A collection of works curated by Anna Louise Richardson revolving around the themes of denial, removal, absence and invisibility in both the current and historical political landscapes across Australia and New Zealand.
As you enter the first stage of I Was Here, a large wall with small peepholes, some with little buttons beneath, dominates the entire back wall. This piece by emerging artist Tom Buckland is compiled of a collage of hot-glue, timber and found objects. As you peer through each tiny glass frame, dioramas of tiny landscapes appear. You can press the plastic buttons beneath, some creating sound, others light and shadow. It makes you feel almost as though you’re prying, engendering a sense of both being viewed and being the viewer.
In the middle of the room wooden figures hang from textured rope or lie prostrate across unfinished wooden logs wrapped in soft, shiny furs. The figures have a natural, spectral quality, as though they have just appeared and might also disappear. Wanda Gillespie investigates ideas of ritual, ceremony and fiction through these pieces. The subjects have an otherworldly aura that adds weight to the context of the exhibition. They’re also beautifully made and thoughtfully displayed.
Photographic works by Kate McMillan and Robyn Stacey play with texture and composition to marry the concepts of place, history, memory and privacy. Both artists have managed to capture the idea of something missing from each frame, as though people have suddenly left the shot or perhaps the viewer has missed the subject seen a second before.
Socially engaged, political commentary is represented in the works of Amy Spiers, Alex Seton and Yhonnie Scarce to great effect, inviting the viewer to explore these ideas through film, text and sculpture. This diversity lends a dynamic aspect to the collection and offers multi-dimensional perspective.
This exhibition is an interesting and intelligent exploration of the narrative surrounding the re-purposing of historical events, the need to claim and define our place in that story, and the ever changing memoryscape being represented in both art and culture.
I Was Here exhibits at Fremantle Arts Centre from July 22 to September 16.
Photograph by Jessica Wyld. Image courtesy of Fremantle Arts Centre.