Patterns aplenty in the Tin Sheds' new show of innovative works

13 March 2006

Pattern in the extreme is the focus of the five established, contemporary artists represented in the exhibition currently showing in the University’s Tin Sheds Gallery, coordinated by award-winning Sydney College of the Arts graduate Judith Duquemin.

Duquemin's 'Integrity No. 4' (2006)
Duquemin's 'Integrity No. 4' (2006)

Characteristic of Duquemin, her abstracts, based on a complex pattern-making formula and with flat planes of minimal colours, give the illusion of three-dimensional oscillation. Yet these latest works are curiously restful, their contrasting clean curves and hard-edged angles creating a sense of balance rather than conflict.

Significantly, the paintings – and there are just two in this show - are from a series titled “Integrity”, which she says reflects a sense of “completeness about art and life”.

This latest body of work is the culmination of Duquemin’s 18-month research into relationships between painting abstraction and 20th century textile design, undertaken in Europe and the USA. The research was partly funded by SCA’s prized Fauvette Loureiro Memorial Artist Travel Scholarship which Duquemin won in 2004, the year after graduating with a PhD in Visual Art.

In his large silkscreen “Childe Harold/Futurefall”, Justin Trendall – who lectures in SCA’s Printmedia Studio - takes a step further his idea of the ‘phantasmagorical grid’ that we saw in last year’s exhibition in the University Art Gallery.

Intricately patterned in gold on deep red silk, the work mimics the classical frieze, running the full four outer walls of a building-like contruction, while appearing to map a continuous coastline and hinterland, complete with placenames.

Closer inspection, though, reveals the coastal names to jump between those near Sydney, those around Perth and those in the Byronshire for instance, while apparent hinterland area names are the names of specific writers, musicians, visual artists and philosophers or their works, spanning several centuries.

The impression is of a mapping of memories or cultural influence, and - given the circular nature of the work - of a precocious autobiography perhaps.

In the gallery - Kate Mackay's 'Crocheted cubes' (foreground) and 'Sonic network' by John Aslandis
In the gallery - Kate Mackay's 'Crocheted cubes' (foreground) and 'Sonic network' by John Aslandis

Kate Mackay both calls on and explodes the domestic connotations of crochet in her brightly coloured, confrontational 3D abstract works which explore the relationship between painting and craft and the ‘uselessness’ of each.

Christopher Dean, an SCA graduate concerned with the ‘ecstatic possibilities of communication’, has incorporated abstracted text into his drawings. His “Conversations with Robert Lake” is a series of short sentences based on his talks with the Sydney gallerist and drawn in a patchwork of soft, vibrant multi-coloured lines.

John Aslanidis considers himself to be a sound artist more than a painter and sound waves are certainly connoted in his “Sonic Network”, a large painting of psychedelic, superimposed patterned circles. His intention in this compelling work was to capture “a fragment of infinity” in an ambiguous zone between sound and vision.

There’s a strong sense of originality and of cohesiveness in this varied exhibition. Titled Fabrication, it connotes the patterning of modernist fabrics that have intrigued Duquemin since her childhood, and reflects each artist’s intention to fabricate autonomous worlds through a making and breaking of the conventions of pattern making.

Where and when: Tin Sheds Gallery, Wilkinson Building (G04), 148 City Rd, 11am-5pm, Tuesday-Saturday.

Enquiries: phone 9351 3115, email