Pre-opening

‘The disposition of contemporary art to revisit the problem of modernity has led it to question totems of its history like the avant-garde, the curator, and art history. It has also become conscious of its ability to generate capital and produce commodities within the so-called relative autonomy of art and has acted out predicaments and utopias.’

I’ve recently been engrossed in an earlier issue of AAANZ Journal of Art as it speaks directly to a current and ongoing predicament. In addition to consistently having to reiterate contemporary art/artists beyond the limited definitions of painter and/or sculpture, from time to time it’s been particularly challenging to try and confront some audience’s fixation on the local, coupled with the associated hegemony of funding. The strange contradiction of noticing international endorsement, but disregarding and ultimately giving the rest of the world the cold-shoulder, so to speak. Maybe in one way it’s easier to be single-minded, monocultural, ignoring the exterior rather than introducing and confronting complexities. Even so, it’s weird not to want to engage fully with the world.

In advance of Ross’ opening I’ve also been rethinking the work and associated program. As a contemporary artist, Ross has methodically accumulated a series of elastic genre-bending references that defy time and space, reflecting our experiences of this world. Specifically, during the curator’s talk I started to re-question how really real this experience is.

Within the interim location, the space is a key framework. It facilitates and potentially encourages fractures, tears and ruptures. Referring to the surrounding ply container, which unlike the classical white cube will record the markings and presence of each new event. As a ‘zone of contact’ and spectacle, the gathering serves to make visible and generate a responsive, hopefully de-stabilising, public sphere. The work has been an evolving transformative performance and the outcome a new synthesised site of gesture. Like Alberto Burri, Ross has utilised accessible materials to generate a painting/s as object/s. As a performative act, the final installation anticipates the reception that becomes a dynamic activity as viewers navigate the space. As well as referring to multiple and select art-historical references that exasperate succinct chronology, the work acquires a position within the world and globalism. Post-colonial national art history: who wants to be a defined as local?

The work also questions memory. To digress a little, for me this specifically evokes the blog: it’s continually evolving nature, has specifically evolved as a memory and a resource, both fixed and accessible, to be called upon to remember a location, a particular moment, image, spelling or some other detail. Its centre is ambiguous and its fragmentation potentially unravels.

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