Greg Streak, Olivié Keck, Dominique Edwards, Ledelle Moe, Katrine Claassens, Jason Larkin, Toru Nora
17 October - 21 November 2013
In celebration of the passing of a seemingly endless winter, Commune.1 is proud to present Fissure, a group exhibition featuring a selection of artists occupied with translating the boundless and chaotic natural world into corporeal art objects. A fissure is defined as a crack or split in the earth or in rock, but can also mean a state of incompatibility or disagreement. The title of the exhibition references the fissure that occurs between experiencing the transcendence of nature and translating that experience into the logic of representation.
Each work is imbued with a sense of depth, an aura, stemming from the aesthetic imagination’s capacity to control something indeterminate and unattainable thus aiming to inspire within the viewer a feeling of being unbound.
Ledelle Moe works with hulking figures constructed from concrete and steel. She uses soil from specific locations, inspired in part by her recent study of graveyard statuary. Her work is a sculptural enquiry into what the artist calls the ‘inflated and deflated’ nature of the human form. Moe’s ‘Transitions/Displacements lll’ (2012) is blanketed by small-carved bird figurines; when viewed at a distance the birds seem to be engulfing the figure, claiming it as part of their natural world.
Greg Streak’s colossal ballpoint drawing is a scale accurate homage to Barnett Newman’s 1951 painting, ‘Cathedra’. In his large-scale colour field paintings, Newman sought to create art that was transcendent and spiritual, hoping to offer a glimpse of the sublime. In this work Streak echoes Newman’s intentions and takes them one step further by placing dense and vivid colour upon the canvas surface with 312 royal blue ballpoint pens.
The exhibition includes two photographs from Jason Larkin’s series, Ascension: A Useless Island? Ascension is an island located in the Atlantic Ocean; both barren and volcanic it lay untouched for centuries until its ecology was significantly altered through human experimentation. The series explores the results of this experimentation at the hands of British marines in the early 19th century to increase the island’s sparse rainfall. The marines shipped in planting flora from all over the world and the island was soon blooming with sustainable vegetation. Human interference in the development of Ascension’s natural environment creates a landscape that is familiar in its content but unfamiliar in its order. An uneasy sense of displacement hangs in this manufactured terrain.
Through her multidisciplinary approach Olivié Keck ventures to decipher the natural world and her place within it. Her delicate ink paper tapestries suggest flowing water while her full-moon prints, aptly titled, ‘Ghost’ and ‘Hallow’, present disappearing specters. Each of her works demonstrates a concern with the transience of nature. Keck explains further: “Nature envelops us in a visceral union of odds- the constant and the flux; the commonplace and the extraordinary; and the private and the public space we occupy in the world. In these works, abstract natural landscapes become the language of translation between the viewer and myself. The aesthetic qualities echo a suggestion of natural form and yet take on an estranged quality that is remarkably almost, but not quite familiar.”
Katrine Claassen’s paintings of flowers capture the quiet moments of cool-heat and bird-chirping found in summer suburban gardens. She explores these spaces as a loved yet subjugated territory; the outcome of an escape from the excesses of an industrial society. Those who settle in the suburbs prosper, likewise in amongst the structured grids of the surburb the bouganvillia thrive. Claassen’s visceral paintings explore the transition from seeing to feeling, fittingly these blossom paintings instill in their viewer a nostalgic longing for lazy summer days.
Recently Dominique Edwards has been pulling her inspiration and materials from the Big Hole in Kimberly. The artist employs painstakingly repetitive methodology to translate her experiences of land; this leads to drawings that are both microscopic and telescopic leaving it up to the viewer to decide if they are looking at a galaxy or an atom. Her series of new drawings are an explicit reference to aerial maps and further evince the artist challenging her own personal predilection for symmetry and structural perfection.
Japanese-Dutch experimental theatre duo from Amsterdam Toru Nora is comprised of Toru Fujimoto and Nora Tinholt. The duo have created a new work, ‘nobody in the forest’, wherein play and performance coalesce to further unpack the relationship between humans and nature. In this video piece Toru Nora become the forest, interacting as if they were an extension of it, or creatures located within its ecosystem:
dig a hole, put your legs in
then try to walk as if you were rooted
leave your hands to the wind
and hold on to the tree as if she was your mother
then listen while trying to remember
where you heard that sound before.