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Experimentation evident as emerging artists on show in Transit 2014


Sharlene King
16 October 2014
Imagine the lovers from Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss coming to life as ceramic statues. That’s what 3D artist Caroline Ezzy has done for Transit 2014, Southern Cross University’s annual exhibition of works by graduating visual arts students which opens on Friday October 17 in Lismore.

Caroline altered the narrative of a selection of couples from well-known Masters paintings.

“I have been researching the subject of the sense of belonging through our culture. The couples were an extension of that and their being in a secure relationship was something I responded to. My work also plays with gender roles to highlight how culture has developed, or hasn’t,” the Welsh-born artist said.

The Klimt couple’s embrace is now The Bliss; Grant Wood’s American Gothic becomes Paternally Gothic; Venus and Mars by Sandro Boticelli is Venus Still Loves Mars; and the husband and wife in the Jan Van Eyck painting The Arnolfini Portrait become a gay couple in Arnolfini's Second Marriage.

Ms Andrews, Living the Dream is inspired by Thomas Gainsborough’s Mr and Mrs Andrews.

”I’ve taken Mr Andrews out of the equation and replaced him with Mrs Andrews’ lesbian lover,” said Caroline.

“I wanted content that was serious but I wanted people to get a pleasant reaction when they looked at my figures. And I think they’re quirky enough that you stand there and have a bit of a smile.”

Each of the couples has the same stitching impressed into the ceramic, a stitching that has also been used in a ceramic quilt.

“I used a pastry cutting wheel to create the stitching to symbolise the bloodlines that run between all of us and how we’re all connected.”

Painter Kathryn Dolby spent a fortnight each with Archibald Prize winners Guy Maestri (Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu portrait in 2009) and Ben Quilty (in 2011 for Margaret Olley) as their artist assistant.

“For my internship I didn’t particularly want to work in a gallery. I was more interested in working with artists in a studio to learn more about the artistic process of making, at a professional level,” Kathryn said.

“Guy and Ben were both generous and inspiring people. They are passionate and driven. It was really exciting to be around that and come home to try and bring that energy into my own work, even though my own work is very different.

“My work is experimental, but I generally like it to be very subtle and suggestive. At the moment I am exploring the theme of movement in space and liminality, which relates to a transitional stage of a process. I’m intrigued by the tension that is created between trying to capture free flowing movement through gesture and playing with its transition inside and outside the structured architecture of the frame.”

Her mother cleaning the windows was a source of inspiration.

“I was inspired by the movement of the mundane in the routine of the common day - like the motion of cleaning, the motion of dust – and translating those into the visual,” said Kathryn.

Along the same theme is a portrait of a dancer.

“I worked with a contemporary dancer from Sydney who is also interested in how movement can be translated into an artform,” said Kathryn.

Transit 2014 will bring together 36 of Australia’s newest emerging artists to showcase their work across a broad range of visual arts media including painting, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, ceramics, installation and film, reflecting the diversity of studies available at Southern Cross University.

John Smith is the visual arts course coordinator at Southern Cross University.

“This year’s exhibition has quite an upbeat feel about it. Whilst the works generally display great sensitivity it is interesting how different students have created impact in what they have produced,” Mr Smith said.

“There is a real, prevalent vitality throughout this show. Whilst many of the subjects, themes and issues that students have engaged with demonstrate serious intention there’s an overarching playfulness and joy in handling materials across all of the installations.”

The Transit 2014 exhibition opens on Friday October 17 from 5.30pm to 8pm in the visual arts V block at the Lismore campus. It continues through to Friday, October 31. The opening hours are 10am to 4pm from Monday to Saturday (closed on Sundays).

Photo: Gustav Klimt’s The Kiss lovers have come to life as ceramic statues in The Bliss by Caroline Ezzy.