'Liquesce' screened in Reinvention Festival NYC

Reinvention Festival - Kath Fries logo

I'm thrilled that my video Liquesce, was exhibited in Reinvention Festival 2013 NYC in Manhattan. This is the first time that my work has been shown outside Australia.

I would like to thank Clay Paula, curator of the Reinvention Festival Video Lounge, for inviting me to include this work; and Peter Cramer for helping me produce Liquesce earlier in the year.

Kath Fries, Liquesce, 2013, still from video
Liquesce reflects the passage of time and a sense of impending loss. The transient imagery of beeswax melting in real time, challenges the viewer’s patience and commitment to watching the work gently unfold, as the wax gradually begins to glisten and then slowly melt, disintegrating into a liquid seepage. Liquesce documents these fragile cyclic transitions to form a metaphor about how we perceive and respond to experiences of life and death, as individuals and as part of the wider world.


Kath Fries, Liquesce screening at Reinvention Festival NYC, 2013


I am currently working with beeswax as a key material in many of my artworks. My use of beeswax began as tangible engagement with its tactility, malleability, adhesiveness, translucency and flux; but is now also informed by the alarming worldwide increase in mass deaths amongst domesticated honeybee populations, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Although we rely on domesticated honeybees to pollinate one third of all food crops globally, this epidemic is mainly caused by use of nemonic pesticides in the agricultural industry. My awareness of CCD adds another layer of meaning to my use of beeswax, considering how we are undermining our fragile relationships with bees regardless of their integral connection to our very survival.

Liquesce on vimeo - www.vimeo.com/85644086


Reinvention Festival Program

Reinvention Festival NYC
22-24 December 2013 

Banco do Brasil Concept Branch New York 

Bryant Park, 11 West 42nd Street 
Manhattan, New York


Reinvention Festival Invitation

Articulate turns three - group exhibition


Kath Fries, Pause, 2013, branch, fence paling, twine and beeswax,
200 x 60 x 60cm, link to more info about this work.
[left Anke Stacker, Postmemory; right Bettina Hill, All Folded Up (Icy Pole).]

I was happy to be invited back to Articulate Project Space to exhibit in their third birthday exhibition alongside: Adrian Hall Alicia Poppett Alison Clouston and Boyd Anke St├Ącker Annette Minchin Barbara Halnan Bettina Hill Billy Gruner and Sarah Keighery Chantal Grech Charlie Aarons Christine Olsen Elke Wohlfahrt Emma Hicks Emma Wise Fiona Kemp Gillian Lavery Helen Sturgess India Zegan Jane Burton Taylor Jane Gavan Jacek Przybyszewski Joan Grounds Kath Fries Kathryn Ryan Katie Williams Kelley Stapleton Kevin Sheehan Laine Hogarty Lesley Giovanelli Linden Braye Ling Yuen Lynne Barwick Mandy Burgess Margaret Roberts Marlene Sarroff Michele Beevors Michele Elliot Nola Farman Nuha Saad Paul Sutton Richard Kean Rose Anne McGreevy Shirley Cho Steven Fasan Tracey Clement Virginia Hilyard Vivienne Dadour Wendy Howard William Seeto.

Kath Fries, Pause, 2013, branch, fence paling, twine and beeswax, 
200 x 60 x 60cm, link to more info about this work.
[left Anke Stacker, Postmemory; and right Bettina Hill, All Folded Up (Icy Pole); Tracey Clement, Gecko Girl Count Down:5; Alison Clouston and Boyd, Remembering Bird Cry.]

Articulate Turns Three
6 - 22 December 2013
Articulate Project Space
497 Parramatta Rd, Leichhardt NSW

Articulate is an artist-run initiative formed in 2010 to support experimental contemporary art by providing rental space for projects, exhibitions and performance. It aims for a diverse program that emphasises installation and other spatial practices as well as critical and cross-disciplinary work and practices in which ‘idea dictates form’ rather than being medium-based. Fostering experimental projects and supporting the general arts community through artists’ talks, discussion forums, documentation, archives and publications. Articulate Project Space is run by a group of visual artists with studio and other connections to 497 Parramatta Road Leichhardt, whose diverse practrices share an interest in the relationships artworks form with their locations.

'Solace' and 'Liquesce', beeswax installations … THEN THINGS BEGIN TO CHANGE #ephemeral2013


Kath Fries, Solace, 2013, beeswax and petals on window and sun cast shadows on floor,
window dimensions 240x180cm

Kath Fries, Solace, 2013, sun cast shadows on floor – detail view


Kath Fries, Solace, 2013, beeswax and petals on window and sun cast shadows on floor,
window dimensions 240x180cm 

Kath Fries, Solace, 2013, sun cast shadows on floor – detail view 

My two installations in THEN THINGS BEIGN TO CHANGE #ephemeral2013, both interact with natural sunlight, so the viewers experience of the work is inevitably linked to the weather conditions and time of day when it is viewed. The window in Archive Space is catches the summer sunlight between 2pm to 4pm at this time of year, ideal timing for illuminating my installation Solace. Made with beeswax sheets and blossom petals pressed directly onto the window panes, the sunlight passing through Solace causes a dappled grid of shadows to move across the gallery floor.


