Based in Adelaide, Kasia Tons’ work explores personal narratives with universal themes such as home, identity, constructive chaos, and interpersonal relationships. She is also heavily influenced by daily life, science fiction, her lived environment, optimism, and trust.
In her current exhibition, After, Tons works with textiles to create soft sculptures, 2D works, and wearables. She uses masks and costumes as a way to provide comfort, decoration, and psychological expression, helping the wearer ease themselves from a digital world, where they are very much in control of how they are seen, to a world where they may feel a sense of exposure and nakedness. Through these works, Kasia has reimagined a future world where nature is valued and central, where there is deep connection with others and where there is a return to handmade crafts.
Like many of us, Kasia Tons initial plans for 2020 have not worked out the way she intended. At the end of 2019, she had set off for two months of solitary walking, connecting with other walkers she met along the way, but largely spending time alone and disconnected from the online world.
A few weeks after returning home, Australia was sent into lockdown with COVID-19 and Kasia found herself driven to a different kind of isolation, one where human interactions and socialisation all went online. Her life went “from feeling infinite in a natural sense to infinite in a digital sense”.
As Kasia was thrust back into a virtual world she began watching theatre online; documenting her daily life; and she spent time video calling and messaging friends. Despite being a lifeline to maintain meaningful relationships, the time spent cultivating an online persona left her feeling empty, and she desired that reconnection with her natural surroundings.
In light of the current global pandemic, Tons’ work seems more pertinent than ever, encouraging the viewer to consider the isolation that can come with being permanently connected and the magic of disconnecting from technology and reconnecting with the natural world.
After is now on display at Craft ACT and online until 17 October 2020.