The Visceral Garden – Landscape and Specimen

Art Life , Exhibitions Feb 28, 2014 No Comments

From Sharne Wolff

Visceral Garden – Landscape and Specimen follows a memorable performance at Carriageworks last year where artist John A. Douglas made a public display of his daily private time hooked up to a dialysis machine. Douglas suffers from chronic kidney disease and a litany of associated medical disorders that include asthma and compromised bone and immune systems. His art considers human mortality and decay from the inside out and also reflects on themes of relative physical and mental freedom – rather topical right now.

QT_February 28_Visceral Garden

For this show, the first in Chalkhorse Gallery’s new Darlinghurst location, Douglas’s four channel HD video (starring the red body-suited artist and fellow practitioner Naomi Oliver) constructs a phantasmagorical landscape “comprised of organs, bones and body parts that become botanical in variation, and geological in size”. The video screens alongside a photographic essay and a series of Duraclear prints mounted in lightboxes. The work emanates from a residency at the University of NSW Museum of Human Disease that, incidentally, boasts a listing in the top 10 Weirdest Medical Museums of the world. Titles such as Asthmatic, Nephrotic, Bronchial and Osteoporosis may sound more like something you’d see in a medical textbook. While simultaneously assisting him to know his enemies, however, Douglas transforms these somewhat macabre specimens. In macro they appear as alien landscapes while whole organs become phenomena that float in their environs, perhaps in space or beneath the ocean.

Until March 8
Chalkhorse Gallery, Darlinghurst
Pic: John A Douglas, The Visceral Garden – Portal (detail), 2014. C-Type photograph from C-41 on metallic paper and aluminum, 110cm x 110cm. Courtesy the artist and Chalkhorse Gallery.

Sharne Wolff

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