10
Dec
11

Exhibition: ‘Lionel Bawden: Pattern spill’ at Karen Woodbury Gallery, Richmond

Exhibition dates: 23rd November – 17th December 2011

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In the self contained world of commercial “art to go” galleries, this exhibition is the apotheosis of that form. The work is astonishly beautiful, refined and self contained. Drawing on references to Islamic art, Brancusi (Endless Column), stalactites, wafting sea sponges and the changeable camouflage patterns of sea creatures, the sculptures are perfect in visualisation, creation, contemplation and containment.

Sitting on coloured perspex shelves the patterns spills of coloured Staedtler pencils explore “themes of flux, transformation and repetition as preconditions to our experience of the physical world.” The titles of the work hint at such an exploration: Double VisionTrance-muterSecretionLosing Containment, Pattern Spill.

How I wish, long, crave to own one and I am not alone: on the opening night nearly all the sculptures were already sold! Obviously people recognise the uniqueness and beauty of this work.

And yet …

.
Part of               me

.           longs
.                                  for    a
 .     broken
pencil,
.                         a
snapped           t/wig,
.                                  something
.                                           out of place
that puts
.                                pattern to
.                    shame.

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For only in mutation is pattern given relevance (and this is what the irregularity of ‘spill’ is supposed to be about). The flow of the Pattern Spill sculptures are the only ones that get close to this mutation and that in a pretty, ordered way.

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“What happens in the case of mutation? Consider the example of the genetic code. Mutation normally occurs when some random event (for example, a burst of radiation or a coding error) disrupts an existing pattern and something else is put in its place instead. Although mutation disrupts pattern, it also presupposes a morphological standard against which it can be measured and understood as mutation … Mutation is critical because it names the bifurcation point at which the interplay between pattern and randomness causes the system to evolve in a new direction…

The randomness to which mutation testifies is implicit in the very idea of pattern, for only against the background of nonpattern can pattern emerge. Randomness is the contrasting term that allows pattern to be understood as such.”1

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Instead of pattern “something else is put in its place instead.” I don’t get that here. Yes, these are beautiful, contemplative sculptures but one wonders how they will go on revealing themselves over months and years. I yearn for the prick of their imperfection.

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Many thankx to Karen Woodbury Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

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Lionel Bawden
Double Vision
2011
coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
form: 23.0 x 26.0 x 7.0 cm
shelf: 7.5 x 30.0 x 30.0 cm

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Lionel Bawden
Trance-muter
2011
coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
form: 32.0 x 26.0 x 7.5 cm
shelf: 7.5 x 30.0 x 30.0 cm

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Lionel Bawden
Secretion
2011
coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
form: 31.0 x 25.0 x 17.0 cm
shelf: 7.5 x 45.0 x 30.0 cm

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.

Lionel Bawden
Losing Containment
2011
coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
form 1: 31.5 x 24.0 x 12.0 cm
form 2: 33.5 x 33.0 x 26.0 cm
shelf: 15.0 x 120.0 x 30.0 cm

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“Lionel Bawden’s exhibition Pattern Spill will comprise of a range of small-scale objects created from vibrantly coloured pencils that are fused and sculpted together. By working with hexagonal coloured pencils as a sculptural material, Bawden is able to reconfigure and carve a range of amorphous shapes that convey movement and process. Bawden explores themes of flux, transformation and repetition as preconditions to our experience of the physical world.

This new body of work deals with ideas of control and collapse, surface and interior and organic patterns and energies through static three-dimensional objects. Bawden’s sculptures explore larger ideas beyond the work and relate to societal and natural systems, cycles and structures. Through his work, Bawden communicates macro ideas through micro detail. The works in Pattern spill become vessels for contemplation.

Alongside the sculptures there will also be a range of small meticulous drawings of vast hexagonal cells included in the exhibition. These drawings will act as companions to the sculptures, assisting to convey Bawden’s oblique explorations and meditations of the human condition.”

Text from the Karen Woodbury Gallery website

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Lionel Bawden
Pattern Spill
2011
coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
form:30.0 x 23.5 x 33.0 cm
shelf: 15.0 x 30.0 x 30.0 cm

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Lionel Bawden
Patttern Spill III
2011
coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
form: 31.0 x 23.0 x 34.0 cm
shelf: 15.0 x 30.0 x 30.0 cm

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Lionel Bawden
Secretion III
2011
coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
form: 35.0 x 26.5 x 15.0 cm
shelf: 15.0 x 30.0 x 30.0 cm

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Lionel Bawden
Elevation
2011
coloured Staedtler pencils, epoxy, incralac on perspex shelf
form: 42.5 x 15.0 x 7.0 cm
shelf: 7.5 x 30.0 x 30.0 cm

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1. Hayles, Katherine. How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics.
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999, pp.30-33.

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Karen Woodbury Gallery
4, Albert Street
Richmond, Vic 3121

Opening hours: Wed – Sat 11-5pm

Karen Woodbury Gallery website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes the Art Blart blog which reviews exhibitions in Melbourne, Australia and posts exhibitions from around the world. He has a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne and is currently studying a Master of Art Curatorship at The University of Melbourne.

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