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Symphonic Encounters @ Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts

Lauren BerkowitzFriday, 22 June 2012

Symphonic Encounters @ Linden 

Symphonic Encounters at the Linden Centre for Contemporary Arts, curated by Melanie Flynn and Rachel Watts, unites six female artists, each of whom addresses an aspect of environment in their work. Lauren Berkowitz’s creations are instantly recognisable for her use (or rather re-use) of found materials. The installation consists of cricket balls, shredded and dyed bright orange, pink, and red, then interwoven and suspended from the ceiling, becoming evocative of a membranous, living organism; a cocoon folding in on itself. Berkowitz’s innate aesthetic sense and ability to turn the everyday into the elegant and ethereal are arguably unique.

Helga GrovesHelga Groves creates an equally sublime atmosphere within her space where tear-drop shaped lead weights are suspended from the ceiling and the walls on delicately interwoven pastel-coloured nylon threads. The gentle colours of the threads are echoed in floor installations where transparent semi-spheres are placed on variously coloured and shaped felt cut-outs. They rest in turn on circular sheets of perspex and appear floating above the ground by means of cleverly concealed bases. The installation creates a sensation of a moist, tropical microclimate, as the complement of tear-drop shaped lead weights and floating semi-spheres echoes the experience of bubbles forming on water surfaces.

Kate TuckerAnother intriguing mixed media installation occurs in Kate Tucker’s room, where found objects are arranged in an extravagantly oversize, floor-to-ceiling, Dale-Chihuly-meets-hobo-chic chandelier. Whether intentionally or not, the rising jets of hot air from the heating ducts caused the installation to sway gently in a sonorously mesmerising rhythm. Coloured gels and other transparent materials are pasted on the windows, creating a stained glass effect; and a modestly sized abstract painting is placed over the mantelpiece. Broken and fractured shapes of the objects within the ‘chandelier’, as well as their various colours, are echoed in the ‘stained glass’ windows and the painting thus visually uniting all three elements of the installation.

Soo-Joo YooThe biggest surprise of the exhibition is reserved for the Soo-Joo Yoo’s room, which was clearly conceived as a total environment and a complete space. Every element within the room is controlled by the artist, including the lighting. The natural light is blocked off, and instead the room is bathed in an eerie yellow glow. It provides a powerful foil for every object in the installation, the colours of which are reduced to various shades of white, grey, or black. Every matter appears suspended, including air, water, paper, plastic, stone, and steel; but for all the cacophony of shapes, angles, heights, and projections, the installation culminates into a complete oneness, a visual whole, an elegantly aesthetic site of contemplative meditation.

Brit SaltUpon reflection, this is the element that unites all exhibits of the show. Each room is conceived as a total environment; each room has elements that echo the objects in other rooms; and there is a great visual continuity and dialogue between the spaces. As the result, the exhibition creates a cohesive viewing experience and becomes memorable not only for the individual installations but also for the sum of all parts. It is so encouraging to see an exhibition of works by innovative contemporary artists, intelligently and eruditely arranged by the curators who were able to seek out and / or commission a broad range of works for an inspiring, aesthetically memorable, and visually ethereal exhibition.

[© Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012; installation photography: Eugene Barilo von Reisberg 2012; where applicable, images are courtesy of the artists and their galleries.]

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