SLIME TIME / THE ONE ON ONE (WATCHING US WATCHING THEM) – MARCH 2016
ARTISTS: ANNA GORE / ELLA SOWINSKA
AUTHOR – GRETA GRAMAZIO
The first impression is an explosion of colour. Bright red, green, yellow, blue, overwhelming the psyche. But, it is incredibly uplifting, the colour incites happiness and despite a few hangovers the crowd is friendly and jovial. Initially, appearing almost crude, the shapes are messy. Yet at the same time they are perfectly formed and on closer inspection it is clear just how layered they are.
Anna Gore is a recent Honours graduate who predominantly creates paintings and installations. Ink and gauche or ink and acrylic on paper is her method of choice. Last year she took a year off to travel and essentially ‘stopped working’. That is, stopped painting, but this change of pace saw her pick up a pencil and rediscover drawing…and then more drawing. And through this drawing she developed a new love. A love for watching works come to life from an initial sketch, rather than just ‘blindly’ building an installation with no preliminary outline. As a non-representational painter, she found a freedom in the fluidity of sketching and then creating an installation.
Her current exhibition at FELTspace is entitled Slime Time. In a literal sense, the title of the show is, a reference to the tactile quality of the paint when wet. Delving deeper you find the show also addresses the idea of accumulated tendencies; how as human beings we are continually experiencing an internal shift of subtle sensations, we are in a constant state of flux. Our moods are changing, our minds expanding, our bodies repositioning. Gore communicates this through the forms in her painting, the work evokes the aeonian nature of life and does so with irregular circular, unbroken structures. The work is Gore’s reflection of the world we live in. The viewer is influenced by it, just as much as it is influenced by the viewer.
There is a lot of emotion within this show and a very prevalent biological element. The sculptures are reminiscent of DNA or vertebrae, possibly referring to a diagram of ovaries used in a sex education class. The shapes are fluid and feel almost alive, connecting seamlessly, swirling into one another and although they work beautifully as a group they could just as easily stand alone.
Exploring conscious and unconscious thought is a recurrent theme within Gore’s work, and the indefinability, multivalence and singularity of experience that abstract painting can offer is what ultimately draws her to it. She references New York critic Bob Nickas; ‘If a representational picture offers an image of how the world looks, then doesn't it fall to abstraction to provide us with an image of how the world feels?’ Her work consistently relates to this idea of the accumulation, learned behaviors, whether or not she expects it or intends it to.
In the backroom is a show titled The One on One (watching us watching them). The first performance from Melbourne based artist Ella Sowinska. On opening night one is privy to an intimate make out session between two people with Go-Pros attached to their heads. The Go-Pro footage from the performance is then looped and played on the projector for the remainder of the exhibition run. The project began with initial research (and a general fascination) with documentaries and reality television. In Sowinska’s work the camera people become part of the performance as much as the audience become part of the performance.
Initially, the performance is slightly confronting (at least to this author). It feels intrusive watching these people passionately kiss. And it should be made clear that no one is forced to watch them. It’s happening concurrently to people arriving. They are part of the space with us, and one could be forgiven for thinking they are just a couple engaging in an overtly public display of affection. But you can’t help but be drawn to them (this is no doubt aided by the fact that they are both exceedingly beautiful women). There is a linear flow of sensations that seems to occur; at first confrontation, followed by a passive sort of resignation, followed by a spike in curiosity, and then it becomes almost a comforting side note. Not dissimilar to keeping a TV on in the background when home unaccompanied in order to feel less alone. The video footage itself becomes comforting also, a hypnotic, circular view of the roof of the gallery, interspersed with fleeting shots of opening night viewers. Mimicking the sensation of watching people go about the most mundane tasks in a reality TV program.
Both works thoroughly engage the audience and both address this idea of subconscious habit and learned experiences, through the circular form the sculptures themselves take and the circular narrative of the video. Occasionally confronting and definitely thought provoking, the show is upbeat and bright, and definitely not as slimy as the title would have you believe.