Monday, August 17, 2009

Alter Ego - The Other I

Alter Ego - The Other I 
13th - 25th August 2009
gaffa, Sydney, Australia

Creating work under a guise and allowing an alter ego to bask in all your glory has intrigued artists for centuries. These eight artists, designers and jewellers have taken the idea straight up, sideways, upside-down and inside out. They have all left the comfort zones of their charming everyday selves, stripped back their perceived responsibilities, and embraced a whole new world of possibilities. They now invite you to engage with their work from new and altered perspectives.

Victoria Bitter is perhaps not someone you would like to stumble across in a dark alley, but if you happened to sight her during the daylight hours you might be intrigued enough to stop and share a breakfast bourbon with her. She maybe considered a fallen woman, a witch in the ‘fairytale’ that is contemporary society, but this does not make her work any less significant. By bringing her in from the streets and into a gallery situation you start to glean an understanding of the freedom from societal constraints that she so readily enjoys.

Lisa Furno has pulled a fast one by taking a step back and holding a mirror up to her audience. Furno asks the viewer to consider the matter of their own alter ego as she presents audience members with the opportunity to select a representation of themselves from an array of over 150 collected toy figurines. In allowing the figurine to become a wearable object by way of a supplied cord and attachment, Furno takes this work to more of a performative level and is interested in documenting the moment of transformation when viewer becomes wearer.  

Alice Potter it seems has created a flawless version of herself. Phoebe Hazel Petticoat is the perfect rendering, excelling where Potter merely succeeds. While ‘perfection’ may only exist in theory, Potter uses the existence of a seemingly unblemished model as a means of exploring her own identity. By casting everyday, household objects from soap, Potter plays with the intimate and ever changing nature of the material and suggests a way in which she may wash away some of life’s little imperfections. 

Sean O’Connell has nominated his dear friend, Albert Paca as the electoral candidate for President of the Universe. And who is to disagree? Albert promises to take you by the hand and lead you down the path of undying love for all the things you know you shouldn’t, but would, if only you could. Albert is one elected official that will promise you the world and deliver it with all the chocolatey goodness you deserve. This is not the first time Albert has reared his fluffy white cheeks in public and I imagine it won’t be the last. Albert has my vote! 

Lauren Reid has taken a decidedly theatrical approach in revealing Giovanni Bonmarito, a painter of the high Renaissance era. Much of Reid’s recent work involves reclaiming disused domestic items and applying softly spoken yet fanciful painted narratives to the objects. With Giovanni, Reid has allowed a highly self-indulgent side of herself to creep through, and created a work that not only speaks volumes of her pleasure seeking and zealous alter ego but also leads us to question what other egos may lie hidden beneath such a modest exterior.

Kelly Robson has offered to us the chance to interact with Molly, a two-dimensional representation of her alter ego. Robson has taken the very literal idea of a traditional paper doll, made it life size and given it a gun. Robson has a fascination with the propaganda of self, the distorted or deceptive way that people present themselves to the world. With this work, she has presented to us objects and symbols as a façade that we may place, dress and accessorize as we wish. 

Mark Vaarwerk is recognized as a ‘plastics man’ and works almost exclusively with the material, so perhaps it comes as no surprise that Vaarwerk has introduced us to Joseph Patrick Healy, a man who existed in a time when plastic technology was hardly a blip on the radar. A thrifty and inventive chap, whose ingenious if somewhat misguided inventions have at  times landed him in a little trouble. With not a skerrick of plastic in sight these apparatus are immaculately conceived and mockingly don’t ‘do’ anything. 

Melinda Young has embraced her opposite. She has allowed Dot Byrd to emerge and take her on an adventure skywards as opposed to the sidewalks where Young often explores for inspiration. The muted tones that appear in this series of work are in stark contrast to her usual colour studies of pinks, greens and reds. The flatness and the stillness of the photograph are also in opposition to much of Young’s current work, of pink, visceral and tactile wearable objects. 

Many thanks must go to my super mother for all her hard work and support. To all my artists and jewellers who picked up this idea and ran with it (even if it was painful) and for all the support an 'emerging' curator/jeweller/writer could ever ask for. cheers.


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