Amanda Dziedzic, Danielle Rickaby, Lauren Simeoni, and Melinda Young

9 September - 22 October 2016

Grow Your Own explores the idea of 'the greenhouse', an intimate indoor space providing a fertile background for four makers working in diverse mediums who cultivate, cross-pollinate and present exciting new works in a captivating environment. All the artists have a common love of the garden and the natural world which manifests into their aesthetic and conceptual practices.

 

 

For centuries the natural world has magnetised artists. The microscopic details, the colours, the scents, the scale and texture within botanicals particularly attract and inspire creative minds. Perhaps there is a familiarity that draws a maker into this world; we are all surrounded by nature in all its forms, from experiencing the wonderment of an ecosystem to ‘the birds and the bees’, or the regenerative processes of nature. Grow Your Own takes four craftswomen from around Australia, Adelaide (Lauren Simeoni and Danielle Rickaby), Melbourne (Amanda Dziedzic) and Sydney (Melinda Young) to Canberra to explore this world and present a beautifully surreal botanic wonderland.

More than a love for the natural world in common is the sense of humour of the artists. In addition to committed and mastered craftwork the works explore fruitopia with a keen kitschness and tongue in cheek approach.

Lauren Simeoni and Melinda Young in particular access a gaiety across their practices. Both jewellers utlilise their silversmithing training within their works (ANU and SCA respectively), while also enjoying the indulgence of sourced plastic imitation fruits and flora as primary materials. Scale is an important aspect of natural flora, with the tiniest most beautiful details often overlooked - but not by the eyes of a jeweller whose gaze is focused on the most initimate and precious of details. Metamorphic greenery not only fascinates in the micro, but also in its ability to grow, spread and proliferate in wild abudance. Like megaflora, Simeoni and Young can scale their work to enormous proportions, utilising the accessibility of their materials and capitalising on the abundance of colour and absurdity of material imitation. Together Simeoni and Young have been exploring fake foods and flora in their collaborative interstate exchange Unatural, naturally since 2007. Iterations of the exhibition Unatural, naturally have toured galleries around Australia & New Zealand, with the pair also curating an exhibition titled Unatural Acts a group exhibition (also exploring the natural world through imitation components) originally conceived for San Francisco’s renowned Velvet da Vinci Gallery. In addition to exhibiting their work in galleries the pair is known for adorning the city in which they exhibit with fake flora, literally taking to the streets with plastic foliage and super glue. Their works often intertwine, with audiences at times unable to differentiate between the artists pieces. There is beauty in a truly collaborative project, in the viewers difficulty ascertaining where one maker finishes (or begins) anothers work.

Amanda Dziedzic and Danielle Rickaby not only share inspiration and a fascination for the natural world, they also share a love of and dedication to hot glass. Although their practices are seperate and individually distinct they often share a working space, and as the nature of glassblowing requires, work as a team on collaborative production processes.

Rickaby’s cartoon-like narrative explores the preciousness of the natural world. Her work focuses on overlooked or mundane aspects of the domestic garden, such as a suburban lawn or an unattended dirt patch. From banality she playfully creates tokens and treasures that portray the detail of a blade of grass, or the complexity of texture and colour within soil. Recently Rickaby has extended her practice to include flame worked glass, in which she achieves more detail and colour exploration, broadening the translation of botanicals.

Dziedzic’s exhibition work also hints at the reinvigoration of the lamp worked glass movement in Australia. She combines blown glass and lamp work to create incredibly detailed and realistic interpretations of vegetation, specifically garden vegetables. Her recent solo show I Dream A Glasshouse reinforced the natural world as her muse, transforming a gallery space into a stage of luscious colour and growth. Her practice focuses on fulfilling a universal desire for colour; through chromatic patterns and textures she harnesses nostalgic and familiar aspects of the natural world and presents them masterfully in glass.

There is a strength and an irony in four craftswomen armed with oxy torches, hammers and a glass furnace creating floral crafts; once a traditional hobby craft created by the lady of the house – recontextualised into social commentary by contemporary artists. Though Grow Your Own, is more than just a comment on DIY and sustainability, the works subtly comment on our place in the world, our observations on and affinities with our natural and built environments. Historically jewellery has revealed a wearers social and economic hierarchy through material, what is this commentary when materials are mass produced and salvaged? Perhaps currency does not lie in material but in conceptual rigour and craftmanship. The makers utilise materials commonly used within industry and mass production but eloquently master them to articulate the nuances of the natural world.

 

Debbie Pryor
Curator and Writer