Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Underfoot Overhead- Now Showing in the Project Space

Five Australian makers have come together in Object Gallery's Project Space to showcase work that is evocative, unexpected and yet familiar. Each artist embraces the opposing forces inherent in the natural world - of degradation and transformation; healing and death; sublime beauty and harsh reality. These makers inhabit a strange space...

Michelle Kelly's striking installation Basidiomycota, 2007-2011 engages us in the regularly overlooked 'Fifth Kingdom' of fungi. By magnifying these forms the artist gives us a rare and intimate experience of the organisms that contribute so significantly yet thanklessly to the working order of the earth. This photo is just a peek at the work that really does need to be seen in its entirety, occupying the gallery wall. As Kelly's practice centres around architectural works both for space and also for the body, to coincide with this exhibition Collect has brought in a range of Michelle Kelly's gloriously crafted, organic jewellery for a limited time- definately not to be missed!

Repulsed? Beguiled? Indeed I Follow Ewe, 2011 by Juz Kitson will arrest you at once. A curious assemblage of viscera meets science fiction, where an alternate nature is presented. By collecting and borrowing from nature, these extraordinary and evocative pieces have been born and delicately placed out of context-the array of manipulated skulls, bones and vertebrae once decayed and lifeless are given a new chance and a new history. At first glance Still Life: The Food Bowl by Ken & Julia Yonetani appears to be no more than a pure appropriation of the still life genre. Of course upon deeper contact we discover that this traditional display has been superbly crafted entirely from Australian groundwater salt and this realisation elevates the work to a whole new level. By using the salt, a noxious agricultural by-product, along with drawing on the still life genre, the artists are commenting on the current agricultural practices developed to bring new food produce to the table of a rising European bourgeois class. In fact 550, 000 tonnes of groundwater salt are pumped out of the Murray Darling basin alone each year.... Wow! Now we see the themes of consumption, luxury, vanity and mortality emerge...tres chic!

Natalia Milosz-Piekarska's whimsical wearable pieces celebrate the 'spirit' within objects. The fantasmagorical series Immortal Morsels explores the mysterious world of food and its uses as a medium for worship, healing and protection. The artist uses a veritable apothecary of materials to create this collection of weird and wonderful charms and artefacts. Wacky and delicious all at once!

Emily Valentine-Bullock's work prompts us to consider how we classify animals - as pet or pest? In Mynah Squardron, 2011 the artist uses feathers as paint to create a colony of aeroplanes that stimulate us with the uncomfortable nature of the feather. Have we perhaps changed our contemporary view towards wearing bird parts because of fashion? Or are we more caring towards animals today? These are the questions that this body of work begs us to consider.

Curated by Kate Ford Underfoot Overhead is showing until 19th June along with Annual Manual: A Guide to Australian Design Now in the Main Space

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