From Andrew Frost…
Art works with light sources within them play tricks on the eyes and the mind. Where traditional art media relies almost entirely on the reflective qualities of surfaces, contemporary works such as sculptures, installations and new media works that are in themselves light sources create a dazzling effect where the eye is drawn straight to the light. As various recent exhibitions such as including James Turrell at the National Gallery of Australia, the Museum of Contemporary Art’s current Light Show extravaganza and the Bill Culbert show at the National Art School demonstrated, the use of light as a material also almost inevitably invokes a sense of the religious even where the conceptual idea is based in questions of perception.
The previous gallery blurbs on West Australian artist Brendan van Hek have claimed that the artist’s work has “…emerged from elaborate narratives located in personal history, fiction and social politics.” One might need to do a bit of conceptual excavation to work out exactly how those interests manifest themselves in the work, but on one at level at least, van Hek’s sculptures present an interesting alternative interpretation – while the eye might well be drawn to the neon it’s in the use of reflection as a process of experiencing the work that takes these stunning sculptures to another realm. Located in Sarah Cottier Gallery’s big daylight filled space, the works evolve with the changing intensity of light during the day thanks to the use of mirrors and reflective surfaces in the works, each proposing a landscape, skyscape or part thereof, each reflecting on the other. Van Hek’s work presents the viewer with that rare moment when the studiously conceptual takes off into something much bigger.
Until May 23
Sarah Cottier Gallery, Paddington
Pic: Brendan van Hek, Turn the night to day (installation view), 2015.