SPIN OUT, SPUN IN, Milani Gallery, 2 – 23 FEBRUARY 2019
Mama Ocllo 2019 acrylic on polyester, aluminium composite board, stepper motors 179.4 x 184 cm Technical...
SPIN OUT, SPUN IN,
Milani Gallery, Brisbane, QLD
2 – 23 FEBRUARY 2019
Spin out, spun in explores the aesthetic potential of circles, light and colour in relation to modernism’s legacy — an inherited, unstable environmental and socioeconomic ground. The title reflects the sense of disorientation associated with the pursuit of material and cosmic idealism in a society gravely ‘high’ on entropy.
In the paintings, modernist tropes are recontextualised to imply the contours of reality, organisms, eyes and their objects. In Me and my rhythm box, figures are inverted and reversed to evoke a syntax suggestive of the contingency of knowledge. The rhythm box suggests ecological movement, the endless repetition of economic systems or a political fight against the direction ‘progress’ is heading.
In the series of bird paintings, colour and vision are interlinked to suggest coevolution and life forces that are ever-responding and mixing at the threshold of our awareness. For instance, In Stealing other artists’ ideas (Painting for Mike), the roosters in Mike Kelley’s Cocks and Balls (1988) textile are replaced with eastern koels. Part of the cuckoo family, the birds lay their eggs in the nests of other birds species who raise the cuckoo chicks as their own. Likewise, by using the archive of art, artists form symbiotic or parasitic relationships with the archive of art.
The kinetic work, Mama Ocllo, transforms painting into an immersive spatiotemporal and sonic field. Drawing from the work of James Clerk Maxwell, who employed spinning disks to explore the differences in mixing light and mixing pigments, the work engages with fundamental issues of colour perception that bring aesthetics into the scientific fields of optics and physiology. In Incan mythology, Mama Ocllo, a fertility goddess, taught women the art of spinning thread. Her magical pre-modern origin reflects the generative revolutions of the structure. In this work, light is a metaphoric thread of vibrant transitions reflected from spinning different parts of the coloured spectrum, yet the harmonic vibration and wailing sound suggests humanity’s low blow on natural systems. This work also finds precedents in recent projects with similar rotating disks by Tobias Rehberger and Olafur Eliasson and references Marcel Duchamp’s Anemic Cinema and Rotoreliefs, and Sonia and Robert Delaunay’s vibrant Orphic compositions.
Madeleine Kelly, January 2019
Colour perception is a heritable characteristic of evolution. Opsin genes encode visual pigments in the eye that bind light. This eye–light assemblage made colour vision possible. See James K. Bowmaker, Evolution of vertebrate visual pigments, Vision Research, Volume 48, Issue 20, 2008, Pages 2022-2041, ISSN 0042-6989, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.visres.2008.03.025.