Utopian Slumps Collingwood, Melbourne 2009
From Nothingness to the Infinite -Kelly Fleidner
The Edge of the Line, conceived by Ben Sheppard, encourages the audience to understand and appreciate formal beauty, to concentrate on each detail, on every aspect of form, to not just glance carelessly at form but to trace with our eyes every curve, every twist, to experience every nuance of form defined by the presence or absence of linear delineation. The exhibition simultaneously embraces a notion of the persistence of eternal values embodied in the classical tradition of art whilst rejecting them completely and is both abstract and expressive in its formal and conceptual utilisation of line.
Within Aaron Carter’s series of light boxes, the strongly defined horizon lines etched into delicate mirrored surfaces stand out against the splayed and scattered markings of incomprehensible landscapes and vistas. Our eyes quickly read the long straight horizontal lines, whilst stumbling over their curved, torn and cut counterparts. Here line is not just mere surface description, but rather acts to fill whole bodies of fluid moving form. In contrast Sheppard’s gesticulating sheets of paper are only given delineated silhouettes, using line to also propel dynamic forces, but in this instance creating rhythm amongst void objects.
The impersonal and cartographic line sourced by James Kenyon simultaneously constructs volumes of stagnant space, but alludes to vibrant movement in the very nature of is depicted highways and freeways – human tracks cutting through the landscapes in an everyday homage to desire for prompt circulation. Manipulating the usually stable, objective construction and practical purpose of maps that establish control over landscape with line and form to ultimately (and cheekily) question audience gullibility with the mythical story of The Lost City of Adelaide.
Matthew Shannon in his allusion (or rather illusion) to indescribable bodies of space challenge the notions of line as being able to absolutely define spheres at all; indeed line fails in this respect and relies on the audience’s expression, imagination and internal abstraction to occupy the purposely empty intervention. Giving form, or more so formlessness, to the illegitimate and illogical way that we perceive meteorological and atmospheric conditions – in expressing this nothingness and attempting to define the infinite, Shannon subtly communicates his opposition to the fixed and sometimes rigid limits of line.
Shannon asks the audience to line up his fragmented sentence ‘what does the wind do when it stops blowing’, offering them an expansive canvas to interrogate and interpret his work. Sheppard also leaves ample room for viewer analysis, however his fixed and mounted sculpture (belying there attempt to mimic movement) contrast strongly to the kinetic mobile. The established line cuts through space, actively and strongly determining its own boundaries.
Like a storyboard, the repetition and permutation of each individual component in the work by Sheppard and Kenyon (with their emphasis on line to create this division), invites the audience to visually link the divided parts in a rhythm of mutual connections. Carter’s work also develops uniquely as a set of five individual components with every line on each light box seeming to work in confluence with each other, creating a moving and infinite narrative. The question posed by Shannon, resulting from motion, as the audience waits, moving around the object to piece together its parts, finally introduces a complimentary dimension of time. Whether line is used to define a horizon or a symbol, allude to a missing boundary or point to its margin directly, its value is linked to the fact, more or less, that it is a line – that it exists as an integral component within each work.
Follow link to:
Catalogue of Inaugural Exhibition at Alliance Française de Melbourne, Eildon Gallery July 2007