Posts Tagged ‘Stretched skin

31
May
11

Review: ‘Penelope Davis: Smack’ at Nellie Castan Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 12th May – 11th June 2011

 

Penelope Davis. 'Smack' installation 2011

 

Penelope Davis (Australian, b. 1963)
Smack installation
2011
Silicone
Dimensions variable

 

 

A beautiful, hypnotic installation; one outstanding photograph (out of four); and a distance between elements, installation and photographs that, in the gallery space, seemed almost insurmountable.

The installation is intoxicating, taking the viewer into a world outside of reality – inverted, convoluted creatures “after the things of nature” (me ta physika) – in this case mobile phones, camera lenses and electrical plugs and leads, the skin of these objects flayed, extruded and made in silicone. These filamentary ‘jellies’ are wondrous. As Susan Fereday observes they are like detached skin, which “can become a kind of negative, a reversed memory, a perverse relic of its previously animated form … Detached, distraught, dangling. But there is also something slippery in these forms, something visceral, uterine, umbilical …”. The installation reminded me of the chthonian nature of the womb, our birth and that first gasp of breath – do you remember? was it all that you ever needed?

Water, blood, the detritus of birth and the emergence of life into light. Floating, gliding to the surface.

Only one photograph, Fluther (2011, below), approaches this detachment. A beauty it is too. The other three photographs felt more like addendum than adding anything further to the work and failed to achieve a ‘presence’ when compared to the installation. I suspect one of the problems was the scale of the three photographs and the fact that they are so tightly framed. Evidence of this can be seen in the installation shot below, the photograph of the blue ‘jellie’ so tightly prescribed and enclosed so as to not allow any interaction between installation and photograph. Perhaps making the photographs slightly larger and face mounting them behind PlexiGlass would have softened the edges of the photographs allowing a malleable (meta)physical air to breathe across the gallery space.

The highlight is the installation. Go and see, it is well worth the visit.

Dr Marcus Bunyan

.
Many thankx to Nellie Castan Gallery for allowing me to publish the text and the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image. All photographs courtesy and © the artist and Nellie Castan Gallery.

 

Penelope Davis. 'Smack' installation 2011

 

Penelope Davis (Australian, b. 1963)
Smack installation
2011
Silicone
Dimensions variable

 

 

Stretched Skin

“Where my inside meets the outside, where my body’s surfaces curve or stretch, dimple or fold, they create sensory cavities that are designed to respond to the outside world, at least to some degree. More difficult to resolve is the place that’s made when my inside turns out and there and no pickets to hide the private things – things I don’t want to look at myself, things too fleshy for the world to see, too soft, raw and pink to be exposed. Bringing the inside out, I am turned outside in and where does that leave me? In the edgeless space of the everyday saturated by grief.

Penelope Davis’ ‘jellies’ make me think about how a person’s skin can record their body’s history through marks – scars, distentions, swellings, bruises and wrinkles – just as a photograph can record a body’s outward appearance through light. We could say that skin is an index to its experiences, but it is not iconic. Skin does not reproduce the body’s image the way a photograph does, unless the skin is lifted to make a new shape. Then, just as hot wind can suck the life out of a fallen leaf and turn its veins into a street map, or sun and sea can batter a plastic bottle into a miraculous Marian figurine, detached skin can become a kind of negative, a reversed memory, a perverse relic of its previously animated form.

That’s what the ‘jellies’ look like: skin, turned inside out, photographic skin turned outside in. Detached, distraught, dangling. But there is also something slippery in these forms, something visceral, uterine, umbilical …”

Except from pamphlet text by artist and writer Susan Fereday, March 2011

 

Penelope Davis. 'Fluther' 2011

 

Penelope Davis (Australian, b. 1963)
Fluther
2011
Type C photograph
120 x 100 cm

 

 

In Smack, Penelope Davis’ latest body of work, jellyfish-like forms have been assembled from a collage of components. These elements include the detritus of contemporary technologies. Among these are cameras, computer parts, mobile phones, wiring and electrical parts. Organic source materials such as leaves and seaweed (many sourced from the community garden plots surrounding Davis’ studio) are cast and intermixed with these forms. After being cast in silicone, the works are sewn together to create forms that resemble jellyfish. The resulting swarm – or smack, as the collective noun is properly known – is displayed as an installation of semi transparent, suspended forms.

A selection of these ‘jellies’ have also been placed in the digital scanner and ‘photographed’. Some digital post-production work is also employed to create large scale photographic images.

The materials and techniques used allow Penelope Davis to play with some of the procedures and assumptions central to photographic practice. The central motif of the jellyfish is a vehicle to examine critical contemporary issues of consumption and environmental degradation.

