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Bouquet of Cactus
This exhibition of the work of eight artists, all of whom exhibit regularly at Project Art Space in Wollongong, was held at the Shoalhaven City Arts Centre in January / February this year.
The works by Nicole Ison, Joni Braham and Suzi Krawczyk were of particular interest, especially the work using recycled plastics by Ison. "Four hundred and sixty six loaves" using the plastic tags from the packaging of loaves of bread sewn together to form a plastic 'chain mail' veil was at once delicate and intricate while the strength lay in the pattern laid out by the different coloured tags. Two other works by Ison, "Triangles" and "Squares", also combined this delicacy with the robustness of plastic, cut from 'mainly shampoo bottles' and the implied violence of nailing each element to the backing board. The patterns were simple but effective.
Joni Braham's "Looking forwards not back" an intricate sculpture from found material and paper mache was beautifully made and had a bizarre almost aggressive quality that makes the viewer slightly uneasy, I personally was not sure whether I could live in the same room for any length of time. Also on exhibition at the same time, in the Foyer Gallery, was an interesting exhibition of 'group' art made by the residents of Coastal Waters Aged Care.
Called "The Art of the Living Spirit"
It was a collaborative art project which aimed to provide the residents increased self-worth and confidence. The residents are quoted as saying that 'the creation of the art has bought pleasure, a sense of joy, relaxation, the satisfaction of achievement and amazement in making something so effective'. The joy that was found in the making, shows in the work, and there is real pleasure in viewing the works, such as 'To Live Again' and 'Life Force', produced through this meaningful art project
Max Dingle, artist, independent curator and writer resides on the south coast of NSW, Australia