Kath Fries, Solace, 2013, beeswax and petals on window – detail view


Kath Fries, Solace, 2013, beeswax and petals on window – detail view


Kath Fries, Solace, 2013, beeswax and petals on window – detail view

The sheets of beeswax are commercially made from melted down comb (from honeycomb after the honey is removed), cast into thin panes with embossed hexagonal patterning. The tactile sensory nature of this material is heightened by its thin dispersal, drawing attention to its smell and colour influenced by changes in light and differing temperatures. These uniform sheets have an intriguing translucency and mathematical patterning that echoes the wax's original state in the hive. However the comb structure in a real beehive is more organic and chaotic, in a constant state of change - something I wanted to echo in this work. So I melted sections of the beeswax sheets causing and capturing irregular bubbles and dribbles. The neat rectangular edges of the sheets were  torn, broken or cut along the hexagonal patterning, and then reconfigured so the final composition looked a little like icebergs separating, melting and floating away.  Originally the beeswax sheets have a natural warm yellowy-orange honey coloured hue but like most pigments (natural and artificial) this gradually fades over time when exposed to sunlight. This colour drain was a very subtle change in the work over the two week period, one that I found interesting to observe as a sign of ageing.


Kath Fries, Solace, 2013, beeswax and petals on window – detail view


Kath Fries, Solace, 2013, beeswax and petals on window – detail view

The smell of the beeswax was also an integral part of the work, human visitors could smell the work as soon as they walked through the door, but it seems that the local bees could smell it further away than people could. Over sixty bees visited the installation during the exhibition, attracted by the sweet honey smell and disappointed that there wasn't actually anything there that they could eat.


Kath Fries, Solace, 2013, beeswax, petals and visiting bees on window – detail view


Kath Fries, Solace, 2013, beeswax, petals and visiting bee on window – detail view


My other work in this exhibition, Liquesce, documented my experience of melting beeswax sheets. In contrast to Solace, Liquesce could only be viewed when there was little or no sunlight in the room so there was an almost choreographed interaction of appearing and disappearing, as each could only properly be viewed at different times in the day, not simultaneously. Liquesce is a video projection showing the transient stages of beeswax melting in real time. It challenges the viewer’s patience and commitment to watching the work gently unfold, as the wax gradually begins to glisten and then slowly melt, disintegrating into a liquid seepage. Liquesce documents these fragile cyclic transitions to form a metaphor about how we perceive and respond to experiences of life and death, as individuals and as part of the wider world.

I would like to thank Peter Cramer for his assistance producing the video and Katy Preston for her assistance with equipment and installing Liquesce.


Kath Fries, Liquesce, 2013, single channel video projection (14.22mins), beeswax and wood

Kath Fries, Liquesce, 2013, single channel video projection (14.22mins) beeswax and wood
"That we live in an era in which we are inundated with imagery through social media is not a new observation. The drive to capture the everyday (our friends; surroundings; food; ourselves) through applications such as Instagram has become second nature, and increasingly common is the phenomenon of photographing and sharing visual culture in the form of art exhibitions. While this practice of documentation has interesting implications for all art forms, it has particular ramifications for the ephemeral.
Established in an attempt to raise questions of temporality, transition, life and decay, the tradition of ephemeral art is not merely temporary in installation, but is conceived to mark the passage of time. Living, dying and evolving within the exhibition context, these artworks constitute a different experience for every viewer, and as such capturing a single moment of their existence in a photograph highlights, and at times prolematises, their transient nature.
THEN THINGS BEGIN TO CHANGE… #ephemeral2013 explores this strengthening form of digital interaction with the world and probes its potential relationship with the transitional by presenting an exhibition of ephemeral art forms and asking observers to document its physical changes in a cumulative virtual exhibition. Working on varying temporal cycles and continuums, the artworks of Kath Fries, Julia Grove, Kathyrn Ryan and Alexandra Spence included in the exhibition mark the passing of time through shifts in light, sound and material.
Focusing on the complexities of our human relationships with nature through her artistic practice, Kath Fries creates works that utilise organic materials to demonstrate the effect of time. Fries' beeswax window installation, Solace, explores the delicate impermanence of this medium, taking advantage of its translucent nature to allow sunlight to dapple through the patterned sheets and rest upon the gallery floor. With every passing minute the shadows cast by the raw material shift and warp, caught in a daily cycle. Liquesce also examines the organic properties of beeswax, documenting the transitional stage at which its geometric grids dissolve when melted. Playing as a projected loop this contemplative work allows the viewer to see this gradual structural devolution in a slow cyclical form.
… In a constant state o flux, THEN THINGS BEGIN TO CHANGE… #ephemeral2013 is a dynamic environment in which changing artworks take part in a shifting dialogue with one another and the viewer. It is the photographs these viewers take that will serve to document the evolution of the show's appearance, creating a virtual exhibition that will last indefinitely, long after the physical show has literally ceased to exist."
Extract from exhibition essay, by curator Katy Preston


You can view Instragram photos of the exhibition on Webstragram - www.web.stagram.com/tag/ephemeral2013

Screen shot of Instragram photos of the exhibition on Webstragram www.web.stagram.com/tag/ephemeral2013

Further documentation of the exhibition and the full exhibition essay will be posted in the Archive section of the Archive Space website soon www.archivespace.com.au/archive.html 


THEN THINGS BEGIN TO CHANGE #ephemeral2013 - exhibition invitation