Current Issue #488

Artist Profile: Paloma Concierta's winding ways

Artist Profile: Paloma Concierta's winding ways

South Australian-based artist Paloma Concierta is a multi-disciplinary artist working across a broad range of media including sculpture, painting, drawing, photography, video, writing and installation.

On completion of a Bachelor of Visual Arts (Honours) at the University of South Australia in 1999, Concierta was selected as a participating artist in the prestigious Perth Institute of Contemporary Art graduate show Hatched and has been involved in a number of exhibitions, installations, workshops and collaborations locally and interstate. She is currently based in Aldinga on South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.

While Concierta has lived all over the world (from New Zealand to Japan to Peru), her practice is deeply embedded (with a sense of empathy) with the area around Lake Alexandrina, South Australia, where her family still works the land.

Paloma Concierta (photo: Rick Martin)

Winding has been a formative part of Concierta’s practice over the last three years. The meditative sculptural forms she refers to as ‘winding bowls’ are made in one sitting using recycled mid-century teak bowls wound with a continuous line of yarn.

Somewhere between this amalgamation of the wood, the fleece and her own language of colour, the winding bowls draw links to her own family history. Despite the obvious labour-intensive nature of the winding process, Concierta does not see the necessary repetition and toil as the defining aspect of her practice.

“I’m interested in how these meanings wrap themselves around people and places,” Concierta says. “They are the same strings that bind and connect us all.”

Paloma Concierta, ‘The Garden Of Bowls’, 2017, installation  at Aldinga Central Shopping Centre, 22 x 11m Photo: Koko Faith

In 2017, Concierta presented 118 of her wound objects in a public installation entitled The Garden of Bowls at a deserted indoor car showroom at Aldinga Central Shopping Centre. Alongside the installation, Concierta coordinated other community events, workshops and performances involving music, dance and sound. For the Your Piano Lounge installation, Concierta presented three pianos at the shopping centre in an attempt to build community engagement in contemporary art and music.

In 2017, Concierta also completed a residency at Sauerbier House: Culture Exchange in Port Noarlunga, which resulted in a landmark solo show, Unwound. In the show, as well as presenting a selection of sculptural winding bowls (from the Land Forms series), Concierta also exhibited new panoramic blackboard paintings that explored the local landscape of the Onkaparinga. These works, which are a new direction for Concierta, are painted as well as marked with shards of slate. It’s as if we are now invited to travel inside the mysterious voids of the winding bowls themselves.

Paloma Concierta, Aldinga (detail.), 2018, masonite blackboard, acrylic paint and slate engraving 9600 x 500mm

“I am really excited by these blackboard pieces and how they use light to constantly rewrite their own calligraphy and define their own space,” she says.

Interestingly, her blackboard paintings rely on the linear movement of the viewer and the use of reflective and non-reflective surfaces to constantly change them, so we never quite see the same thing twice.

In her latest exhibition, The Palette of My Location Concierta has engaged three thinkers, (Elizabeth Gertsakis, Maria Zagala and Lisa Harms) to respond to the idea of ‘the palette of my location’.

“Location feeds me,” Concierta says. “Recently I took a week-long artist’s retreat in Milang. It was a great opportunity to get to know the landscape of my ancestors and to work up some new blackboard pieces for the Goolwa show in March.”

The Palette of My Location
South Coast Regional Art Gallery, Goolwa
Friday, February 23 to Monday, April 2

Threads of Thought
Signal Point Gallery, Goolwa
Until Monday, March 12

Header image: Paloma Concierta, 35 Windings, 2016, Mid-Century Modern’ teak bowls wound with wool, cotton, acrylic thread set on a steel and timber veneer table, 4000 x 2400 x 720 mm 

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