A Synthetic Continuum
15 Aug - 1 Sep 2012
Opening Thu 16 August, 6-8pm
Carr’s exhibition maps our relationship with each other and the contemporary environment. These concerns are explored through visually representing the way we receive and consume information. Central to the exhibition is a distinct drawing process combined with specific installation practice. This combination of material and medium enables the work to comment on both the technocratic and visceral, therefore providing a platform to evoke notions of fluidity and relentless movement.
The Cubists could not have anticipated the widespread fragmentation of images that we now see in contemporary visual culture. The frozen screen, with its random formation of pixels, has led to post-digital interpretations of the world which bear comparison to the splintered forms of Analytic Cubism developed by Picasso and Braque in 1910. It is no surprise that contemporary artists are inclined to pick over the detritus of these unbidden remnants of technology; they provide for us the possibility of making unexpected visual connections.
Hamish Carr’s drawing practice is framed beneath a veil of such digital explosions, achieved through intricately drawn forms bunched closely together. This exhibition is dominated both visually and thematically by four large scale drawings, executed by the application of pigmented ink in small sections. Upon close viewing, the spidery forms resemble a type of cartography; small islands of colour swarm in regions which float above relative emptiness. It is only from a distance that we might discern the dense lines of tree branches reaching along the drawings.
In an earlier painting by Carr from 2007, a red landscape is painted in a way that mimics the grainy texture of lithography. The form of the tree canopy here is reduced even further to fragmented blocks of colour, resembling a type of unfinished mosaic. The blurriness of the drawings suggests the dynamism of light through the trees. The project here is not about rendering the subject matter faithfully; but about creating a sensation of the perception of light.
During a residency in Japan in 2011, Carr began to include sculptural works in conjunction with similar drawings. Here too, the practice of an expanded form of mosaic is reflected in the adjoining sculptures. As in the phenomenon of dream condensation, each of these sculptural objects appears as manifestations of the visual associations in the artist’s drawings. These sculptures are referred to by the artist as “transmitters” and whilst they may find their artistic heritage in the urban vignettes cast by Hany Armanious, they bear close connection with the processes inherent to the densely executed drawings. Based upon found or discovered constellations of objects in the real world, the works are then cast or re-configured in the studio. In one instance, a patterned concrete block balances precariously from a flickering red and blue rope. Elsewhere a small mosaic plate, based on a found architectural adornment in a shopping arcade in Melbourne, reflects the very foundation of the artist’s drawing method. And again, a blue ball dotted with densely patterned white protrusions asserts its connection with the palette and structure of the drawings. The sculptures demonstrate the ways in which artists, throughout their meanderings in the world, gravitate to particular forms which bear relevance to their practice. In many of the sculptures, we see some form of reflective light, suggesting the symbiotic relationship between these seemingly discrete objects. There is an insinuation of communication between the works.
In a way that extends the aim of Cubism to synthesise different realities and viewpoints, Hamish Carr opens the possibility for links between objects not normally connected. In doing so, we can reflect upon the way that seemingly modern configurations bear the imprint of ancient processes. In this way, Hamish Carr creates a metaphor for the life of the artist; we encounter both the studio practice, where the artist works with traditional forms of ink and paper, and the subsequent encounters in the world as a result of this practice.
Jane O’Neill, 2012
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Nicholas Building level 7 room 14
37 Swanston Street Melbourne Victoria 3000
Enter via lifts in Cathedrale Arcade corner of Flinders Lane
Open 12-6pm Tuesday to Saturday during exhibition program
BLINDSIDE is supported by the City of Melbourne.
BLINDSIDE's projects have been assisted by the Australian Government
through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory
body, and by the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy, an initiative of the
Australian, State and Territory Governments.