher in Corrections for a number of years, and has frequently drawn on the Foucauldian perception of the prison as a figure persisting beyond the walls of the prison. No more than now than in our age of accountancy. Day’s work is characterised by its inventiveness and playful means. Fluxus has been one of the early sources for her work that though indebted to late modernist abstraction is characterised by its poetic use of everyday materials. She is currently beginning a Creative Arts Doctorate at the University of Western Sydney studying creative processes across art and


Art and the Age of Accountancy
Cardboard archive boxes and A4 retrieve from instituional gargage bins
2007

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The Assorted Spat Out Ones

MOP Projects, Sydney 2004

Seven Beauties
curated by Robert Lake
Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney
2005

Break Pattern
curated by Judith Duquemin
Carnegie Gallery, Hobart
2007

Matthew & Others : Journeys with Schizophrenia
curated by Anne Loxley, Dinah Dysart and Nick Waterlow
Campbelltown City Gallery
2006

Assorted Spat Out Ones
[two examples of a series of paintings of chewing gum on hessian]
2005

 

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Of The Earth Series

Lucky Country
curated by Ron & George Adams
Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Sydney
2006-2007

Breaking Pattern
curated by Judith Duquemin
Carnegie Gallery, Hobart
2007


Of The Earth
works from a series made from cast grass roots in steel frames
2006-2007


Mesh 1
Bunnings plastic barrier mesh & assorted fabrics, wires and other domestic materials
2007

 

Liz Day, Of the Earth: Wild Genealogy and Rhizomatic Links

by Ann Finegan

Grass is the prosaic stuff of the everyday, a common denominator of ordinary backyards and surburban dreams. But in various species it is also wanderer, a spreader, a stubborn disemminator that resists neat fences and boundary lines, refusing to be as quarantined like more well mannered trees. Liz Day has made of use of grass within a certain paradigm as a carrier of codes. Literally cultivating grass, growing it from seeds, she has devised a technique of embedding a mirror writing in the tangle of its roots. Grass, the irrepressible figure of dissemination in Deleuze and Guattari's fiercely ahierarchical nomadic text, "Rhizome", is semi-tamed in the gardener's art of organic writing, in which grass is coaxed into propagating messages of diaspora and cultural mapping.

The material signifier is the roots themselves, sown from seed dispersed into the soil bed over words spelt out in individual handcut letters. There's thus a kind of secret occult collusion in this gentle mode of the gardener's practice in which the matter of the message is the message of the matter: a series of place names written in relief in underground roots which only make sense when the grass is ripped up, torn out of the earth and exposed, inverse side up, in the light of day (excuse pun on Day). Dispersed across the rootweb, now right way round, the placenames reference the displacements of Hazlehurst locals across the surface of the earth. Sudan. Somalia. Vietnam. Afganistan. Serbia. Liverpool. Manchester. [liz your names here] The names read as a rollcall for wars, famine, poverty, and the time tested hopes of plain old good expectations; studded across the rhizome they signal intermeshed cultural threads - nodes of identity and difference within the local community.

       

Day is effectively overcoding the regional place/grass/location of Hazelhurst with reminders of the places which its inhabitants are from. Grass, of the earth, acts in a carrier role, recalling connections in a common matrix, in a fusing of the symbolic and material realms in which the population now dwells. Closeness is implicated in this bonding with the earth and a compounding of the signifer in embedded matter. The earth is thus charged with a kind of repository responsibility, bearing the material imprint- the palimpsest - of what remains in memory, of the places left behind. This acknowledges the tension between migration and rootedness, and the psychic patterning that remains of "putting down roots" long after one's roots are torn up.

Furthermore grass is a fitting material through which to work through the exhibition brief of Still Different in the context of the history of the Hazlehurst gallery and the philosophy behind the Broadhurst bequest. First, it should be noted that Day has been working with the medium of grown grass through more than a decade of projects, often in the cause of institutional and cultural critique. Grass, in its associations with colonialism, has often stood in as a metaphor for conquest and cultural imperialism in her work, as well as materially signifying a re- or overplanting of the natural environment. Yet, in this exhibition grass takes on a radically different role, reflective of the generosity of the Broadhursts, a family of visionary free thinkers - thinkers of social, politcal and cultural difference of their time - through whose bequest of the house and garden the Hazlehurst gallery complex was founded.

