SITE EIGHT / 4 to 12 August 2016
Each year the School of Art awards a number of Honours Travelling Grants to students with the aim of supporting Honours graduates who demonstrate outstanding levels of art practice and academic achievement. Three to four selected graduates are assisted each year through the provision of a grant awarded to undertake overseas travel for the purposes of research. And the awardees are also invited to present new work in a group exhibition in the School of Art Gallery during the year that follows the awarding of their grants.
Each year the School of Art provides individual Travel Grants to four graduates from the Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) Honours Program with the aim of supporting Honours graduates who demonstrate outstanding levels of art practice and academic achievement.
The selected graduates are assisted each year through the provision of our awards to undertake overseas travel for the purposes of research in the field of art. These emerging artists are then invited to present new work in the School of Art Gallery during the year following the awarding of their grants.
Therefore this year the School is pleased to present new work from our 2015 grant holders, Freÿa Black, Jessica Curry, Naoko Inuzuka and Tom Sullivan.
Freÿa and Naoko are both graduates from the Object based Practice Studio, Jessica from the Print Imaging Practice Studio and Tom from the Sound Art Studio.
In her writing Anna Gibbs suggests that ‘affects’ constitute a level of experience that cannot be translated into words without becoming some form of brutality in relation to the idea of a ‘felt’ experience1. The concessions to language afforded to poststructuralism have tended to filter out our recognition of our pre-formed awarenesses, which are considered to be more rudimentary to thought, even though pre-cognition may seem more real than composed or ideated forms of linguistic cognizance.
Freÿa Black’s work, Passing Place: The threshold of edges was formed through her experiences of a constant and continual alteration of forces and the gradual process that occurs between ‘things’ in transition. Developed during her time travelling throughout the islands of the Outer Hebrides in Scotland, Freÿa’s work evokes thoughts of something “becoming less of one thing and more of another”2, where everything exists within an unending state of flux. Seemingly outside of tangible and conscious thought, Freÿa’s work implies the affect of time ‘felt’ through self and experience.
“This work, this collection of land, sky and seascapes is a transitory flight through an environment of edges, of beginnings and ends, unfathomable timelessness, where forces of energy, both tranquil and turbulent, approach and entangle with one another.”3
Through the use of found materials Tom Sullivan's work investigates constructed sonic environments and sound objects in an effort to examine musical experiences and instrumentation, and to discover the acoustic and mechanical potential of various materials.
Tom’s installation Dual environments is formed through multiple natural elements and constructed forms loosely tied together, intended to be reminiscent of the sparseness of memory and free association, where fragmentary recollections recall a sense of the ‘whole’. Dual environments considers affect through social and cultural terms forming a memorial reconstruction of experience, shaped through suggestions of continual flux and modification.
“On my recent trip to Yogyakarta the resistance between the natural and human worlds was made clear by two aspects. First is the omnipresence of bamboo, as both a dynamic human resource and a naturally occurring material. And secondly the entropy of forgotten and unmaintained structures which are re-consumed and deconstructed by the natural environment.”4
Dual environments examines cross-sections between naturally occurring affects and human constructed environments, and the enduring struggle of this through change within time.
Also considering the affects of time, Naoko Inuzuka in her work Becoming Locals deliberates on the notion of ‘home’ and belonging, through ideas of diasporic communities over successive generations. Naoko’s work was formed as a result of a research trip to Hawaii in order to engage with the Japanese diaspora, but equally reflects on ideas of cosmopolitanism, the ideology that all of us essentially belong to a single community. Becoming Locals forms through ideas of re-location as a contemporary phenomenon, examining mobility and cultural hybridism.
“Multiculturalism is an older 20th Century term. In visiting Hawaii with its indigenous people, immigrants historically from Asia and Portugal, and contemporaneously as part of the US, it seems clear that people in the Japanese diaspora aren’t concerned with the question of where they belong. Rather, I felt that there is more of a sense of ‘un-belonging’, where people have chosen to become ‘local’.“5
Framed by an interest in the way that consumption practices within Capitalism articulate a disappointing demand for an ideal that is absent, Jessica Curry’s work is part of an ongoing investigation into desire and consumerist culture. Jessica examines desire as both constructed and instructed, considering our experiences of the material and immaterial, the real and ideal and the fetishized treatment of objects.
In her work It’s Because We Care I & II, Jessica has examined the transitive nature of objects in relation to consumption practices. Jean Baudrillard writes, that to become an object of consumption, an object must first become a sign … [deriving] … its consistency, and hence it’s meaning, from an abstract and systematic relationship to all other sign-objects6. These ideas informed the object/material choices for this work, where ‘fashion bags’ (protective bags retailers use when shipping products) are re-contextualized and externalized in an installation that attempts to reveal the process through which an object becomes a sign-object for consumption. Jessica’s ‘fashion bags’ are objects presented to evoke photography employed for the purposes of forming consumer sign-objects. As these works are not photographs, but rather the objects themselves formed to mimic the photograph, remaining as objects, they imply a type of continuous circle from object to image, to object.
Therefore, entering into a perpetual loop, sign-objects only ever reiterate lack, in turn creating the need for further objectual engagement. Baudrillard notes that ‘consumption is irrepressible…because it is founded upon a lack’7. Ironically the name of the display shelf used to present other components of Jessica’s installation is ‘LACK’.
This exhibition enables us to see various artistic gestures that through their sensuality and material-ness are ‘of the world’, but as art forms in the very best sense set themselves apart to form something equivalent, critical or reflective in order to provide various accounts of a contemporaneity where ‘… the ultimate aim of art is perhaps what was formerly celebrated under the term of incarnation. I mean by that a wish to make us feel, through the abstractions, the forms, … the sensations, a real experience’8.
Peter Westwood, 2016
Coordinator, Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) Honours Program
1. Cronan, T., Affect Theory Reader, Issue 172 (March/April edition), 2012, pp 51-53.
2. Black, F., RMIT University, 2016.
4. Sullivan, T., RMIT University, 2016.
5. Inuzuka, N., RMIT University, 2016.
6. Baudrillard, J., The System of Objects, Trans. J Benedict, Verso, London, 2005.
8. Bann, S., Three Images for Kristeva, ‘From Bellini to Proust’. Parallax 8 (autumn) 1998, pp 65–79.