Art Life , Exhibitions Mar 01, 2013 No Comments

From Carrie Miller

After many months of hard graft, the new Sarah Cottier Gallery is open. It’s a superb space with two sizeable rooms able to hold primary solo shows. The new gallery kicks off its program with a show by Gemma Smith and its first exhibition by Jamie North.

North is known for his remarkable concrete sculptural forms out of which native plants sprout. The result are living sculptures which appear to be based in the inherent tension between the man-made material which is known to destroy life and the plant life which grows regardless within the sculptures’ dead, industrial shells.


But look closer at North’s sculptures and you realise it’s the equivocation of opposites that gives them their dynamic appeal. North’s latest series of idiosyncratic concrete jungles are pulled from the fabric of the local urban environment – reminding the viewer of those moments when you come across some plant life pushing through a broken bit of footpath. North carefully investigates the botanical aspect of his work, only working with indigenous plant species that actually successfully grow on rock. Similarly, he uses rock that is amenable to plant life. The result are sculptural forms that are made up of inorganic and organic elements that have the ability to bond over time. There is therefore a simultaneous sense of dependency between the materials as well as their obvious discrepancy which complicates the nature of the form.

These are works that are conceptually complex but whose complexity is expressed in a unique and strangely beautiful physical form.

Until March 28
Sarah Cottier Gallery, Paddington.
Pic: Jamie North, U, 2013. Fibre reinforced concrete (portland cement, coal ash, steel slag, iron oxide) plant species include; Ficus rubiginosa (Port Jackson Fig) and Pyrrosia rupestris (Rock Felt Fern), Psilotum nudum (Fork Fern), 134 x 30 x 30cm. Courtesy of the artist and Sarah Cotttier Gallery, Sydney.

Carrie Miller

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