Image_Object Mona Foma 2020
Updated: Jan 27
Image_ Object, examines the relationship between the visual and the physical in non-objective works. Most artworks, it can be argued, are fusions of imagery and objecthood. This exhibition reveals an increasing emphasis upon texture and surface qualities. The predilection for large areas of undifferentiated or barely fluctuating colour, the exploitation of the edge, of the shaped or moulded support, and the physical juxtaposition of disparate or borrowed elements.
This survey exhibition brings together a broad range of mediums and approaches to abstraction and includes both local, national and internationally recognised practitioners.
Jake Walker, Tineke Porck, Lev Khesin, Billy Gruner, Paul Moncrieff, Suzie Idiens, Sarah Keighery, Carolyn Wigston, Anya Pesce, Louise Blyton, Diane Scott, Stephen Wickham, Aaron Martin, Deb Covell, Lisa Sharp, Eloise Kirk, Steven Carson, Dan Rocha, Anne Mestitz, Terri Brooks, Pia Løye, Nicola Staeglich, Ivan De Menis, Ryllton Viney, Lisa Patroni, Michael Muruste, Paul Snell, Noah Spivak, Patrizia Biondi, Molly Thomson, Marlene Sarroff, Ian Wells, Monique Lacey, Paul Bishop, Ryan Sarah Murphy, Magda Cebokli, Michelangelo Russo, Jennifer Jabu, Pim Piët , Susan Andrews, Kevin Lund, David Marsden, Jamin Kluss, Ilkka Parni, Jeff Conefry, Brent Hallard, Louise Gresswell.
A wonderful response to the exhibition Image_Object by Art Critic Sean Kelly.
Response to Image_Object
By Seán Kelly January 2020
If we want to be pedantic. all images which stand free of being embedded in, or on a surface become objects, even drawings and prints. They are things in the world. Is a painting more of an ‘object’ in that it has greater three dimensionality than a drawing? This sort of limiting definition is of course predicated on the assumption that “ojectness” of “objecthood”, (oh what ugly terms), is determined by a degree of three dimensionality, freedom of placement in the world of other objects. If so, this would mean that a sculpture in the round is more an object than a bas relief mounted on a wall. This is dumb, reductive and simplistic. I raise this straw man simply to kill it off. I freely admit that the object situated in the space we operate in, (not the wall or a book), has greater demand on our attention and sensory navigation but it does not necessarily have greater ‘presence’ which is the real issue. As soon as we get lost in the limitation of defining, we move away from the artwork, in the spirit of Susan Sontag we kill it, neutralise it into a vehicle for semantic posturing. In ‘Against Interpretation’ she cautions us against the wrongheadedness of analysing and searching for meaning and significance in the wrong places. We tend to look beyond the phenomenon of what is actually happening, what is actually there. We avoid the key confrontation which is actually one of submission. Submission to the, often ineffable, nature of the experience, even with the experience itself. Interpretation and analysis can in fact be a way of avoiding a real confrontation. Sontag claims that good art can, and often does, make us “nervous”. Could this go part way to explain the huge rise of art theoretical contemplation by those too timid or arrogant to freely submit to the actual experience of the work? As an art critic for many years I have often felt that the best responses to art often come not from those trained, (indoctrinated), in theory as promulgated in our art schools but from the poets like Peter Schjeldahl, who came to the experience of art with no filters but are prepared to prioritise the experience itself, the only ‘filters’ being intelligence, sensitivity and cultural awareness. So, imagine my delight on entering this rich and aesthetically rich exhibition. I was instantly engaged by a broad diversity of work, initially of course by the sensual power of colour, but as I spent time moving through it, the wit and intelligence contained in this very strongly curated grouping insisted. Within a diverse group of very well selected works, all of ‘modest’ scale, a range of approaches had been assembled which all unashamedly celebrated the nature of the formal elements themselves within fascinating explorations of material and media. Humble materials in many cases, transcending their origins through masterful manipulations and transformations, fields of intense colour or painterly character contained within a rigid geometry suggesting minimal format authority, and intensely subtle and elegant formal sophistication achieved with simple means and consistent rigour. I eschew specific naming of artists and works since the characteristics I describe permeate the whole show. There is an economy of means here, within a deep and consistent rigour which applies to all the work in this show. There is no artifice and there is something I can happily nominate as ‘honesty’. The works convince entirely, without artifice or obfuscation, without anything other than a reductionist approach which simply stated is, ‘this is all, and it is as much as is required’. The artists in this show demonstrate real confidence and a deep understanding of what a rich aesthetic experience is. The power is in the resistance to embellish, or to ‘over egg’ the situation for some extraneous and superfluous intent. Thus, they are convincing, at a very pure sensory and intellectual level. Often less is not more, it is just less, and often more is certainly less. This is simply all that is required, nothing less, nothing more.