Early one Saturday morning, myself and 32 other art students gathered in Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) awaiting the grand opening of our Creative Generation exhibition. The whole experience of seeing my artwork hung on the white walls of the most prestigious art gallery in Australia was completely surreal and overwhelming. It just goes to show that if you have the determination and passion, ANYTHING is achievable.
“These young people represent the artists and creative thinkers of the future and it’s exciting to see them exploring and engaging with visual culture and ideas.”
The three overarching themes in the exhibition include childhood, home and identity; human experience, religion and beliefs; and environmental and societal commentary. Mine falls under the last two categories, as I explored the concept of flooding caused by suffocation.
Here are my 5 favourite artworks from GOMA’s Creative Generation 2016 exhibition:
Hundreds of photographs of Australians gripping a colourful surfboard provides an exciting background for the cubist-painted surfboard itself, inviting viewers to thoroughly explore the artwork with their eyes. The large-scale installation intrigued me as the warm mix of colours stir happiness in the viewer, while the horizontal motion of the artwork provokes a sense of calm movement. As to the meaning behind the work, “Religiously salty is an insight into this unique Australian culture, which is centred on an understanding of, and respect for, the ocean. It expresses the general concept that the culture we immerse ourselves in shapes who we are today.”
This artwork uses synthetic polymer paint on canvas to “provide a glimpse into the unknown future of childhood.” I love the meaning behind this fun abstract piece, as it demands viewers to consider how bizarre it is that the new generation will never live in a world without instant connection, and question what the human race will evolve into with the constant introduction of new technologies. “The children in The Unknown are similar to aliens — they play in new ways and they see the world differently.” The black backdrop implies that the pastel-coloured creatures are floating in a virtual world without any physical connection to reality, further emphasising the underlying message that “technology has taken control of our lives.”
Please do not Disturb
This photograph renders viewers helpless as a breath of surprise escapes their lips at the beauty of the raw, truthful image capturing “the monumentality and beauty of the seal’s lounging form set against the pristine landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula.” The simple, natural tones of the digital photograph convey the icy landscape as the artist “compensated for the irregularities of the icy surface and the high-contrast subject matter by using a telephoto lens and overexposing the photograph to highlight the intricate details of the seal’s fur and the pendulous drop of drool.” The artwork comments on environmental issues through the title, which not only “reflects the quiet repose of the seal,” but also “reminds the viewer of the ephemerality of a place subject to destruction through human actions and climate change.”
Cut from the Same Cloth
My thoughts immediately flew to Vincent Van Gogh’s “Great things are done by a small series of things brought together,” when I was considering what the artist’s statement might read for this installation. I was proven wrong as the small textbox included a quote not from Van Gogh, but from Jane Whiteley, reading: “Cloth covers our bodies all our lives, awake and asleep. We are intimate with cloth. It is built into us from the day we are born. We are fluent in its wordless languages and metaphors, just as we are with the unspoken language of touch.” The simple design of the single-toned artwork creates balance and unity throughout the piece, provoking a sense of comfort in the viewer. The aspect of the vertical work that grabs my attention is that every detail is exposed to the audience, ensuring that no sense of ambiguity or confusion will be felt when the viewer finally turns away.
Digital memories is a short film that “presents an alternate reality situation: if brain data were to be treated as digital files. The film comments on the vast digitisation of current life and our reliance on technology. With this, memories and information that were once contained in our minds lose their sensory value, becoming just bits of lifeless data.” The success of the film falls in its relevance to contemporary society, as it comments on an imperative element of current day social issues. With every new technological invention, humans become more and more reliant on electronic devices and stray further from reality.
If you’re in Brisbane, be sure to check out the exhibition before it closes on August 14th!