Current Issue #488

Adelaide artists reflect on the age of instant gratification

Advances in technology have changed many things in modern society but the effects of the loss of letter writing have been subtle yet profound.

Instant Gratification features eight contemporary South Australian artists who have come together to share their notions of the loss of the letter and how advancements in technology have altered our social interactions and how we communicate. Developed by participating artists Bernadette Freeman and Kylie Nichols, this group has met regularly over the past 12 months to formulate the curatorial concept of this exhibition.

“The exhibition is called Instant gratification and it basically addresses the demise of the letter,” says Freeman. “We have become used to not receiving them anymore because of the internet and the fact that we are communicating through other means and fulfilling this instant gratification.”

Nichols adds: “The landscape has changed in terms of how we interact socially with each other. We expect things to happen instantly. Gone are the days where you wait for a letter to arrive in the post.”

While the artists all address the idea of the loss of the letter, they do it in different ways and using different media including painting, ceramics, drawing, sculpture and installation. The exhibition has allowed the artists the opportunity to push the boundaries of their practice.

For example Janine Dello is well known for her figurative paintings and uses photography in the process of creating them. Dello’s work continues to explore notions of female identity and the role social media plays in this but this time she is actually presenting her work as photography. “These photographic images merging body and text playfully delve into the fervent online ‘empowerment’ activism championing self-love,” she explains.

Work by Janine Dello featured in Instant Gratification

“Printed on metallic surfaces with the aim of being self-reflective, this work explores identity, language and mental health.”

Nerida Bell has used old aerograms sent between her family in Italy and Australia as a form of inspiration to develop her ceramic works. The aerograms contain flowing, connective cursive script and the northern Italian dialect that Bell says she has difficulty understanding now. A selection of aerograms will be on display and some of the script will be echoed on her porcelain vessels.

While Bell is looking back and remembering a form of communication that no longer exists, Nichols’ work is quite futuristic. In pursuit of perfection (Algorithm) explores online dating and how it has changed how we meet each other. In her other work, Hybrid minds, she considers the idea of putting a tiny computer in our bloodstream that interacts with the cloud and how that will change the art of thinking.

Simone Linder-Patton’s work examines our reliance on the telephone and also how the Yellow Pages has been made redundant by the internet. Chris Webb’s landscape paintings reference the idea that the youth of today don’t spend a lot of time in nature, so he portrays what they might consider to be landscape. These are just a few examples of how the artists have delved into the topic with many other fascinating works on display by the other participating artists.

Instant Gratification explores the lost art of letter writing and other forms of communication but it also celebrates the possibilities of what might happen in the future, which is both exciting and daunting.

“It’s more of an awareness of how communication has changed and it gives us a chance to look at where we have come from and where we are going,” explains Nichols. “I hope the exhibition is an immersive experience. There are lots of different stories within the works with each artist giving their take on how communication has changed.”

Instant Gratification
Nerida Bell, Ty Brookhart, Janine Dello, Bernadette Freeman, Jane Heron-Kirkmoe, Simone Linder-Patton, Kylie Nichols and Chris Webb

9 – 31 January

Instant Gratification

Jane Llewellyn

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