Sunny Side Up
Alice & Cameron Johns
Salamanca Arts Centre - Top Gallery: May 4-30 2015
Thank you to all who came to our opening.
Your time was greatly appreciated.
An additional applause to
for opening the exhibition with style and
for her beautiful words.
- - -
Mary Pridmore PhD - Opening Speech
36 soft, white embryo shaped hand-made objects hang by 36 fine yellow threads above 36 photographs laid out on a three dimensional grid. As I stand and watch the building breathes life into these hanging forms as does passing talk, human breath, mine and yours. The photographs lie still. Light shines from above and illuminates the 36 flower photographs.
The yellow thread is strikingly egg-yolk bright and warm; the seed-forms are hand-made; some have been sewn together, others hold their form without stiches. The flower is white with a yellow centre. It is the common dahlia which could be found in any suburban garden. It is endearingly ordinary. The notes tell us that it represents people and we know from the invitation that there are references to Depression.
5 of the 36 flowers face down away from the light. Their petals are papery, thin and transparent in contrast to the opaque, dense, healthy petals. 5 among 36 – they do not stand out. You have to look to find them. Their matching seeds hang low.
Repetition and variation; grey, warm grey, cold grey, grey-blue, grey-green, silver-grey, warm white, ivory white, cool white. All the tonal variations to create a sophisticated formal palette. This work is visually sophisticated (composed on the grid – squares within squares equals Modernism). It is of our time/in Art lingo that means contemporary. I refer here to the artists’ use of metonymy – the objects, the seed and the flowers are stand-ins for people. The work before us is accomplished and resolved, multifaceted and memorable.
I visited the exhibition on Wednesday with a friend – her response was immediate, as were her words - tactile, beguiling (meaning to charm or divert) and life-affirming. She even spotted a Victorian children’s pram.
Alice is a professionally trained visual artist, having recently completed her Honours degree at the School of Art at Hunter St. She is also a primary school teacher. Cameron is an IT professional who has recently completed his Bachelors degree at UTAS. He is a self-taught photographer, with a dedicated practice. He has recently completed work for a fashion enterprise. He has his own website.
This is an intimate collaboration. Cam took the photos and Alice created the sculptural objects. Together they made the installation.
The Art world has many creative husband and wife partnerships – I could elaborate for quite a while – a famous example is Alfred Stieglitz and Georgia O’Keefe, a photographer and painter. I congratulate Alice on selecting a life-long partner with sophisticated technical skills – all sculptors need photographers but in Cameron Alice has also found a web-designer and a web master-maker. In Alice, Cameron has found a teacher and an artist. This partnership will be fruitful.
I congratulate you both on a sophisticated and memorable exhibition which ALSO serves to highlight a significant social problem.