BACK GALLERY: STEPHEN ARMITSTEAD (WA) - DESCENDANT AND FALSE DOOR
Opening - 5:30 PM - Wednesday, 5th July
Artist Talks - 6:00pm
Running - 5th - 22nd July 2017
Continuing an art practice for over 20 years, I work with experimental installation, video, photo-media, architecture, objects, interactive elements, and sound. My work concentrates on playful interrogation of process and unconventional use of materials. Aesthetically post minimalist, my work is conceptually tied to a metaphysical resonance of object, space and action. In my practice, inspiration comes from lived experiences, observations of society, and recollections of domestic life.
Like much of my work, Descendant and False Door explore time, matter and changes of state. They are curios interventions, broadly concerned with political posturing or reflections on art. They are about intentions and how these may change or are changed over time; through circumstance or environment.
Descendant is comprised of 4 floating (at exhibition opening) white balloons that translate, via single track audio, first speeches by South Australian senators and members of the 45th Australian Parliament. Trapped by the ceiling these vessels, over the days of the exhibition, will gradually descend to (perhaps) find a resting place on the floor. The inflated speeches chatter and bob, get blown about by the entrances and exits of viewers, then - over the working week of 5 days -deflate and fall. The “speeches” look like anonymous mini heads which babble on and over each other. On day one they are higher than viewers and positioned as god-like. Yet they create a cacophony of words uttered without really any power to be heard. They are a tower of Babel; an indication of the disharmony which arises through inflated expression of mind and desire. A number of questions arise. Are all uttered words to be interpreted as mere noise? Where does the air go? The sounds go? What can one discern from the garble of syllables? Who is hearing? Does the open space holding the balloons aloft ever change? Dr Phillip McNamara
False Door is a perpendicular continuation of an existing door in the FeltSPACE Back Gallery. The door is made of compressed flour, a medium I have used for its practicality and its basic connections to human life.
Flour, whilst in its different guises is literally a basic food source for most of humanity, is also a symbol of spiritual food which comes down from higher planes and “giveth life” (John vi. 33). For Swedenborg “Fine flour is truth derived from good.” Dr Phillip McNamara
Over a number of years I have used flour to make temporary white versions of bricks, walls and recently as a medium to hold indents of words. The medium references the white space, but it also holds layers of connection to our society. Supporting this flour ‘bed’ is a scaffold like structure of wood stakes and ply surface. The gridded, over engineered sub-strata evokes contemplation on what holds up the False Door.