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Between Appearances at Buxton

06 Nov 2019

Between Appearances at Buxton Image

By Ed McLeish

Between appearances: the art of Louise Weaver explores the multidisciplinary practice of the internationally featured Australian contemporary artist.

From November 15, Southbank’s Buxton Contemporary will see fantastical creatures, iridescent other worlds, minutely observed details from nature, uncanny objects and unsettling organic life forms dispersed through all four of its galleries.

Between appearances references Weaver’s fascination with cycles of growth, transformation and metamorphosis, the intricacies of camouflage, the dynamics and fragility of the natural world, knowledge, memory and the power of mythology and make-believe. 

Curator Melissa Keys told Southbank Local News Weaver’s themes from her earlier works developed into later works in her career.

“One idea or form evolves or emerges out of another,” she said.

“There is also a poignant interest in fragility, impermanence and upheaval as well as the interrelationship and cycles of creation and destruction.”

 Best known for her thought-provoking sculptures of animals, this exhibition encompasses over 100 works including sculptures, paintings, drawings, printmaking, collage, textiles, movement and sound.

The exhibition spans more than three decades of Louise Weaver’s distinctive practice and represents the most extensive solo survey of her work to date.

Keys said the show is starting to take shape and she feels excited to be working with an artist of Louise’s calibre.

“Drawing it together in concert with the artist I have sought to highlight her complex interests in art, ideas, science design and making, her exquisitely refined aesthetic sensibility, her humour and depth of feeling,” Keys said.

“The exhibition opens with some of Louise’s earliest works on paper, arrangements of her well-known brightly coloured crocheted animal sculptures and further rooms chart her poetic engagements with the environment, abstraction, and notions of the landscape.”

The exhibition comprises an overview of Weaver’s richly imaginative and critical work from the late ‘80s through to the present day, tracing her gradual shift from early figurative forms and compositions through to abstract paintings, objects and sound.

Fascinated by the natural world and drawing on diverse interests in visual culture, art history, natural history, science, design and haute couture, Weaver’s practice addresses a range of social themes.

Often characterised as experimental, poetic and playful, she explores and blurs distinctions between the artificial and the natural, the ephemeral and the imperishable, the beautiful and the bizarre.

 Highlights of the exhibition include the enigmatic painting Man falling from a horse (1988), which appropriates and reworks an image from a childhood book encountered by Weaver in her family home.

Keys said Weaver saw this work as a precursor to her later artistic interests, illustrating her early relationship to narrative and to the use of repetitive mark making applied to cover, disguise, alter and animate an existing scene.

 Weaver’s celebrated animal forms covered with crochet skins also feature. This includes Taking a chance on love 2003, comprising an expansive red monochromatic landscape populated by a bear, a squirrel, a mink, a tree covered with pink blossoms, and a Vico Magistretti light with a rotatable shield incorporated to evoke the phases of the moon.

Each object is arranged on large red carpet and reads like a tableau or a fantastical woodland scene with living room.

Two new specially commissioned large-scale paintings from this year, Diagram for the structures of feeling (lilac sea) and Diagram for the structures of feeling (The Green Ray) shimmer with bands of iridescent colour and suggest the soulful shifting light and heightened colour of sunset over vast expanses of water.

Registering as both landscapes and abstract fields of emotion these paintings, in part refer, in palette, form and oceanic feeling, to works by the French Intimist artist Felix Vallotton.

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