Thresholds – 30.5.17 – 17.6.17
A purpose other than beauty – new work by Helen Wyatt and Paola Raggo
Opening drinks Tuesday 30th May 6-8pm
and Artists Talk on Saturday 17th June 3pm
Paola Raggo and Helen Wyatt are engaging in aspects of Australian urban scapes and representing them as wearable objects in metal. Their project explores man made and natural features of places that have helped to define engagement with cities in which they now live.
Like artists through the centuries, they see the complexity, tensions, beauty and strangeness of even the smallest piece of land when it is examined closely. Their work plays with overlapping boundaries – physical boundaries that include or exclude; the horizon delineated by built forms; nature and human boundaries as represented by the lines on a map or a street. Other boundaries are liminal spaces around walls and fences. All are thresholds of one kind or another – markers in human lives and in the natural world.
Helen Wyatt’s interest is in boundaries that are changeable, whether by erosion, the lapse of time and memory or the impacts of development. Her focus is on certain unique details of the White Bay Power Station in Sydney. It is an Edwardian construction ever tottering by a cliff’s edge, but also on the threshold of government policy on the waterfront, development of nearby transport infrastructure, local interest and activism. Nature intrudes, covering up the stories that the walls imply and that remnant marks on the ground suggest.
Paola Raggo’s work is an intuitive and exploratory engagement with the street: street maps that reveal geometric nets forming organic and geometric shapes. Paola sees the space in between like a fantastic abstract design made for a purpose other than beauty; yet it is profoundly aesthetic. Through her process of extracting shapes from maps and translating them into silver sheet, she is able to make places, people, lifestyles, cultures and feelings emergent. The map starts to become a metaphor – speaking about place and the survival of natural forms.
In Paola’s work, the shape of a place – the city plan – is the result of people balancing the settler’s intentions and the geography with its natural inhabitants to create a sense of home. The shape is the human imprint in the future landscape.
In Helen’s work, the powerful built form, broken down into parts, processed and played with, invites the wearer and the viewer to know better the subtle messages evident in this place and to reflect on its human impacts. For example, the strange negative shapes created by the building’s massive structures disrupt our expectations. That shape becomes a frame that can reveal, through metal layers, fragments and rivets, a complex vista.