This is the second year in which Uni SA graduating students of the School of Art Architecture and Design have had the opportunity to present their works to the public, not only discipline by discipline but together, on various levels of the Kaurna building on Uni SA’s City West campus in the exhibition entitled Sticks, Stones and Broken Bones. As Head of School, Professor Mads Gaarboe notes this is an unusual approach in modern Universities notwithstanding the long history of these disciplines influencing the others in pursuit of innovation.
The result of such a large exhibition can often be mixed but amongst all those works displayed there will be many items that will catch the eye through either their colour, craftsmanship or novelty.
Perhaps what is of interest is how much of the work harks back to earlier eras, particularly of the last 100 years, (albeit in pursuit of new messages) rather than displays of something radical and new.
Of interest in the visual art display (on the ground floor) is Meaghan Coles What’s Hot, What’s Not and What’s Classic, (2nd left top above) three pieces in a sepia, age affected tone, the largest of which rests atop piles of fashion magazines, all of which allude to glamour images and cover pages from journals of between the 1950s and 70s. Riley O’Keefe will probably get the prize for the most haunting piece with her It is not necessary to be elsewhere in order to not be here, (thrid left, top above) two large oil canvases which conjure an unease through figures that seemingly fit between the apocalypse and our everyday suburban / industrial backyard.
Lifeblood (top left above) by Adam Murakami is a video installation of 10 x 10 computer generated and projected characters that keep flicking and reforming – numbers, arrows, the word OK, under a dot, ‘Left’ all in a range of colours. It has the feel of a video game or a data screen in some massive electricity generation monitoring room whose meaning is known by only a few. Its power rests in bringing home how ubiquitous computers are in our world and how any sense of a status quo being formed is quickly lost as ever more data gets brought into the story.
Emma Lauren’s 2011 Collection (right, top above) is again in three pieces promoting it seems her own name as brand. These works are a collaboration between a number of players, photographer, graphic designer and models with the left side image the best with some allusion to the work of the Russian artistic collective of AES+F.
Finally, for this collection, Jeremy Piert has painted a large oil and mixed media canvas entitled this painting will make you stronger (bottom above) where a Christ like judicial figure embraces the ‘power’ of Nike in gazing down upon us.
It takes some bravery and I suppose also a leap of faith for the artists not to follow some sense of group think or what they may believe is what their markers are looking for. But, this display, as with last year’s, certainly confirms that such courage and individuality is in plentiful supply.