Between the personal and the profound
On Anna Leary at Woollaston Estates Gallery, by Andy Clover
"By creating these works in specific, limited time-frames, the artist sets up for the discussion on our artificially constructed sense of time that is so contrary to the ongoing transition of the earthıs natural rhythms."
Lets call it a pod.
One, on its own, resembles a seed or a bud - a shape we are familiar with from our observation of nature. Yet this shape is not necessarily natural as such... it could be a petal or a flower perhaps, but it also resembles the business end of a waka paddle...
These pods are slick and shiny. Hi-gloss, like Darth Vaderıs helmet or a polished convertible. Natural, yet clearly wo/man-made?
Arranged as they are in groups of four or seven, twenty-four or twenty-eight, new forms are visible. There is pattern, symbolism, geometry.
Again some of it is familiar - the hibiscus flower motif so reminiscent of our Pacific Isles. Floral, yet industrial?
It is the contradiction so inherent in these pieces, and the depth of thought behind their making, that marks this show as a significant evolution for the artist, Anna Leary. For over three years now Anna has been developing and refining not only the technicalities of manufacturing these moulded plastic supports, but also the way she applies the paint to their beautifully curved surfaces. The result of her efforts speaks eloquently for itself.
The pods are slick and shiny, glowing with their applied colourings yet also capable of reflecting ambient light and shadow. The result is a constant change and shift in the work which perfectly captures the notion of transition so critical to the artistıs intention.
Take some time...
Itıs common to conceptualise time as a fixed and finite period - an hour, a day, one year. Yet time is constantly in transition - it is the indefinite and continual progress of existence. In these works Anna uses time as a fundamental part of her process of making. By creating these works in specific, limited time-frames, the artist sets up for the discussion on our artificially constructed sense of time that is so contrary to the ongoing transition of the earthıs natural rhythms.
She asks, are we so busy working nine to five, forty hours a week, fifty-two weeks a year until weıre sixty-five years old... that weıre losing touch with nature? What about our nature? How do we resolve the demands and complexities of modern existence and still find the time to honour our true selves? She is searching, asking, seeking. There are no answers here, just more questions.
And so the cycle continues. The moon rises in the night sky, tides ebb and flow. The clouds over Tasman Bay scurry across this much admired vista, and Anna paints her intuitive responses to the changing light.
Once painted and dry, it is fixed, permanent. An indelible record of a moment in time on a two dimensional surface pushed into three dimensional relief. Then these pods leave her quiet studio to be hung in a bustling gallery. There are new lights, new apertures, and people come and go.
And so the light changes, and these works shift again. They are pinned on the wall, but you cannot pin them down. They live somewhere between the personal and the profound.