From Sharne Wolff…
This year marks twenty years since Patricia Piccinini first started exhibiting her art and a decade since she represented Australia with We Are Family at the 2003 Venice Biennale. In that time Piccinini has become one of Australia’s most widely championed contemporary artists, best known for her hyper-real sculptures.
Piccinini’s sculptures are compelling – both in a visual and an emotive sense. There’s something about the fact that the sum of what appear to be authentic human components – flesh, hair and orifice for instance – don’t quite add up to a recognisable whole. This adds to the temptation to describe them with human-like qualities when in this show, the biomorphic shapes of Sphinx, Atlas and Ghost are no more human than their silicone, fibreglass and bronze elements. The Listener comes closer – the look in this strange creature’s vulnerable eyes is completely convincing and perhaps even asks us to heed the line in W.B. Yeats famous poem which follows that in the title of this show ‘… Tread softly because you tread on my dreams’.
The exhibition also features a new 12-minute video work and a number of ‘wall pieces’. Orchard and Vanitas use a support of silicon ‘flesh’ on which a blend of plant and animal-like forms are constructed and again, these verge on the real. The remainder of hanging works are abstract silicon blob-like forms on linen.
Until March 30
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Paddington
Pic: Patricia Piccinini, The Listener, 2012. Silicone, fibreglass, human hair, speaker, 97 × 45 × 45cm (Detail). Courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney.