22 Aug - 8 Sep 2018
Opening Night | Thursday 23 Aug, 6pm–8pm
Curated by Brigid Hansen + Zoë Bastin
Anna Horne, Archie Barry, Holly Bates, Isabella Hone-Saunders, Lou Fourie, Zoë Bastin
Presence looks at the ways in which the presence of the body is signified and materially understood through discussions of autonomy, the digital body, queer embodied experience and fetishisation.
Focusing on sculptural forms and non-literal depictions of body, the project engages artists from marginalised perspectives as central to inform its discussion. Presence challenges the heteronormative gaze's relationship with body through asserting the power of a queer gaze and approach to artistic practice.
Digital, sensual, abject, algorithmic and performative, ‘Presence’ asks how a body is made manifest in material. We bring together 6 artists with diverse practices across sculpture, video and performance to examine their understandings of body, beyond and in relation to, physical bodies.
How do we understand a body’s presence? In Anna Horne and Zoë Bastin’s work, we see the body as tactile and segmented; a working entity paused in gesture, abstracted, divided and amalgamated. Horne’s group of sculptures use cast metal, concrete and plaster to evoke visceral qualities of skin, blood and bone. In Bastin’s pyramid-like works, reverse casts of finger imprints on wax, plaster and plasticine are seen in shades of grey, green, blue, white and yellow.
Fantasy bodies are explored in Holly Bates’ large-scale black PVC sculptural works. Stuffed with both rough-textured and soft hay visible from the exterior, Bates uses the tessellating, cradle-like and queer innuendo of the starfish to enact a felt intimate and personal experience. Pleather and shower curtain rings - forms with which bodies wear and view unclothed - come together in a coy display of sexual identity, queer fetishism and desire.
Archie Barry and Isabella Hone-Saunders both explore the feeling of seeing and being seen in a body. Where Hone-Saunders speaks about transforming the body under someone else’s instruction through militant structure, Barry, in their simultaneous evasion of and enforcement of the gaze, resists the human desire for eye contact. Representing a body whose gaze is autonomously intermittent to an audience, Barry’s ‘Shutter Utter’ is particularly poignant within the context of transgender bodily experience where there is a hyper-aware sense of others’ gazes onto the self. Hone-Saunders considers the autonomy of body under socio-cultural structures of strength, fitness and beauty in creating a gym installation in the gallery. Described by the artist as sitting between body-building and body-language, the work documents a self-regimented period of fitness-obsession using an outdated instructional text. Barry and Hone-Saunders work to reconsider the normative constraints of gesture and the physical limitations of the body.
Furthering exploration of digital queer bodies, Lou Fourie’s installation uses the binary constraints of algorithm as an analogy for the normalisation of gender diverse bodies. Using two suspended, divided speakers encountered as a spatial portal, the installation is derived from a computer program designed by the artist. Creating sentences from collected words referring to bodies from diverse sources from self-care articles to queer theory, the work is limitless in its length as different combinations of poetic phrases are generated infinitely. Though timed for this iteration of its presentation, these randomly generated sentences create a post-human guided meditation embodied by the artist’s voice, exploring the potentials and limitations of language around body and proposing a continual self-becoming.
We, the curators, would like to acknowledge that this exhibition takes place on stolen Wurundjeri land and that indigenous sovereignty was never ceded.
Brigid Hansen and Zoë Bastin, August 2018.
Archie Barry is an interdisciplinary artist based in Melbourne, Australia. Their work embeds language (spoken, sung or written) into gestures, serving to de-form and re-form words as embodied experiences. This creates moments of corporeal intensity often arising as self-portraiture. Through curating ontological spaces between what is and what can be, Barry’s work aims towards envisaging alternate possibilities for ever-evolving architectures of personhood.
Zoë Bastin is an artist and curator who works in-between sculpture and dance creating choreography, objects, videos, photos and performances. Exploring the materiality of bodies and objects, her practice re-imagines her body and its connection to spatial, material and social contexts. Sculpture approximates the body through material while dance re-creates experiences using the body itself. Currently undertaking her PHD at RMIT University, Bastin researches the ontology of the body and objects as becomings. Her upcoming projects include ‘That which was once familiar’ a long term choreography project, Body Politics at Bus Projects and a solo exhibition at C3 Art Space.
Holly Bates is a Brisbane-based artist, working individually and as one half of the collaboration Parallel Park with artist Tayla Haggarty. Working across sculpture, installation, performance and video, her practice currently seeks to challenge pre-conceived notions of sexuality depicted by patriarchal culture. Using humour, play and feminist approaches to art making, the practice explores personal narratives that are formed by the artist’s position as a queer feminist, and reflect on body insecurities, sexual fantasies, pleasure, relationships and social stigmas.
Lou Fourie pursues the notion of life as art, focusing on personal experience and relational activities of the everyday. Artistic investigations include performative interactions through media and technology, experimenting with entanglements that blur the boundaries between self and other, human and non-human, and subtly queering normative ideals perpetuated in popular media, material culture and technological structures.
Brigid Hansen is a Melbourne-based writer, curator and artist with an interest in humour, queer bodies and pop culture. She has contributed to publications as Art+Australia, .un Extended and Island Island and worked with BLINDSIDE, True Estate, Campbell Arcade, La Trobe Art Institute and Town Hall Gallery.
Isabella Hone-Saunders is currently practicing as a curator and artist in Narrm (Melbourne). Her curatorial practice is concerned with accessibility, representation and shared social responsibility, while examining with criticality, the inclusivity of public art spaces. Hone-Saunders’ artistic practice utilises movement. With the use of video as preferred medium, centering her body as a focal figure, she aims to explore ideas of body idealisation, identity and gender representation.
Anna Horne is a SA artist exploring materiality, process, and the transience of the physical world through the field of sculpture. Horne’s work references the domestic and architectural space by utilising both industrial and commonplace materials. Through a studio regime of experimentation and play, Horne re-examines the order of functional materials within the context of contemporary sculpture. She employs methods of casting and assemblage using common materials like concrete and metal with found items such as beach balls and wine sacks to create sculptures exploring tension and balance. Through the forces and oppositions in Horne’s art practice, she produces sculptures contending between light and heavy, soft and hard, familiar and strange. Horne currently lives and works in Adelaide from Switchboard Studios.
IMAGES | ARCHIE BARRY, Shutter Utter, 2018, single channel video, 66:00sec. | ZOË BASTIN, That which was one familiar (unknowing), 2018, (Hanging Sculptures), Plasticine, wax, plaster, clay, foam, steel. Dimensions variable | ISABELLA HONE-SAUNDERS, Untitled, 2018, two-channel video, dimensions variable | HOLLY BATES, Whiplash, 2016, Sculptural Installation (detail). Photo by LIewellyn Millhouse | ANNA HORNE, A Balancing Act (installation shot), 2017, concrete, copper, aluminium, various. Photo Grant Hancock | LOU FOURIE, LouFou2.0, 2017, digital text correspondence, dimensions variable | Courtesy the artists.