to whom it may concern: the written word in contemporary art
15.07.09 to 01.08.09
Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries
Del Kathryn Barton
This exhibition showcases eight artists from diverse backgrounds that have used words as written and graphic representations, confessions, essays and stories to express ideas about contemporary life. The works range in medium from neon, ink, paint, pen, photography and video.
Featured in the exhibition are:
Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries, a Korean based collaborative utilise text in a digital format that uses Flash Media player. Their works rely on sequencing, programming, graphics, banners and soundtracks that humanise their very basic ‘e-poetry’ technique or web based short hand if you like – reminiscent of the ‘concrete poets’ or the ‘free verse’ of the Futurists. These works make comments regarding the speed and method by which we communicate in contemporary society. Their work has been exhibited widely on the iternational museum circuit including commissions by the TATE Modern, Pompidou Centre and MOMA, New York.
Del Kathryn Barton has often used text in her work, not only as a stream of consciousness but also as a purely pictorial construct. Her organic and feminine technique using ink, watercolour and gouache celebrates the decorative and furtile associations of the male gentalia.
Lily Hibberd’s suite of 16 framed images and text panels present ideas, text and imagery from Lily’s recent research project and exhibition, Bordertown. Bordertown was centred on the social circumstances of the inhabitants who reside in a small fictional Australian community that straddles the border of two states. This fictional town has an intersecting wall dividing it into two territories, North and South. Issues of social partition, conflict and border construction are referenced through personal stories.
Locust Jones’ enigmatic scrawlings were the result of 12 hours of writing over 8 days in response to a documentary by the controversial journalist John Pilger. The drawing became a treatise on the involvement of various high profile, and sometimes disparate corporations in the US military machine. This work was created around the time George W. Bush was launching the US campaign in the Middle East. Eventually the ability to comprehend or read the work becomes impossible as the words condense, trail off, are erased, enlarge and decrease in size. What remains is the pulsating and organic hand of the artist with all his intense and obsessive scribblings.
Nell’s two canvases, work on paper and meditation cushion (with text stitched on the underside) rely heavily on meditative spiritual word thoughts. The gouache on paper, ‘books of the Old Testament’ lists just that, the various books or chapters of the old testament – an early memory of the artist having to sing a repetitive verse song at Sunday school. Nell’s hopes and aspirations for peace, love and harmony are conveyed in her work through text.
Elizabeth Newman’s work playfully analyses the status and position of the artist in society, making direct comment regarding negative institutional influence.
Derek O’Connor’s digital prints, derived from the original cut and paste collages, aim to deconstruct established meanings found in printed matter. Old exhibition catalogues and magazine covers have been synthesised into new compositions with paint and the superimposition of additional printed material. The Art Forum covers make specific comment on the shift in art writing in the 70s from a poetic genre to text with a left wing inclination.
Sanja Pahoki has three works in the exhibition: two DVD based works and a neon light. These three works centre around language – its intended and unintended effects and their pronunciation in a light hearted manner. Her neon work is titled ‘the answer to all my problems’ and forms the words Meditation & Exercise in lurid white.