Playing False: Catalogue essay

The concept of truth is now so contested what does it mean to play false? For artist and writer Pierre Klossowski the binary relationship of true and false which has traditionally articulated our thinking demands critical re-examination. He has argued that having overthrown truth we have inevitably dissolved the world of appearances. (Klossowski, P Un si funeste desir Gallimard 1963)

This concept informs the work in this exhibition by eight artists recently graduated from textile and ceramics workshops. At this particularly challenging time in their career, each seeks to redefine their work in a new context. The artists have used this exhibition to explore ideas of true and false in their practice.

Sharon Boggon has drawn on the long-standing relationship of textiles and computers which dates back to Charles Babbage's use of loom technologies. The sense of community which imbues textile practice seems now incompatible with the alienating internet. In this series of embroidered and photo-shopped panels Boggon celebrates both communities. Similarly Elena Kemezys explores apparently irreconcilable aspects of two genres. Bringing the watery qualities of clay to the influence of water-colour she has re-injected the dry clay with a fluidity which melts the binary relationship of earth and water.

Yoko Osawa works with wool to express seasonal change, yet in the context of this new environment the distinction between growing and perishing has become less and less clear. This apparent dualism also informs Victoria Edgar's ceramics. Edgar plays with the inherent strength of the material seeking out the vulnerability of clay and its capacity to bruise and suffer.

Mikyung Myung's pyramidal constructions open a dream space informed both by Korean cultural symbolism and personal imagery. In this work the distinction between truth and creative error is blurred.

Monica Castelo places the notion of type and archetype under examination through her symbolically charged vessels and panels.

Jocelyn Campbell explores the constructs of armoured fragility which are so much a part of the adolescent male through the embroidered traceries of her artist's books and plaster torsos. The embodiment of experience is likewise examined by Teffany Thiedeman in her shape-shifting ceramics which respond to shifting gender structures and relationships.

The practice of these artists is diverse, they are linked only by a point of departure and a critical re-examination of belief systems. The work in this exhibition shares a depth and complexity which is expansive and rich in promise.

Jenny McFarlane

Curator, Playing False

August 1997.

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