KIERA BREW KUREC, DANA LAWRIE, SARAH POULGRAIN
2 – 16 June, 2018
Curated by BRIDIE GILLMAN and ALEXANDER KUCHARSKI [STABLE].
unSTABLE brings together the work of three artists whose multimodal practices exploit materiality and foreground the instability of their subject matter. Brisbane-based Dana Lawrie and Sarah Poulgrain and Melbourne-based Keira Brew Kurec share the use of humble materials and muted colours that reflect a personal connection to their artworks. While the artists approach their subject matter with different focuses, Poulgrain with crude construction, Brew Kurec with performative ritual, and Lawrie with iterative process, they result in formal outcomes: static video, regular shapes, and homogenous materials.
Instability does not come naturally to us at STABLE, as our name implies. But ARIs are not stable, the arts are not stable, and unSTABLE is too good a pun to pass up. The artists selected here search for stability with impermanent materials. Brew Kurec and Poulgrain use unfired clay, which carries with it inevitable collapse, but couch these pieces in still camera shots, with all the permanence of digitization and repetitive narrative. Similarly, Lawrie naturally dyes fabric that fades over time, but is fixed in place and features regular angles that imply a stable structure.
The works share a meditative rhythm that is quiet but demanding, and again reflect a stable-unstable duality in their form. Lawrie’s process is painstaking and consistent, but her results speak of impermanence (instability) and attempting to become comfortable with its existence (stability). Poulgrain’s looped and dialogic videos lull the viewer into the stability of unending contemplation, though they are based on uncomfortable past interactions. Brew Kurec’s iterative choreography features stable motion, yet speaks of the body and its multitude of functions and forms.
Poulgrain’s 16 in 4 parts enters the uncanny valley; her smooth digital editing process results in anthropomorphized sculpture that in the context of an ABC Kids program might be charmingly lifelike, but here in its absurdist screenplay is confrontingly surreal. Similarly, Lawrie’s constructions resemble nature, featuring its degradation and materials: resins, plant stems, and organic pigments, but blend these with the observably human in form and material: block text, self-portrait, biro, and synthetic paint. The jolting dissimilarity between materials like pen ink and natural dye in Back pedal Dana is emblematic of Lawrie’s practice, highlighting the same unease as 16 in 4 parts that lies beneath a polished final product.
Contrastingly, Brew Kurec foregrounds the harmony in her work: a poetic similarity between its aesthetic presentation and its technical make-up. Though flowing choreography and undoctored video combine to create a smooth surface effect, like the other artists’ work, the unease in Gestures stems from its content, rather than its method of construction. This unease is better understood as a potential, the video’s vessels acting as proxies for women’s bodies and their ability to be vessels, literally, juxtaposing their fragility and strength in the same motion.
Bringing these artists together at The Walls situates them in a larger exhibition space than our own, leaving the work room to breathe. The high ceilings and stark backdrop highlight the exhibition’s subtleties, while its inner warmth radiates. unSTABLE, despite the tension of its name, will keep you cosy in the mild Gold Coast winter.
—Bridie Gillman and Alexander Kucharski, 2018