Originally from Manchester (the name appears in palimpsest), the Broadhurts were philathropists and spiritualists who followed many of Rudolf Steiner's principles. In the business of textiles (another rhizomatic link), they gifted the means of production to their workers who were often invited to enjoy the gardens of Hazlehurst, where the Broadhurts were keen organic gardeners, and early advocates of the benefits of composting and recycling. In line with their wholistic philosophy, the bequest mandated that the gardens be preserved and complimented by either "'a place of culture' or a community facility" (The Hazlehurst Story, Hazlehurst gallery pamplet, 16).

The garden was crucial to their vision; the Broadhurts adhering to Steiner's belief that "everything is related to the soil." (ibid, 12). Hence, Day's project of imbricating the immaterial signifier of the letter in the organic matter of grass, as cultural transmitter, intimately reflects the Broadhurst philosophy of the unity of all spheres of life, specifically as grounded in the relationship with the earth, and, as such, pays hommage in the spirit of community in which the Broadhurts so passionately believed. One senses they would have approved of Day's active cultural mapping in the medium of grass, and also in the additional twist of the laying down of the letter(s) underground, analagous to Freud/s desciption of laying down the traces of the psyche in "the underground" of the unconscious (Ben Broadhurst was also President of the Sydney Centre for Psychic Research in the 1950s).

The second aspect of Day's show could be described as symbolically rhizomatic, and an extension of her interest in museology. Local women, representative of the cultural diversity of Hazlehurst, have been asked to bring along a small object of personal importance for museum display. Day explains the operation as an opportunity for a kind of showing off, an occasion to show and share, but, as importantly, given the museum's historical use of vitrines as institutional sites of cultural validation, also consolidating the pluralist threads of local identity. Working from the grass roots up, such a practice encourages patterns of emergence - akin to Foucault's autonomous 'self-seeded' microcircuits of power. Therefore, the display of these personal objects interrogates institutional function in relation to community, inverting the top down hegemonic relations of power, and replacing the museum's usual classificatory tree with wild, rhizomatic anti-genealogy of whatever the women choose to bring in. Again there's a synergy with the free thinking Broadhursts and their goals of empowering community.

 


[from left to right]
Rhizome Film
DVD 5 mins
2007

Six Assorted Spat Out Ones
chewing gum on hessian
2007

Of the Earth
cast grass roots framed with steel
2007

 


Making and Breaking Pattern Elizabeth Day

By Judith Duquemin

Pattern is a regular or repetitive form, generally involving types of order and arrangement. Patterns are made according to certain rules; however through a making and breaking of the rules of pattern making, the conceptual realm of the artist’s intention is revealed. Pattern becomes a vehicle for expressing Variation, a principle that William Justema identified as ‘the intelligence of a pattern one could say its conscience adding that Variation and Repetition are the two most important aspects of pattern making, taking precedence over matters of Symmetry, Rhythm and Balance. Variation, the act or the result of varying something that differs slightly from the norm, is a reasoning that takes on greater complexity when it becomes an expression of individuality within multidisciplinary art practice. Driven by vastly different interests, the artists: Elizabeth Day, Judith Duquemin, Kate Mackay, Shaun Morrow, Giles Ryder and Justin Trendall acknowledge the value of pattern making through a multiplicity of materials and models of expression. The result is not so much the representation of pattern as predictable and precise which is often the common expectation. The works in this exhibition are linked by each artist’s acknowledgement that pattern making, and pattern breaking, are important mechanisms for the development of personal, professional and cultural identity. The outcome is a mixed installation of complex art forms requiring intense contemplation and navigation on the part of the observer.

