From Stella Rosa McDonald…
The central tenet of Solid State, an exhibition that brings together the works of fourteen Australian artists, is “nothing is ever as it seems”. Invited to re-imagine the architectural history of the Casula Powerhouse in new and figurative ways the artist’s works variously highlight the politics of public space and the governing influences of manmade forms on the human psyche.
Marley Dawson, whose work uses the language of art and architecture to brilliantly emphasize the mechanics behind images, uses the site of the powerhouse as a platform to explore the history of the masculine. Using materials with multiple meanings (such as children’s rockets that have their origins in weapons manufacture) Dawson’s installations test systems of representation while becoming images themselves. In Rocket Assist (Circle work) Dawson has attached ignited C6-0 rockets to a rotating wall mount. The fiery wheels inscribe a smudgy black circle onto the wall, literally searing a presence onto the powerhouse walls. Anna Kristensen’s Indian Chamber challenges the two-dimensionality of painting, using the architectural technique of forced perspective or Trompe-l’œil to push it into three dimensions. Referencing the history of cinema her spectacular panoramic painting transports the viewer into the Jenolan Caves network in NSW, an experience of modernist transcendence that mirrors the enabling effects of industrialisation on leisure and travel at the turn of the 20th century. Solid state operates on multiple registers and, with work from artists pushing the limits of kinetics, installation and painting, is an ambitious exhibition that combines the immersive qualities of site-specific work with the complex history of the image.
Until September 6
Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre, Casula
Pic: Anna Kristensen, Indian Chamber, 2011. Image Courtesy of the artist and Gallery 9, Sydney