Featured Artist Lisa Sharp: Biographical Note and Artist Statement

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Lisa Sharp. photograph by Rowan Fotheringham (2017)

Lisa Sharp is a Malaysian-born Australian artist, writer, curator and co-gallery manager. Currently based in Sydney, her painting practice sets out to explore ‘painting’ as action, object and historical discourse, all at once. Following an earlier career as a lawyer, she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honours in Painting from the National Art School, as well as Bachelors of Arts (English) and Laws from the University of Sydney and a Masters in Laws from the University of Technology, Sydney. Lisa likes to write and muse about art, art making and artists. Her blog is http://www.lisa-sharp.tumblr.com/

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Lisa Sharp Judith and Holofernes, 2016, (diptych) Italian Green Earth pigment bound in tempera, oil and beeswax on panel, 20.5 x 15.5 x 1.2 cm each. photograph by Lisa Sharp (2016)

Selected exhibitions

2017
49 Sighs (solo) Factory 49
The Paddock III: Posted to New York, Aloft Harlem, New York
Annual Group Exhibition, Factory 49
RNPG at The Kiosk, The Kiosk, Katoomba
Ce qui aurait pu ne pas être, Galerie Abstract Project, Paris
Factory 49 at Supermarket Art Fair, Stockholm, Sweden
Support / Surface Movement, Factory 49 Outside Wall Painting

2016
Hype, Creative Space 220
Painting Remnants (solo) Factory 49
Abbotsleigh Alumni Exhibition, Grace Cossington Smith Gallery
Annual Group Exhibition, Factory 49
The Paddock II: virtual fields, Factory 49
Unmake/make / dénouer/nouer (joint) Factory 49 Paris Pop Up

2015
Directors’ Show, Factory 49
Breaking Space, Imperial Hotel Paddington
National Art School Postgraduate Exhibition, National Art School
Honours 2015, Library Stairwell Gallery
Another Day in Paradise, National Art School
The Paddock: Looking back at The Field, Library Stairwell Gallery
To Be Continued (2), Factory 49
Feral, Articulate Project Space (as arts writer)

2014
Stilled Life, Sede Annandale
National Art School Graduate Exhibition, National Art School

Artist Statement

My practice explores the ways in which the form of painting, treated reductively, can conflate the material language, concrete processes and art history of painting. ‘Painting’ is action, object and ongoing historical discourse, all at once. A ‘painting’ can mean many things – it’s a verb, a noun, and also a narrative, and this dialogue underpins my approach. In my studio, ‘painting’ constantly slips between action, thing and conversation. In my mind’s eye, and then with my hands, I aim to make work that captures those slippages around the meaning of painting.

I work with the materiality of painting. The trio of support, surface and paint tend always to be addressed in my works, but to varying degrees and with an ongoing interrogation of the role each element plays. The absence, or surrogacy, of any of these elements can be telling. I am fascinated with the qualities of different materials, whether the absorbency of a surface or the origin of a pigment, and exposing the ways in which they function within a painting is quite often the basis for engaging with a work. Prioritising the role of the materials that underlie painting also shifts the emphasis from the pictorial to the structural and from composition to chance. The use of fairly traditional painting materials and practices alongside unconventional ones enables a playful, process-driven examination of painting while situating it within the contemporary visual arts.

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Lisa Sharp Painting Weaving, 2016, copper pigment in acrylic polymer on woven cotton string and cotton duck canvas, 55 x 55 x 3 cm. photograph by Lisa Sharp (2016)

In some works, there is an emphasis on surface, whether through the result of repetitive actions of layering successively lean paint strata, in horizontal then vertical bands, as if weaving, or through actually weaving the canvas from string and torn strips.

My most recent series, the ‘paintless paintings’ uses the absence of paint to point to traditional materials, nomenclature, even expectations about painting as potentially expressive sources of meaning. In the absence of paint, the support and surface of the works become magnified, leading to an interest in the textile minutiae constituting a canvas surface, and the significance particularly of used textiles. I have been experimenting with domestically sourced textiles as surrogates for canvas.

One series is based on used muslin teabags and uses an embroidery hoop in place of a stretcher.  I found that the absence of paint only stressed the mundane, body-like qualities of the canvasses. The titling ironically references the death of painting as well as bodily ecstasy. The scale, and indeed the surrogate materials are domestic and feminized, offering alternative interpretations and readings of the paintings.

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Lisa Sharp 49 Sighs, 2017, 2017, glue gesso on canvas with beeswax varnish and a copper tack, 10 x 10 x 10 cm each (installation view) Factory 49, Sydney. photograph by Lisa Sharp (2017)

A recent exhibition, 49 Sighs was an installation of 49 paintless paintings. Once more, building upon the material language and rhythms of a painter preparing for painting, these stiffened forms, molds of trapped air (my breath, a sigh) illustrate the unusual qualities of gesso, a traditional primer used to prepare a surface for painting. These interactions and metaphors were made possible between a collision of materials, form, process and body. I was playing with the idea that a painting could be absent of paint yet still be about painting.

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A Single Sigh, 2017, 2017, glue gesso on canvas with beeswax varnish and a copper tack, 10 x 10 x 10 cm. Factory 49, Sydney. photograph by Lisa Sharp (2017)

What constitutes painting? is a question which continues to feed and direct my practice. What are the material (and socio-political) conditions of its creation, and how do they affect its impact and meaning? Taking the most basic material structure of painting – paint on stretched canvas – as a fixed position from which to invert, interrogate and experiment, I continue to paint, and make paintings that speak to the history of painting.

