Adrian Conti & Mardi Nowak
28 September - 16 October 2011
Opening Tuesday 28 September, 6-8pm
Piecework is an exhibition of paintings, woven tapestries and works on paper by Adrian Conti and Mardi Nowak. Although both artists work in very different mediums, they share a common language of saturated colour and fragmented shapes.
Mardi Nowak (MFA Research) works primarily in woven tapestry and finds her inspiration in fashion magazines, torn advertising billboards, street graffiti and the everyday.
Works are created by collaging together images and photographs from magazines with old drawings and photocopies to reproduce the many layers found on billboards, similar to wallpaper plastered over old wallpaper. These collages become the cartoon for final tapestries.
Notions of time play a factor in her work. There is a disjunction between the disposable and fast flow of images in contemporary mass media against the deliberation and slowness of a woven construction. A fashionable dress produced in a tapestry may be out of fashion by the time a tapestry is completed.
“My recent series of works have utilised a constant flow of collaged elements; that of the envelope and the ‘Hello My Name Is’ stickers. Both of these products give me a large aesthetic scope within the collages but also have a variety of meanings. The envelope speaks of things hidden, messages and a holder for fragments. The ‘Hello My Name Is’ stickers play with the language of street graffiti. To me they are also a symbol of identity; something which is constantly challenged within fashion media.”
Adrian Conti's recent works have emerged out of regular drives to Fulham Correctional Centre in East Gippsland. Stagnant inside an interior for the two-hour plus drive, the external landscape shifts and changes. Conti's work seeks to describe this landscape but with no fixed point of reference. Painting from memory, his vista is the constancy of the horizon line through my driving window and the amalgamation of shapes throughout the journey.
"I live predominantly immersed in an urban environment with little connection to the rural land. This journey interspersed with ever changing brackets of industry and nature has engendered a response to the juxtaposition of our planned and sometimes regimented environments with what it is to have and enjoy natural space.
My re-interpretation of the physical landscape is via the lens of a ‘city boy’, the abstract nature of the image both references the ‘actual’ and internal landscapes. It is here that I’m caught, investigating the dichotomy of the ‘real’ and imaginary, the inside and outside, urban and rural." (Adrian Conti 2011)
The use of contemporary materials, the abstract and graphic depiction still acknowledges the concept of ‘real space’ and the traditional use of the ‘horizon’ within landscapes.
The use of industrial materials like spray paint enables the simplification of form, clean lines and the absence of marks, all this serves to heighten the sterility of the experience and of his destination.
Both Nowak and Conti place emphasis on the interplay of positive and negative space; each part sharing equal importance. Their works allow the viewer to be submerged into a variety of surfaces and fragments, with the viewer discovering new elements with every look.