Current Issue #488

Call and response at Holly Rollers

Call and response at Holly Rollers

In The Scene is the seen, a selection of emerging and mid-career South Australian artists respond to a series of quotes by notable artists and theorists that hold special meaning and value on the topic of memory, nostalgia, melancholy, and place.

The result is  new work which explores the relationship between text and art.

“Everyone has taken the series of quotes we gave them at the beginning of the project and begun thinking about the creation of small environments and how objects can take you to a different space, but also to pre existing memories or the formation of new memories whether they are real or fictional,” explains Rayleen Forester, who has curated the exhibition alongside Ray Harris.

The Scene is the seen is the third iteration of this style of exhibition and performance night, developed by Harris and presented during SALA. “I wanted to utilise the interesting space at Holy Rollers and to create another opportunity for artists, writers, curators, and performance artists to exhibit in Adelaide, to be paid for their work and be able to work and connect with a range of practitioners of all experience levels,” she explains.

The exhibition features 16 artists participating through the exhibition, the performance night and a written catalogue. It also extends to a poetry reading night led by No Wave collective and an ekphrasis workshop delivered in partnership with Writers SA and SALA. The artists are experimenting with the process of art making while considering the creative potential of language. It all ties into the idea of echoing memory and echoing the written word but expressing it through objects.

Derek Sargent and Jess Miley, Queer Expats Of Paris (2019), film still (Photo: Derek Sargent and Jess Miley)
Derek Sargent and Jess Miley, Queer Expats Of Paris (2019), film still (Photo: Derek Sargent and Jess Miley)

The Scene is the seen uses its thematic approach to provide an unparalleled opportunity to engage with a diverse group of talented local artists through exhibited works and live performance,” explains Harris. “Enhanced by the poetry night, writing workshop and accompanying catalogue texts this event highlights the wealth and depth of Adelaide’s artistic community.”

For example Derek Sargent and Jess Miley present their Grave Project which was created through visiting the burial sites of individuals who have had an impact on non-normative popular and/or queer culture and documenting this through photography and film. “What started as a curious activity while they were travelling through Europe together, the project has now expanded beyond the social media realm into this intrinsic expression about queerness and its role in western society,” says Forester.

Another work on display is the sculptural video work by Nicole Clift and Inneke Taalman which is essentially a conversation in exhibition making and art making which is site specific. The artists recorded their discussions about creating a collaborative work for the exhibition while visiting Holy Rollers Studios on several occasions. They are presenting this as a soundscape accompanying a video of two helium balloons in the space, which the artists happened upon on one of their visits. Like their conversation the balloon ebbs and flows in response to the site. The work comments on the relationship between language and making a work of art, and gives audiences an insight into the creative process.

Honor Freeman, Wash, dry, fold, stack, repeat (2018), slipcast porcelain,
10 x 20 x 20cm (Photo: Craig Arnold)

Holy Rollers is housed in an old church, which is difficult to ignore with many of the original structures in place. Honor Freeman’s work makes use of the existing altar. Freeman presents beautiful but mundane domestic objects such as towels and soaps made from slip cast porcelain becoming a memory of a past form – a ghost object. A range of these towels and soaps will lie across the altar mirroring the Baptisms that would have once occurred there.

Another artist, Bridget Currie, presents an installation work of a three-legged table, a three-pronged sculpture on a stand, a photographic print of the sculpture and a fictional response to a memory of a place and about three legged structures. The work addresses the notion of memory and the many echoes of representations of objects. In this case the three-legged table is echoed through the sculpture, then through the photograph and finally through the written word.

Other artists featured in the exhibition and performance night include: Virginia Barratt, Emma Beech, Ray Harris, Heidi Kenyon, Sue Kneebone, Monte Masi, Nathan Peacock, Kaspar Schmidt Mumm and Cynthia Schwertsik. The exhibition will be accompanied by a full colour catalogue and essay from co-curator Forester and poetry from Unbound Collective.

Forester says: “The Scene is the seen highlights the power of what language and text can do for artists to reimagine the way they already work. Essentially what has come through is the strength of each artist’s individual practice.”

The Scene is the seen
Holy Rollers Studio

27 August – 21 September 2019

Important dates:
Opening: Tuesday 27th August, 6-9pm
Ekphrasis workshop: Saturday 31st August, 1:30-2:30pm
No Wave poetry night: Thursday 12th September, 7.30-9pm
Performance night: Saturday 21st September, 6-9pm

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