COLOUR AT CARRIAGEWORKS
One of the great delights of the Sydney Festival is that we get more art in Sydney, and most of it is free to visit. This summer Carriageworks in Eveleigh, has decided to go all kaleidoscopic and convert its art spaces into colourful exhibitions that ask you to engage like a cameleon and immerse yourself in a rainbow of interactions.
There are currently 3 spaces on show that investigate the transience of colour.
Radiant Flux is Rebecca Baumann’s creative response to the unique light and space of Carriageworks’ architecture. Spanning over 100 metres in length, every glass surface of the Carriageworks buildings’ exterior, including the skylights has been covered in dichroic film. This dynamic material shifts colour when viewed from different angles and transmits the opposite chromatic spectrum to what it reflects.
The result is a spectacular display of transient candy cane coloured surfaces driven by the sun’s rays streaming through the transparent materials. These vibrant reflections are transitory and totaly dependent on the light of the environment they exist in. They are a ‘radiant flux’, always on the move. Known for her kinetic sculptures, this time Baumann makes the viewer the sculpture as they move through the space and wonder at the colourful refractions they can physically wall through. Some may feel they are trapped in an over saturated instagram filter, which may be one of the points Baumann wants to bring to our attention. As I watch the millenials posing in an archway to take their selfies, I can’t help thinking that the artist is secretly having a laugh at our excitement toward visual illusions. Bathing in a see of colours that don’t really exist. A set of props, designed to create a scene. Just like the beautiful blue Morpho butterfly in nature, its radiance can only be witnessed in reflection. It has no pigment. It’s beauty disappears in the flutter of a wing.
Humans have always tried to capture the colour of light. We are fascinated by how light can change the way we see things, the way it can impact our interpretations of what is really there. Surely Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec would be overwhelmed by the human reflections as they pass through this show, a vastly advanced step from his love for the play of stage lights on actors in the late 1800s. It is that question that makes this installation so powerful, so poignant in a world of visual illusion? Without light there would be no colour. And light is transitory. We tried to capture those images with a box called the camera and now in 2020 we are doing the same thing with our phones.
The images left are the result of the experience. Alas it is the experience you have to have in order to make your own assumptions. What does Baumann want to tell us? Be it a reflection of our transitory times, the shifting hues of a chamelon trying to fit in, or the rosey smile of a viewer dappled in pink?
Baumann wants us to “think of colour as being emotive in the sense that it has the ability to go beyond conscious thought, to create a heightened sense of feeling in the body”.
The emotional result I see as viewers pass through the coloured lights is an experience of joy. The show is an experiment that proves positive in the bestowing of happiness and wonder with the flicker of a light and the passing of the sun. One that needs to be experienced to be understood.
Radiant Flux is at Carriageworks and is a free exhibition and runs til 14 Jun 2020.
Rebecca Baumann is a Perth-based artist who examines colour, light and time through a range of media, including installation, kinetic sculpture and performance.
All Auras Touch
‘Everything is connected’
All Auras Touch is an installation filling one entire room in Carriageworks. Contemporary artist Kate Mitchell presents a snapshot of contemporary Australia revealed through the process of photographing human energy fields, otherwise known as auras using electromagnetic field imaging equipment.
‘Colours are the ultimate magicians’
Taking the Australian and New Zealand Standard Classification of Occupations as the starting point, Mitchell photographed the aura of one person for each of the 1,023 recognised occupations.
As you enter the room you are faced by a wallpaper type installation of blurry photographs peppered by labels of occupations. Mitchell is fascinated with the subject of “Work”. Or should I say ‘workers’.
In her own words she explains her fascination “As an artist, I think of the subject “Work” as if it were an object and I’ve picked it up and I’m looking at it from as many different angles as possible. I’m interested in the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How of work; the history of work, why we work, where we work, our identities forged through work, concepts of failure and success, worth and money, how artists ‘Work’ and how artists make ‘Work’. For me this is a fascinating subject because most of us work for the greater majority of our lives, so I want to understand it, to better understand us. For some of us it is a joy and for others it is a type of hell.
Census data is type of a litmus test of who we are and how we are doing as a nation. I want to bring a different metric to the table, an energetic one. I believe the question of ‘how are we FEELING as a nation?’ is an important one to investigate.
We can become stuck at the surface level of an individual’s occupation. We can be impressed or equally unimpressed, by the Noun, by the idea of the profession. Often this happens unconsciously due to a lifetime of social conditioning. I want to get beyond the surface level of what people do and show them in another light, literally.
Through All Auras Touch I want to visually express that we are our jobs and we are totally Not our jobs. I am an Artist, I am also a parent, a partner, friend, colleague, daughter and teacher AND in this moment, simultaneously, I am a luminous energetic being who exists in ways that I can’t quite comprehend. We all are multifaceted beings, with a range of complexities, hopes and dreams.”
It is this transience that I find most interesting in the work. As you pass over the images you want to try and find some pattern that will associate a profession with a particular colour of aura, but you fail evey time. This is the exciting thing and the only thing that makes me wonder if there couldn’t be a ‘Part 2’ of the show displaying the same characters and their changing auras from day to day, a morphing of all the emotions we are in one person. Still, it introduces the viewer to photographic evidence that we are emotional beings. That what we radiate out does affect those around us and that we are all part of the same rainbow, and our absorption of those colours, those emotions, is not indicative of the ‘work’ we do.
Kate Mitchell is a Sydney based artist working in performance, video and photography. She documents and questions everyday life and social behaviour, often engaging community participants.
In a dark room in the Carriage works precinct a rotation of three major video installations by Sydney-based Kudjala/Gangalu artist Daniel Boyd plays. The three films: A Darker Shade of Dark #1-4 (2012); History is Made at Night (2013); and Yamani (2018) map the walls of the room with hypnotic patterns that merge and mutate.
Your eyes want to glue things together but they are swallowed up by the next image. Trance like, you sense you are witnessing the dawn of a place, and at the same time feel the pressure of a world going too fast, forgetting its stories of the past. It is captivating. There is a spiritualism in the shapes that have a gravity to their movements. It feels important, as you stand and watch hoping you can comprehend the messages that seem so significant, yet spoken in another language.
Boyd’s infinite cosmos of dynamic compositions and prismatic colour is both otherworldly yet ancient. The message is universal.
Daniel Boyd’s Video works are on show at Carriageworks until 1 Mar 2020.
Daniel Boyd is an indigenous Australian artist born in Queensland, now working in Sydney. His practice focuses on images of colonial and postcolonial Australian-European history.
This blog will discuss art shows and art events that I have visited. All comments are purely personal opinion and no words are ever intended to offend in any way. My aim is for readers to get out and ‘Art About’ and build your own dialogue to what you have seen and experienced.
Comments are warmly welcomed… let’s keep the conversation open!
“ARTSHOW REVIEW” is written and produced by Visual Artist and Arts Educator, Kristine Ballard on www.kristineballard.com
Please feel free to contact me should you like me to do any guest blogging or collaborations.
© Kristine Ballard 2020