Text from the Nellie Castan website [Online] Cited 28/05/2011 no longer available online

 

 

Nellie Castan Gallery

This gallery has now closed

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07
Aug
10

Exhibition: ‘Present Tense: An Imagined Grammar of Portraiture in the New Media Age’ at the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra

Exhibition dates: 22nd May – 22nd August 2010

 

Many thankx to David Edghill and the National Portrait Gallery for allowing me to publish the photographs in the posting. Please click on the photographs for a larger version of the image.

 

 

Karen Sander. 'Herve Blechy 1:5' 2008

 

Karen Sander
Herve Blechy 1:5
2008
3D Bodyscans of the living person (3D coordinates and colour texture), MPT (Minitaturised Projection Technology), rapid prototyping, 3D Inkjet printer, plaster material, pigment
Courtesy of the artist, Berlin, and Galerie Nachst St. Stephan, Vienna, and Galerie Helga de Alvear, Madrid.

 

Osang Gwon. 'Metabo' 2009

 

Osang Gwon (Korean, b. 1974)
Metabo
2009
C-prints, mixed media
130.0 x 80.0 x 105.0 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Arario Gallery, Seoul

 

Robert Lazzarin. 'Skull' 2000

 

Robert Lazzarini (American, b. 1965)
Skull
2000
resin, bone, pigment
35.0 x 8.0 x 20.0 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Deitch Projects

 

 

Present Tense: An Imagined Grammar of Portraiture in the New Media Age is the principal exhibition in the National Portrait Gallery’s 2010 exhibition calendar. It will be displayed from 22 May to 22 August 2010. We are entering an exceptional time for portraiture and visual culture in general as the art world embraces the digital age. Traditional portraiture is responding to the application of new technologies and this imaging process is reshaping our interpretation and reading of the face.

Present Tense considers the alliance between portraiture and technology, showing how different ways of imaging in this contemporary, digital world reflect the way an individual is perceived and the various mechanisms of imaging that are used to manipulate that perception. The exhibition is comprised of works by Australian and international artists’ and includes examples of the informal and immediate images made on mobile phones, images recorded with sonograms that reveal faces that cannot be seen by the unaided eye, 2D and 3D portraits generated exclusively from binary code, as well as the more expected streaming digital works and manipulated photographs.

‘Some of the images in Present Tense are confronting and some are positively endearing’, said exhibition Curator Michael Desmond. ‘The exhibition surveys the possibilities of portraiture today, with the premise that the inhabitants’ of our digital society are pictured in a technological mirror’.

The use of digital technologies by artists is increasing, providing affordable alternatives to traditional media and offering a new tool set and the possibility of a new aesthetic. This is not to suggest that older media has been abandoned, or is associated only with conservative practice, rather that artists’ have greater choice in the materials that they use and the style that they wish to engage with. Chuck Close is one of artists’ in the exhibition who ignores the rising tide of digital imaging processes to favour old technology, creating powerful images with the archaic daguerreotype technique. Other artists’ in Present Tense include: Loretta Lux, Patrick Pound, Stelarc, Jonathon Nichols, Petrina Hicks, Ghostpatrol, Patricia Piccinini and more.

‘At one time, oil on canvas or bronze was the medium for portraits. The medium now is technology. In an inversion of one of Modernism’s classic aphorisms, digital technology allows function to follow form; the function of the portrait – to illustrate an individual’s character and physiognomy – is established by the stamp of the technology that created it’, said Michael Desmond.”

Press release from the National Portrait Gallery website [Online] Cited 06/08/2010

 

Chuck Close. 'Self portrait daguerreotype' 2000

 

Chuck Close (American, b. 1940)
Self portrait daguerreotype
2000
16.5 x 21.6 cm each
Courtesy of Pace/MacGill Gallery, New York

 

Patricia Piccinini. 'Psychogeography' 1996

 

Patricia Piccinini (Australian, b. 1965)
Psychogeography
1996
From the series Psycho
type C colour photograph
120.0 x 247.0 cm
Courtesy of the Parliament House Art Collection, Department of Parliamentary Services, Canberra

 

Stelarc. 'Stretched skin' 2009

 

Stelarc (Australian, born Cyprus 1946)
Stretched skin
2009
type C photograph
120.0 x 180.0 cm
Courtesy of the artist and Scott Livesey Galleries

 

 

National Portrait Gallery
King Edward Terrace
Parkes, Canberra

Opening hours:
Open daily 10 am to 5 pm

National Portrait Gallery website

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Dr Marcus Bunyan

Dr Marcus Bunyan is an Australian artist and writer. His art work explores the boundaries of identity and place. He writes Art Blart, a photographic archive and form of cultural memory, which posts mainly photography exhibitions from around the world. He holds a Dr of Philosophy from RMIT University, Melbourne, a Master of Arts (Fine Art Photography) from RMIT University, and a Master of Art Curatorship from the University of Melbourne.

Marcus Bunyan black and white archive: ‘Dogs, chickens, cattle’ 1994-95

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