'The Immortals' is a recent sculpture in a current
and on-going series where Dawson destroys a piece of Styrofoam by
applying layer after colourful layer of polyester resin. The Resin
acts as a highly corrosive material eating into and through the foam
only stopping its destructive path when its exothermic reaction
stops and the resin solidifies. The original form has changed into a
bejewelled yet pockmarked landscape, an acidscape.
The two collages 'Manhattan' and 'Sheffield' use 2 very different
photographic scenes, one a domestic kitchen scene the other a
landscape shot from a recently air-bound plane. In both instances
the images have been obliterated by the overlaying of screen printed
geometric patterns. A pattern of holes punched out of the photograph
reveals and allows a glimpse of an under-layer of colour from more
screen printed patterns. The dislocation from image is made complete
when the punched holes are then repositioned on surface of the
In 'The Immortals' Dawson asks us to look at a corrosive action with
the same set of values as a semi precious rock. Whilst in
'Sheffield' and 'Manhattan' Dawson portrays a world in layers with
images hovering between abstraction and recognition.
(From Art Now, Tate Britain)
Though considered at the time to be witty and irreverent, the
sculptures of the New Generation are quite minimal and restrained in
Far from restrained, transcendent plastic infinite is an explosion
of fantastical shape. This element of fantasy is born of the
influence of cartoon creations such as The Ren and Stimpy Show, The
brothers Grunt, and the work of Robert Crumb including Felix the Cat
and The Snoids - all of which are both mainstream and subversive.
Recognizable elements and iconographical motifs from the cartoons
are incorporated and fused with sculptural shapes that allude to the
work of Modernist sculptures. The humor of the popular culture
cartoon elements undercuts and lampoons the serious ideals of high
cultural Modernism, bringing it resoundingly back down to earth.
An ovoid form with holes, recalling the work of Barbara Hepworth,
oozes and drips with gunge and mucus as if it is a diseased living
being - its supposed organic nature taken to extremes. Elsewhere, a
star shaped block, similar to a piece by Jean Arp, grows hair and
farts from orifices - the abject nature of the life or essence it is
meant to possess sullying its purity. There is a Surrealist tendency
pervading Franks’ strange and uneasy comic creation, which may
explain the affinity to Hepworth and Arp’s biomorphic forms.
Relating to cornations and all things Royal, this assemblage of
object contains metal biscuit tins, trays and balls, each hand
engraved. Some of the original pattern remains on some of the pieces
creating a confusing but exquisite antique-like patina. The
assemblage forms the shape of a crown or helmet-head shape.
large-scaled works on paper and canvas approach drawing in a
multiplicity of ways by using the casual doodle as a starting point.
The work exploits the hand made mark to replicate and corrupt the
perfect logical beauty of the complex logarithmic languages of
fractals and wire frame graphics. The fallible wobble of the hand
drawn gesture replaces the certainties of the machine-coded world.
The drawings are made using model-makers tape, airbrush and
rapidograph pens, the outmoded tools of the graphic designer of the
past. This is combined with abstraction reminiscent of modernist and
futurist movements and the utopian stylization found in formal
The work deliberately exploits the ambiguities of form suggesting a
rambling set of associations - exercises in geometry, crystalline
structures, galactic imaginings or complex maps of tiny micro
machines and their silicone anatomies. The drawings have a sense of
pleasure in the detailed, meticulous rendering of lines to form a
landscape of structures and patterns against flat grounds of color.
Jen Wu is a video performance and installation artist. Her often
large and chaotic installations feature many simultaneous
performance endurance video works in and amongst a setting of
sculptures, furniture, building materials and her own clothing and
items. The prevalent sense is that of a fragmented real time
document of unfixed identities.
In some video works Wu seems to play out a role of fashion model,
presenting an ambivalent position of self-exploitation. In other
works she merely documents parts of her life; sleeping, driving, sex
and boredom are combined with a dense paraphernalia of furniture,
vintage fur coats and fabrics have an air of turn of the century
decadence, the boudoir. The building materials acts as a stand-in
for identity in progress/dismantled.
The aura of the social animal, the sexual libertine is forceful but
compellingly at odds with the inaction and the traumatic document
presented in the endurance video works. Whilst embracing the sense
of the Self inhabiting the Social, Wu tears apart self worth and
self-image, presenting herself often as fractured or merely blank.
taste, by Giovanni Intra (China Art Objects))
Situated between Chinoiserie and rococo decadence, Denise Kum’s art
engages an anthropological dandyism; it is never what it is supposed
to be. Utilizing multiple tropes of display, she traffics substances
into the gallery from the supermarket and the laboratory,
transforming them into essays on the uncanniness of shape and form.
Whether food or chemicals, we are confronted with both the
delectable and the poisonous.
In this sense, her installations in New Zealand and Australia since
1991 have amounted to a flotilla of migrating materials, a cargo
cult of rarefied oddities. Kum arranges alluring concoctions of
smell, heat, and movement; the results transport in the same way as
the glazed ducks turning perpetually in the windows of Chinese
restaurants. But whereas it is often drenched in its own materiality
- literally up to its elbows in what Robert Morris described as the
"stuff" and "slime" available to artists since Minimalism - Kum’s
work continues to dabble in the phenomenological playdough of
sculpture. A sensory encyclopedia, the tactile and olfactory
delicacies she offers are considerable. Lotus leaves, for instance,
simmer under hot lamps; dried, salted octopuses cast out wretched
odors, and gallons of soy sauce are left to develop lacy islands of
There is always something tasty about what Kum lays before an
audience. But hers is not an art of trifling gratification; or even
of disgust for that matter. For these sculptures made from
foodstuffs cannot simply be relished as symbolic consommés of Asian
culture, or as exotic spices in the seasoning of cultural
translation as some have been tempted to assume. Rather, staple
truths are put through a strainer.
It cannot be denied that Kum has suffered from a certain culinary
reputation - not an entirely inconvenient category in which to place
a Chinese woman artist. It is therefore imperative to understand how
her recent work has done much to problematize this apparent
essentialism. If cultural orality as told through the figure of
nutrition remains Kum’s guiding principle, this must now be expanded
to include the indigestible by-products of Western society.