subhead please CRAFT review Kerry-Anne Cousins
Embracing InnovationVolume 4Metamorphosi
Material and Structure
jewellery by Phoebe Porter
Craft ACT. On u
Embracing Innovation isthe fourth exhibition in this series showcasing recent innovation in craft and design. Metamorphosi is a solo exhibition by Kristel Britcher. In addition there is a small survey selection of Phoebe Porter's jewellery from 2007-14 in the Crucible showcase.
The exhibition Embracing Innovation has brought together an interesting and eclectic group of artists and designers who work in object-based craft practice, as well as designers whose interest lies in the interdisciplinary fields of science and sport. Most of the designers are academics who work in university faculties of visual arts, and arts and design. Each artist or collaborative design team is seeking innovative processes of design and creation that involve new materials and new technologies.
There are several projects in which science meets design. Stephen Barras, Linda Davy and Joan Barras have produced a ceramic "pebble" that, because of the special chemical liquid inside (Phase Change Material or PCM), warms up during the day and at night emits stored heat. A research team comprising Stephen Trathen, Eddi Pianca, Carlos Montana Hoyos, Bill Shelley and Dale Chapman from the Canberra University Faculty of Arts and Design and the Australian Institute of Sport have collaborated on the Skeleton Sled Project to develop customised improvements based on the study of new materials for the skeleton sleds used by the Australian team which participated in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter Games. In her work Germination Time Captured#2, Erica Seccombe has captured in 4D micro-CT scans the transformation of mung beans and alfalfa seeds as they germinate from embryo to first leaf stage. This process indicates the infinite possibilities of 3D printing – one of the foremost new technological advances.
In other projects there is more interactive audience participation. Technical Station#1 is a collaborative project between Cecilia Heffer and Bert Bongers developed as part of the Inter- lace exhibition at the Sydney Powerhouse Museum in 2011-13. The process involves a computer program manipulated by the viewer to configure and interact with textile patterns. The way the patterns develop on the screen is evocative of a kaleidoscope. However, the advantage is that these patterns have the potential to be developed and reinterpreted in other media. Where do we stand is afusion of installation and performance art by Blaide Lallemand and Michael Norris. Viewers stand on special tiles that activate sounds connected to the built and natural environment. These sounds interconnect to build up a sound landscape that is interactive with its audience.
Robert Foster, Carlos Montana Hoyos and Niklavs Rubenis have all made objects that are the outcome of a research project. Robert Foster's pendant ceiling lights are outstanding. They are the result of Foster's research into industrial processes and his quest for an expressive personal visual language. These beautiful lights, with their metallic surfaces in either black, white and red, hang like furled leaves - a true synthesis of form and function. Montana Hoyos conceives his work on three levels - technological, aesthetic and emotional. His water pitchers - each wrought from just one silvered metal sheet - have a physical presence that is seductive. The viewer is drawn into their orbit by their tactile surfaces and sculptured forms. Rubenis's graceful and functional stool is a starting point for the artist's exploration of questions of process and sustainability. It is made from recycled Victorian ash and discarded plastic milk bottles that have been laser cut to form the webbing of its seat. Assembled without glues, screws or mechanical parts, the stool promotes the maker's skill in the pleasure of handmade processes and the recycling of otherwise discarded materials.
Metamorphosi is an exhibition by Kristel Britcher, an Adelaide artist currently working at the JamFactory. Since graduation Britcher has been developing both studio glass and her own production line of glassware. This exhibition demonstrates her innovative approach to glassware, which is also linked to an awareness of its traditions. Small vases and glass objects are created from small coloured glass cubes inspired by naturally occurring crystal formations. The hanging clusters of clear coloured glass (the Cristallino series) would look quite stunning if massed together in an appropriate space. In other works the small cubes are brought together to form stems and handles on beakers, bowls and jugs. Some of these cube formations are multi-coloured with black rims so they resemble particularly attractive liquorice allsorts. In some works where they are used as handles and stems on clear glass vessels, the relationship between the two can appear rather awkward. In the beaker and jug set (from the Pemutazione series) one of the colours of the cubes is repeated on the rim of the plain glass. This makes a more visual connection between the handle and the main form. In the Cambiare series, canes of coloured rods are massed together to form the stems and bases of glasses and bowls to make a colourful and pleasing contemporary production line of modern glassware.
Phoebe Porter's work titled Material and Structure is asmall selection of chains, bangles and earrings that demonstrates her continuing interest in sophisticated and streamlined geometric-based forms. The appeal of her jewellery comes from the mechanical precision and effortless way each component fits together and the sleek gleam of the metal that the artist teams with coloured anodised aluminium. Notable among these many beautifully realised and constructed works are the simple yet sophisticated Keyhole Bracelet in titanium and the series of Folded Earrings in both black and red. Porter now lives and works in Canberra and her stylish brooches based on simple geometric shapes and called appropriately Homage to Kandinsky, were seen in the recent exhibition Bro.och at Bilk Gallery.