From Carrie Miller…
Helen Pynor is no shrinking violet when it comes to making art. Her last major show in Australia included the re-animation of a pig’s heart as a live performance inside a gallery – part of a broader collaborative project between the artist and medical researchers. Her work is characterised by this commitment to a rigorous research-based practice combined with an artistic curiosity about the aesthetic and material aspect of things.
That she has an academic background in science as well as art is often cited as the reason the cerebral and the sensual are equally interesting to her. But what makes Pynor’s work compelling is the fine calibration she achieves between the two which demonstrates that, like art and science, reason and affect aren’t mutually exclusive. The result is works that can invoke a palpable sense of wonder in the viewer.
The London-based artist’s latest solo exhibition, The Life Raft, continues the artist’s ongoing conceptual fascination with the materiality of bodies. The object of her photographic works is a collection of insects and crustaceans in the drawers of an old specimen cabinet. By employing intricate traditional photographic techniques, Pynor has created a series of elegiac images that evoke questions of life and death which continue to pre-occupy both science and art.
Until November 28
Domink Mersch Gallery, Waterloo.
Pic: Helen Pynor, The Life Raft 18, 2012. Toned and hand-coloured gelatin silver prints on archival fibre-based paper, framed, 57 x 77 cm, edition of 5 + 1AP. Courtesy the artist and Dominik Mersch Gallery.