‘Fresh’, Craft, Dec 2012

The art-school grad exhibitions are a smorgasbord of artistic talents and it’s no easy feat to sweep through and make a selection of just a handful of the standout work. But that’s exactly what a few devoted organisations do, seeking out the artists with potential, and offering opportunities to not only reshow their work but to also provide mentoring advice and valuable industry insight. Craft Victoria is one such organisation and this year’s selections are presented under the annually produced Fresh moniker. Artist profiles are offered and a greater focus on promotion of the artists is evident this time round, connecting the artists with further exhibition opportunities and media coverage, both present and future (in the way of magazine articles to be published next year).

Guy Pascoe

Guy Pascoe, farm

I was struck by the quality of production in the works – which goes hand in glove with the context of the venue – after all, this is at Craft Victoria. The show was curated with an even-handed approach, allowing for each work to stand on its own and for any connectivity between works to be an organic relationship rather than a thematic application.

The dark reflective pool of Guy Pascoe’s farm was like a thickened vortex, coaxing eyeballs into its glossy, viscous richness. Upturned concrete lumps, part rock / part infrastructural bi-product, sat heavily like misplaced markers in a mechanic’s zen garden. Inside the rocks are polygon casts of what seem to be inverted architectural interiors. Enigmatic and captivating, the work sat heavily and with intent in the space.

Klara Fletcher has drawn a chair in the air with steel and copper, and fashioned a bench that welcomed me more like a soothing coffin. Lovely use of materials and the special attention to the way the feet of each piece touched with the floor was, well, touching. Copper pipes for the chair, bronze wedge props for the bench. This drew attention to the connectivity with the floor, was a nice … um … touch, and had the effect of universalising the forms, as if they were free to float about, only alighting on the physical plane when the occasion called for it.

Also evocative of Platonic ideal forms was the selection of retro-futuristic sculptures by Brodie Wood. Like prototypes for technological icons never realised, they imbued equal loads of unfulfilled optimism and nostalgia. Complete with buttons and knobs that couldn’t apparently activate anything in actuality, their very shapes elicited a desire to touch and to hold, mildly anthropomorphic as if wooden toy versions of robotic teddy-bears.

At the far end of the exhibition a sequentially colour-coded selection of collected rocks lined two of the walls in the smaller space. Katie Britchford has chosen heart-shaped stones made of granite, gems, concrete, marble, jade and an eye-popping array of assorted mineral-based materials. There’s a pleasurable oscillation between the material (the interest in the assortments, and in the individual nature of each specific type) and the form (the heart-shape). The material reminding us of the vastness of time and the churning variety of earth’s (universe’s) constant creativity while the hearts remind us of our fundamental human life-force and the desire for love and connection.

A great show and a great sign of things to come.

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