Out of time features work by Michelle Heldon, Taryn Raffan and Kath Fries, from their recent residencies in Greenland, Iceland and Finland. The terrains of these Nordic countries continue to resound with narratives, mysterious secrets and silences, gifts and perils of frozen and forested landscapes, which are also the background to and the source of most European fairytales. Out of time traces individual personal engagements with specific locations, featuring works that range from drawings and sculptures to videos, photographs and installations. Each artist’s practice resonates with storytelling traditions, exploring complex interconnections rather than didactic linear descriptions. Together they convey felt experiences and responses to the pull of the magical, inner power of the landscapes, icebergs, forests, lava fields and cultures of the far north.
Out of time reaffirms the fairytale location of timeless – set in a ‘once upon a time’ epoch, not fixed historically but rather reinterpreted constantly. The term fairytale invites an engagement with mythical realms or parallel universes; and as it opens up collective, shared and personal imaginative spaces, so that a new folklore emerges, full of the potential for encountering the magical and believing in the unknown and unexplainable. Now, on the other side of the world, the question arises – how do these experiences, artworks and narratives translate back home in Australia? Such frozen fairytales may initially seem out of place, as well as out of time, here. Yet in between these vast, isolated landscapes lies a common denominator for these artists, an innate human desire to connect to land, spirit and folklore. Bridging an age-old instinct to wander; to experience seasons and environments; and to relate their surreal findings back to the familiar, their stories are transported, blended, reconstructed and adapted into contemporary understandings of existence and open-ended imaginations.
Michelle Heldon’s videos of melting snowballs and handmade micro-icebergs conjure an embodied engagement with time and narrative traditions. In Greenland she investigated water as a changing modality to express transition, conveying echoes of Inuit Shamanic beliefs in spirits within nature and hints at a secret language for transition into other realms. michelleheldon.com
Taryn Raffan’s drawings of spirit faces similarly consider the transformations, both perceived and experienced, during her residency in Iceland. Her sculptural series also reflect how components of the self evolve when affected by the landscape; and how one can feel present within vastness yet also connected to indistinct imaginations, paralleling how fairytales and folklore deconstruct this process into a character format. tarynraffan.com
Kath Fries’ installations and photographs explore renditions of the Finish wild forest within the sheltered, protected internal spaces of buildings. These works consider the permeability of our constructed boundaries as physical walls become enchanted when fiction merges with reality. kathfries.com
Out of time
6-21 May 2016
10 Junction St Marrickville NSW 2044
Open: Thurs-Fri 11am-6pm, Sat 11am-5pm