Elizabeth Day works with everyday materials and processes with amazing cleverness and humility. She acts out multiple roles as emigrant, sibling, artist and educator with disadvantaged cross-cultural groups, through combinations of sculpture, sculptural performance and installation. Influenced by Fluxus and the artist Eva Hesse, she says: “I think of my work as being closer to sculpture because of the use of actual process and materials: the growing of the grass roots, unravelling wool, the chewing of gum, the knitting and stitching” adding that “patterns, processes, poetic resonances with everyday materials and meanings were very much part of Hesse’s oeuvre”…”I especially liked the way that Hesse imbued her pattern-making with her own emotional electricity, and serious playfulness with ideas and states of mind”.

Knitting, stitching, weaving, mapping, documenting, the use of un-kerned text, compositions of gum and the attraction to unconventional geometry make up formal and informal arrangements of patterns juxtaposed within patterns. “The of the earth series, of which five are included here, are ‘cast grass’ formations containing birthplaces within steel frames. They map and give recognition to, the vast cultural diversity that describes Australian society, and refer to Day’s experience as an emigrant from the English town of Wigan. A collaboration, the works were created with the artist’s mother Margaret Day who lives in Hobart. The Assorted Spat Out Ones, are gum on hessian and are a series from larger works that consider the colonial imposition of the prison as an idea and a reality on the Australian landscape and the creation of the abject. Series: three, combines sculpture performance and video aimed at addressing the intricacies of sibling relations.

Judith Duquemin questions selfhood through memories of Modernist Design, mostly abstract geometric mid 20th century textile designs, encountered during her formative years. The properties of flat colour, shape and line peculiar to Modernist Design are symbolic of the articulation of memory and an imaginary search for a vital self, with full knowing that emotional memory is not accurate and occurs mostly through oblique associations made with past events. Further, that selfhood is not unitary or stable but adaptable according to gender, role, and class. It is through hardedge technique, palettes of tertiary colours, geometric pattern, and mixed media, that Duquemin has created non-figurative, non-representational, abstract geometric images with a subjective twist.

Painted irregular striped textile has been replicated as acrylic gouache paintings and digital prints. The Light Yellow, Magenta & Cobalt Triptych is based upon a striped Catalan textile manufactured in Perpignan in southern France. Swatches have been recreated as I Canvases involving colours that are digital substitutes. “The various colour combinations and textures provoke memories of denim, caravan parks and other features of a sun-bleached southeast Queensland beach culture during the 1960s. Through a screen made up of forty-two stripes, colours merge. Each narrow stripe responds to those adjacent providing symbolic analogy for fuzzy memories about the uniformities of country life”.

Kate Mackay resolves, in her way, the art craft dichotomy. She says: “The work of art in general enjoys a privilege of meaning that is seen to be lacking from a piece of craft. The craftwork is created from established patterns for a useful purpose; the artwork is allowed to exist as a conceptual construction. In these works the positions are equalised; the craft pieces are released from their use value, and both the paintings, wooden constructions and crocheted pieces are constructed following the same sorts of randomly manipulated rules”.

Concerned with process and random difference within uniformity, outcomes are not realized until the last colour has been included whether it be oil paint applied through actual stencils onto canvas, oil paint applied directly on to an assemblage of glued MDF blocks, or, coloured yarn introduced into patterns for crocheting. Squares come alive through painting and crochet to become three-dimensional forms that express Mackay’s concerns about relationships between painting and sculpture, as well as between art and craft. She has created Red Square Painting, Yellow Square Painting, both made up of four non-identical square canvases, Wooden Cubes Yellow, and a conglomeration of crocheted geometric forms titled: Crocheted Cubes and Crocheted Cube 2.

Formations of irregular spray painted pearlescent stripes on hand rolled metal make up Giles Ryder’s aluminium ‘canvases’, imaginatively titled: Divine Transporters and Spectral Magenta. The artist says: “Part of my practice explores the idea of the readymade, in my choice of materials and utilizing industrial spray painting techniques to mixing my own Auto Lacquers. In contrast to the ‘readymade’ these techniques give an effect of the ‘Custom Paint Job’.
His use of pearlescent paint is perceptually challenging, as the appearance of the work changes with the fall of light, the position of the viewer and the amount of clear pearlescent coats applied. The surface shimmers and glows with light through flat, reflective planes of colour.

