Web - new artist book

Web is an open edition artist book of photographs documenting a collaborative project by installation artist Kath Fries and performance artist Patricia Alvarez.

This perforative installation explores Fries and Alvarez's dual interests in challenging voyeuristic dynamics and experimenting with the tactility of fibers to extend and entangle the body.

Presented at Gaffa Galleries Sydney, 24 February 2011, the event was titled Clothe the wold and meet the sky referencing Tennyson's 1833 poem, The Lady of Shallot
Similarly the title of this artist book, Web, also relates to famous lines in The Lady of Shallot:
"out flew the web and floated wide
the mirror crack'd from side to side".

Kath Fries' immersive installation of nylon netting and synthetic hair strands, is characteristic of her site-responsive practice, situating everyday and domestic materials to seemingly grow out of the nocks and crannies of an exhibition space. Her exploration of materiality, spatiality, archetypal narratives is extended in this work to invite another person to step beyond the role of passive viewer and actively interact with her work.

The live performance lasted two hours and involved Alvarez singing whilst braiding her own hair into the netting and hair extensions. Her performance continued until she became too ensnared to physically turn her head. At that point when she tentatively shifted position she dragged the whole installation with her, threatening to pull down the entire cave of netting and trap the audience.

If you would like to read more about this collaborative project and see images of the 2011 exhibition, have a look at these earlier posts and critics' reviews:

Strand installation at 4A Members Exhibition 2011

Gallery 4A Annual Members Show 2011, exhibition invitation

The 4A Annual Members' Exhibition
4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art
181-187 Hay Street, Haymarket, Sydney
15 - 23 December 2011

Each year 4A opens its doors and makes it's walls available to 4A members during the Annual Members' Exhibition. It's a way to thank members and for them to meet and share their creative talents with those who are part of the Asian-Australian cultural discussion.

4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is Australia's peak national body for contemporary Asian and Australian art and culture. 4A believes that Asian cultural thinking will have an important impact in the future. We are passionate about creating opportunities for artists and facilitating networks between Australia and the Asia-Pacific Region.

Kath Fries, Strand, 2011, nylon synthetic hair extensions,  electric cord, light bulb, and plinth. Dimensions variable. Detail view of top of work as installed at Gallery 4A

Kath Fries, Strand, 2011, nylon synthetic hair extensions, electrical cord, light bulb and plinth, dimensions variable. Detail view of bottom of work as installed at Gallery 4A.
"Strand is a tangled rope of apparently discarded hair ending in an illuminated light bulb. Human hair provokes polarized responses, in some circumstances it is a beautifying adornment, signalling seduction, but when shed becomes a revolting abject substance tangled in a bathroom drain. In Strand, nylon synthetic hair extensions bind an electrical current, forming a poetic metaphor about intimate connections between people. Like a lover's lock of hair traditionally kept as a memento, or the sense of intimacy (or repulsion), evoked when finding a strand of someone else’s hair on one's skin or clothing. Strand was created whilst artist-in-residence at The Lock-Up Newcastle in April 2011The transience of existence and fragility of life are recurring themes throughout my art practice. My work explores materiality, spatiality and archetypical narratives by marking a personal immediate engagement with time, place and physicality. I use domestic materials and natural elements to create site-sensitive installations and soft sculptures linking present experience to boarder considerations of humanity, history and future continuation."

Kath Fries, Strand Artist Statement, December 2011