-Lisa Sharp


 

 

“Held in suspense”: Amarie Bergman reviews Christopher Gulick’s residency and exhibition at Factory 49

Christopher Gulick’s residency-workshop-performance-exhibition. Factory 49, Main Showroom. Monday 16 October – Saturday 11 November 2017.

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View 1, in-process, residency-workshop-performance-exhibition by Christopher Gulick, Factory 49, Sydney. image courtesy of the artist (2017).

Christopher Gulick, an American artist renowned for building kinetic, mobile sculptures, transformed Factory 49 during his three-week residency-workshop-performance-exhibition from Monday, 16 October to Saturday, 11 November. Visitors were encouraged to engage with the project as Gulick responded to the space around him and invited to attend the finissage on Friday, 10 November.

The universe is in a constant state of change. Christopher Gulick presented us with concrete evidence of space-time’s temporal poignancy by energising the Main Showroom at Factory 49 with an informal suite of angular and curvilinear projection-relief sculptures. Such a construct could have been kindled in the 20th century in two-dimensions by Matisse while making his most edited cut-outs. It also recalls Arshile Gorky’s ‘Child’s Companions’ (1945), Mondrian’s balanced black and coloured subdivisions in the last grid paintings with a generosity of white galaxies, and Kandinsky and Joan Miro’s ability to seemingly levitate flat forms.

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View 2, in-process, residency-workshop-performance-exhibition by Christopher Gulick, Factory 49, Sydney. image courtesy of the artist (2017).

Gulick prototypes his own unique three-dimensional work with visible graphite drawings that combine repetitive, intertwined geometric patterning and straight lines. While he may think of this ‘wallpaper’ as scribbled designs, the drawings are clearly impressive. Gulick has an extensive history of constructing kinetic, mobile sculptures, including large-scale permanent installations, and fabrications in the automotive and aeronautic fields. In the process, he appears to have inadvertently tapped into the five definitive observations about gravitational waves.

The latest observation by the U.S. based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) and the European based Virgo detector was confirmed on 17 October 2017 in Washington D.C., coincidentally the day Gulick began ‘the build’ in Sydney. According to LIGO, scientists detected gravitational waves, ‘ripples in spacetime’, in addition to light from the collision of two neutron stars. The findings verify we’re being stretched and squeezed because everything is being warped all the time, black holes exist and can orbit one another, short-duration gamma ray bursts are neutron star mergers, and the lightest elements were created in the Big Bang. Those of medium weight are made either by stars or supernova, while the heaviest elements materialise through neutron star collisions. With its most recent detection, LIGO has been able to measure the expansion of the universe.

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View 3, in-process, residency-workshop-performance-exhibition by Christopher Gulick, Factory 49, Sydney. image courtesy of the artist (2017).

So, how do these astrophysical discoveries relate to Gulick and his site-specific project at Factory 49? To begin with, Gulick knows two-dimensional/ symmetrical/ geometric shapes have an inherent purity. When they are modified, even by a slight stretch or squeeze, their simplicity metamorphically changes into three-dimensional/ asymmetrical/ near-geometric ones. Particularly, if surfaces of the shaped sculptures are not overly textured, they read as ‘uncrafted’ or uncontrived, that is, as minimalist, non-objective forms.

Black Holes can be described as areas of darkness in space where no light is let out, rather it is captured as particles or waves by gravity. Likewise, Gulick incorporates black and other monochromatic individual solids for the same effect. He also fashions smoothly edged oval or circular openings for some of the sculptures as White Holes. Light is generated in and out of these ‘windows’ so it literally lightens physical mass and, by association, the entire gallery.

Interestingly, perceptions about the density of lightweight and heavier materials are transmitted to the viewer as differing weights without having to hold or weigh them. The variety of locally-sourced materials: lustrous aluminium and recycled plastic and especially, the fabric-covered foam brassiere inserts, elicit a frisson of excitement by their newly repurposed elemental contrasts.

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View 4, post-process, residency-workshop-performance-exhibition by Christopher Gulick, Factory 49, Sydney. image courtesy of the artist (2017).

Arcs and rods of steel, supplemented by vintage knitting needles, and fastened to the gyprock, echo the prototypal designs. Held in suspense, with or without an attached sculpture, each piece of steel has poise. Now and then, almost imperceptibly, some of them twizzle in the air currents. Additions, unifications and a few subtractions took place daily. While not really melding into overt gamma ray bursts, repeat motifs have a way of amalgamating together by their similarities. When looked at sideways from non-frontal angles, various sculptures either completely or partially merge. Doubtless, they would appear to fuse in a speed-quickened dioramic video.

Gulick exposes us to his personal level of intuitive response when interacting with the unpredictability of the unknown. Moreover, with organic naturalness of the marrow of form, his expansive universe at Factory 49 has an inevitable quality. Every decision, at each stage of the project, seems right. On the evening of 10 November during the finissage, long after the tool box and sturdy, jury-rigged work desk were packed up and the drawings removed, the sculptures revealed themselves as precisely measured objects, co-mingling in the delights of tactile visuality.

-Amarie Bergman

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View 5, post-process, residency-workshop-performance-exhibition by Christopher Gulick, Factory 49, Sydney. image courtesy of the artist (2017).

 

Christopher Gulick’s residency-workshop-performance-exhibition

Factory 49, Main Showroom
Monday, 16 October to Saturday, 11 November 2017
49 Shepherd Street,
Marrickville,
Sydney, NSW, 2204
(02) 9572 9863

Christopher Gulick at Factory 49

Christopher Gulick’s website


Amarie Bergman formulates and makes reductive art, showing her work at non-objective art galleries located in Melbourne, Sydney and Paris. Amarie’s reviews have been published in artUS and Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art.
website: http://www.amariebergman.com