Like the idea of the ‘Art Car’, Ryder’s technique is a reaction to mass production and uniformity, the transformation of the ordinary to the aesthetic. The Art Car has a rich history whereby a vehicle has had its appearance modified as an act of personal artistic expression. It is an artistic experience in which the creator identifies and defines his own uniqueness.
Art Cars borrow from a range of genres for example street art, advertising, the automobile industry, folk art, outsider art, trends, politics, sex, architecture, design, and photography. On this occasion Ryder’s concern is fine art ‘furthering the concepts of reduction (of form; space; line and material), the effect of colour (visual; as signature; and psychological effects) and the experiential qualities of painting’.

Justin Trendall has utilized digital design software and print making to produce Parthenon, a design for a section of a building. It is part of his Monuments project, a body of work based around a series of imaginary edifices that memorialize cultural modernity. Intricate patterns on three horizontal lengths of gold and deep red silk mimic the wall of a building like construction, while appearing to map a continuous coastline and hinterland complete with place names.

Trendall’s technique challenges our understanding of the functions of pattern, He combines ‘patterns of rational thought’ within cultural history with ‘patterns of information’ that are digital constructions. Repetitions of text and web like formations on silk give the appearance of pattern that is decorative, except that on closer inspection the lines are broken by folds and folding, by the unevenly dispersed light on the luminous silk surface, and the digitalized web like formations that lack clear proportion. The text is a mixture of historical references and place names of personal and geographical significance and each time the work is exhibited, it acquires new meaning depending on context. Ironically one does not have to be an architect, historian, or cartographer to appreciate how pattern is playfully upstaged in this work.

Shaun Morrow rearranges pattern using his knowledge of painting, screen-printing, digital animation and digital imaging, and, his subject base is as diverse as his knowledge of multidisciplinary practice. He likes to reference a range of issues that are ‘germane to abstract painting for example Australian indigenous culture, and the exploration of metaphysical links between a broad range of topics from religious belief systems to quantum physics and microbiology’.

Labyrinth is an interactive digital animation of vertical black and white bars on a brilliant yellow luminous field. It is modest, yet, mesmerizing illustration of animated art that began as painting. Click the fuzzy cursor on the right bar and patterns break up and begin to dance. The trick is to negotiate the maze of moving particles to find the right bar to click to create a new sequence! KInesin # 1-4 are large digital prints of ‘a screen-printing process’. Paint instead of photographic opaque medium is applied to acetate to create layers of colour, in this case for digital photographs as opposed to conventional photo-stencils. Morrow spent ten years in the ‘top end’ teaching screen-printing to notable indigenous artists such as England Bangalla from Cadel River, Kitty Kantila of the Tiwi Islands, and the Queenie MacKenzie late of Turkey Creek.

Linking all of the works in the exhibition is the use of schema. Schema are organizational and conceptual patterns of the mind and provide opportunities for experimentation and conceptualization during the creative process. E. H. Gombrich said ‘Without some starting point, some initial schema we could never get hold of the flux of experience, Without categories we could not sort out our impressions…it matters little what these first impressions are. We can always adjust them according to need. Indeterminate factors enter into the schema influencing the outcome of the work, such as the choice of material (whether it be aluminium, bubble gum, or silk), the mixing of genres (such as digital media and printmaking, painting and crocheting, sculpture and performance) and the freedom to expand and express individual thought within a cultural discourse that allows artists to do so. Variations of a kind that explain the making and breaking of pattern as an important psychological characteristic of contemporary visual art practice.
© Dr. Judith Duquemin 2007

 

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The Fragility of Goodness

Connie Dietchold Gallery 2004

Lucky Country
curated by Ron & George Adams
Hazelhurst Regional Gallery, Sydney
2006-2007

 


Standing in the Shoes of the Other the Quiet Ethics of the Eternal Body
knitted baby wool, hessian, felt, carpet underlay
2004


The Fragility of Goodness
knitted baby wool
3 x 4 meters
2003

 

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