Viewing exhibitions online is a new experience of our times. Craft ACT, which is open by appointment, has maintained its exhibition program despite the present circumstances and in common with other Canberra galleries has gone online with exhibitions. This means you can access the catalogue, the interviews with artists and view the exhibition through installation shots and images of individual works.
Is this as good as seeing the real thing? Having experienced both, I would say that each is a different experience. Viewing an exhibition online can be seen as an introduction - providing context and information as well as an image of each work. It can provide a taster for the exhibition; however, it is not the whole experience.
This is particularly the case with three-dimensional objects that are concerned with the relationship of form and space. Light and its illumination of form and texture can also change the perception of an object, sometimes subtly, sometimes dramatically. This is the case in these two exhibitions.
In Transference, the works of Robyn Campbell and Jo Victoria are concerned with light that defines their delicate translucent porcelain and their glass forms, casting shadows and highlighting surfaces. In the adjoining exhibition, A Common Thread, Sam Gold's ceramic vessels and Harriet McKay's compositions in felt need this changing light.
The light dances around Gold's ceramic vessels, highlighting the artist's finger-marks on their coiled surfaces. Even McKay's seemingly two-dimensional abstract compositions, seen physically, reveal another dimension. Where the felt pieces abut, there are lines and ridges and the texture of the felt is an integral part of the work.
In her work Butter Lamb, the edges provide a linear element that becomes a part of the composition. McKay's masterly work, the richly complex wall hanging Sleepwalker, needs to be seen from several viewpoints so that it begins to evolve into barely perceptible images. These are overlaid and embellished with linear forests of thick ink strokes. McKay's felt constructions are really clever - and show a sensitive feeling for colour and design however it is hard to go past this wall hanging with its layers of imagery floating across a dreamlike landscape.
Ceramic artist Jo Victoria and glassmaker Robyn Campbell have worked together in their exhibition - not collaborating on actual pieces but sharing their technical and material knowledge of ceramics and glassmaking. Both artists are drawn to the fragility and translucency of the porcelain and glass and their ability to be transformed by light.
Victoria's work is inspired by the sea and the residue it leaves behind on the sand. Her small sculptures are constructed with delicate moulded forms and tiny translucent open bowls like shells arranged with areas of clear blue and green slumped glass. Works like Ocean#8 reference the fragile beauty of the natural world and the transient quality of life is echoed in the flotsam of the sea - its shells, limpid pools of water, rocks and corals shaped by the rhythm of the waves.
Campbell's forms in white porcelain are poised between harmonious balance and an uneasy tension. Conical bells and curved open dishes provide resting abodes for round glass and porcelain spheres. In Alight 3 two textured dishes rest gently together holding a porcelain egg. In Echo, a study in black and white, the deep black glaze becomes a dark mirror for the two white forms. Campbell orchestrates a delicate and subtle interplay between shadow and light in these sensitively crafted sculptural compositions.