Feral 4 ran from 30 January to 1 February 2015 at Articulate project space 497 Parramatta Road Leichhardt NSW. Featuring work by Dominic Byrne, Sue Callanan, Andrew Christie, Richard Dunn, Sarah Fitzgerald, Aude Fondard, Veronica Habib, Richard Kean, Kate Mackay, Melissa Maree, Christine Myerscough, Melissa Jane Palmer, Katya Petetskaya, Jannah Quill, Elizabeth Rankin, Kathryn Ryan, Ambrose Reisch, Helen L Sturgess, Helen M Sturgess and Mo Giddy, Yoshi Takahashi, Phaptawan Suwannakudt, Judith Torzillo and Jeff Wood.
You have to leave the cafes and bright lights of Norton street behind you and head down Parramatta Road towards Tarverners Hill and the new Light Rail Station to find Articulate sandwiched between some secretive looking buildings. Articulate is a project space and artist-run initiative formed in 2010 to support experimental contemporary art by providing rental space for projects, exhibitions and performance. It is called a project space rather than a gallery to encourage projects that are developed in and for its 27m long and 4m wide space.
Over the past month a series of ‘weekend exhibitions’ have been taking place in the Articulate project space – titled Feral it is publicised as “a progressive, overlapping exhibition program of over 60 artists that will be open Friday – Sunday 11-5pm between 9 January – 8 February 2015”. Having managed to miss the first three weekends, I finally managed to make it to Feral 4 with 30 minutes to spare last Sunday (1 February).
Being a collective exhibition I approached Feral 4 much like I would an anthology – expecting a diversity, flicking backwards and forwards until I find an anchor point into the exhibition. I found it in Christine Myerscough’s installation Salvation.This piece, which hung from the left hand side of the wall consisted of a fishing net in which a number of photographs framed in embroidery hoops had seemingly become caught. It is the sort of piece that screams “Read Me’ and so I started by attempting a possible reading of this intriguing piece. We see framed in the embroidery hoops imagines of nature, a tree branch covered in fern, fragments of light and shadow. These images have been ‘caught’ in a net, removed from a natural environment, fragments out of context. We try to understand fit the jigsaw together but most of the pieces are elsewhere.
It comes as a bit of a shock then to move down the space and come across Jeff Wood’s work. Another installation but this time horizontal rather than vertical – made of bicycle wheels, pieces of wood, empty bottles and wires. It is titled simply Painting Machine and, while I didn’t actually see it working there was a painting within the work which it may or may not have painted. Woods claims to be exploring the bond between art and technology but this seems a very analogue and mechanical way to do it – which, I would guess, is his point.
Climbing the stairs to the smaller upper space I was drawn at once to Andrew Christie’s Echo. This is a simple piece which takes two basketball hops and joins them with a long piece of netting. Immediately the original purpose of the basketball hops is compromised – it is no longer possible to use them, or to view them in the accepted way. It is a playful piece, almost Dada in its uselessness, but you can’t help being drawn to it. The longer you consider it the more questions arise. In this space the two hops are positioned next to each other so the string netting loops between them. The could also have been placed opposite each other like a normal basket court, with the netting stretched between them – moving closer to the familiar and the meaning changes once again.
Moving to the end of the space the flickering images of Elizabeth Rankin’s Thin Ice demands attention. This work is a projected animation of water-colour drawings of dancers. The images appear to be reversed to give a mirrored effect which, combined with the unexpected softness of the water coloured images, gives this animation an almost hypnotic effect. The movement and diluted colour hint at a fragmented narrative which would perhaps unfold if you spent enough time watching.
Sitting just in front of Rankin’s projector was Kathryn Ryan’s Three collections for Articulate. After the scale of some of the other work in Feral 4 Ryan’s work was small, limited to a number of small boxes containing a number of found objects, collections of words, black ink and the bits and pieces of an exhibition space, masking tape threads etc. The collaboration of the exhibition and the acknowledgement of the space itself distilled and filed away.
Feral 5 – the final Feral will open this Friday 6 February at 6pm. The exhibition will be opened from 11am – 5pm from 6 February to 8 February and will feature work by: Lisa Andrew, Dominic Byrne, Maryanne Coutts, Richard Dunn, Sarah Fitzgerald, Juliet Fowler Smith, Jane Gavan, Pollyxenia Joannou, Fiona Kemp, Delilah Lysses-sApo, Kate Mackay, Diane McCarthy, Alycia Moffat, Louise Morgan, James Needham Walker, Melissa Jane Palmer, Elizabeth Rankin, Kathryn Ryan, Alexandra Sideris, Phaptawan Suwannakudt, Yoshi Takahashi, Vicky Versa and Joe Wilson.
– Mark Roberts
Mark Roberts is a Sydney based writer and critic. He currently edits Rochford Street Review and P76 Magazine. He also has a number of manuscripts looking for a publisher.
Articulate project space can be found at 497 Parramatta Rd, Leichhardt. NSW 2040 and at http://articulate497.blogspot.com.au/
Rochford Street Review relies on donations to cover costs. Any funds left over are used to pay reviewers.