Featuring seven multi–disciplinary artists, JamFactory’s exhibition, Playground, abandons reality for fantasy while exploring innocence and nostalgia.
“Playground investigates the nature of playfulness and how it’s considered through the lens of contemporary art, craft and design,” curator Rayleen Forester says. For the exhibition, Forester brings together a selection of contemporary artists from across the country who are focusing on object, memory, childhood sentimentality, the environment and Utopia. In developing the curatorial premise for Playground, Forester was inspired by Wendy Walker’s 2011 JamFactory exhibition Imagining Interiors that combined contemporary art, design, film and theory within the theme of Gothic literature. The artists Forester has selected for Playground – Ebony Bizys (AUS/JPN), Evie Group (Alex Gilmour and Dominic Chong) (NSW), Peta Kruger (SA), Jessie Lumb (SA), Billie Justice Thomson (VIC) and Amy Joy Watson (SA) – are artists she has wanted to work with for some time. She believes they share similar interests and aesthetically are comparable.
Hello Sandwich, Bookshelf
“None of the artists have really been in contact with each other about the exhibition but the palette is impeccably close to one another and they are so complementary it’s almost creepy,” Forester says. “It’s quite beautiful how each artist is sitting in this show side by side. For me it’s a fantastic outcome.” The exhibition starts in the Lion Arts Centre Courtyard with Lumb’s work I cleaned the world with sugar soap and gently repainted the surface. Here, she is repurposing the ordinary by colouring in Blu-Tack in bright colours, using gold leaf Textas and acrylic paint. There is also an external work by Thomson across the entrance welcoming the audience as they enter the JamFactory. Inside, Forester has created a ‘playground’, an area of playfulness that also acts as a communal space for ideas and experimentation. “It’s a place that can foster collaboration and new ideas,” Forester says. “It’s a space where you can abandon reality, you can reimagine the ordinary. It’s a platform or a stage if you will, where you can contemplate and ponder spaces and the objects around us.”
Jessie Lumb, I cleaned the world (…) (detail)
Taking up one corner of the room is the site-specific work by Bizys titled, Sando Koen. Bizys, who goes by the name Hello Sandwich, is extremely popular on social media and was a former art director at Vogue Living in Australia before she relocated to Tokyo. The work is extremely immersive and is inspired by Japanese Kawaii culture. “She has made a visual experience for people to meander through what I suppose are parts of her imagination, parts of what she dreams of,” Forester says. “She is reminiscing about home and her childhood but also about her new home in Japan and the a ffinity she has for that country and the cute craft that is dominant in day to day life over there.”
Amy Joy Watson, Star Stack, 2012
On the back wall, acting as a kind of backdrop to the exhibition, is another site-speci fic work by Thomson, the mural Peaches and Dreams. Forester says: “The mural is phenomenal. It’s di fferent from di fferent viewpoints inside the gallery and outside looking in. You have a di fferent experience with it each time, which is quite incredible for a 2D flat work.” The exhibition also features an interactive work by Lumb called Stick, Seal, Hold, Position where she has started with a few pieces on a large wall. The audience is invited to build on this using Blu-Tack, found objects, lollypops, toys, pompoms, glitter and lots of fun little trinkets and create their own stories or add to Lumb’s dialogue.
Peta Kruger, Treasure map, Brooches 2015
Other works include jewellery pieces by Kruger and design pieces by Evie Group which both defy classi cation blurring the lines between art, craft and design. Also included are a number of delicate sculptures by Watson which are extremely colourful and are directly in line with the idea of playfulness. With a workshop program running throughout the duration of the exhibition, the audience is encouraged to interact with the artists and the work. Everyone can come and play in this Playground. Playground JamFactory Until Sunday, July 3 jamfactory.com.au Header image: Billie Justice Thompson with assorted works