When:7 - 30 September, 2017
Animastructions brings together work by staff, current students and graduates from the Visual Arts and Design Degrees at ANU School of Art & Design.
The exhibition co-curator Ashley Eriksmoen told us the story behind the Exhibition.
As the Curator of the show, from your personal perspective – what do you hope people take away from the exhibition?
In curating this exhibit, we intentionally selected works that would represent a wide range of maker experience levels, and a broad spectrum of approaches to the theme in order to showcase the diversity of Workshops and specialised training offered at ANU SOA&D. There are works in glass, timber, fur, ceramics, plastics, and textiles; there are photographs, films, and installations. In their depictions of animals, the works range from highly abstracted to documentary, from whimsical to abject. TAC has an Animal theme this year; our theme filter’s this again to a specific look at how culture and nature coexist and collide, often in contested spaces. I hope that the title of the exhibit—Animastructions—is intriguing and thought provoking. It is a made-up word, but also a mash-up word that suggests territories for consideration without dictating any narrow interpretations.
What are you known for as an artist, what are you showing in the exhibition and why did you choose to exhibit those pieces?
For many years, my practice has been centered on the gaps, tensions, and overlaps between man made and natural environments, the domains of that which was built versus that which has grown. For the past several years, the focus of my Research-led practice has been in ‘returning’ abandoned wood furniture to a neo-natural state in forms that crossover between recognisable furniture and plants or animals. For this exhibit, I have chosen to show one of my earlier works, Fledge. This piece presents two tables in postures that imply familiar human/animal behaviours: a bigger creature protecting a smaller one; a smaller creature sheltering below a bigger one; a smaller creature acting curious and leaning out into the world. The work was predominantly made from scraps from my own workshop and a few curved branches, and was built at the start of my relationship with salvaged timber. This work is important to me because the questions driving the work have remained while my approaches have changed.
Why should people come and see the Animastructions?
This exhibit demonstrates such a broad swathe of artists and designers who are connected with the ANU SOA&D, and their diverse range in approaches and fluencies with so many materials. It may surprise viewers to see how a young designer with a clean, contemporary aesthetic gets his inspiration from barnacles, or how our our understanding of who is the observer/predator and who is the observed/prey can flip in a twist of plot in a student’s animation piece.
What prompted this interesting collaboration ?
ANU School of Art & Design has a significant number of academic staff, students, and recent alumni independently pursuing themes in their Practice-led Research that locate at the intersection of Nature and Culture. Earlier this year, interested staff commenced to meet as the Nature/Culture Research Group with the primary aims of coordinating research activities—such as working with visiting artists, hosting symposia, and fostering collaborations—around this theme.
As TAC has a year long theme of Animals, the opportunity to curate an exhibition at TAC this year was serendipitous for our new Research cluster, and an opportunity to bring together works from across the ANU SOA&D community. The works represented in the show range from short animations made by first year SOA&D students taking Visions and Perceptions (a Foundation course), to current Honours students, to recent alumni, to academic staff and research fellows, all connected to the ANU SOA&D. This exhibit is a fantastic opportunity to extend the interests of our Nature/Culture Research Group to a wider audience, both within the ANU and across the Canberra Art & Design community, and the theme provides a rich trans-disciplinary framework that is being explored through a number of material practices.