Monday, 12 February 2018

Pamela Leung

link to artist's website

10 February - 11 March       Sorry I No Understand



Pamela Leung. Sorry I No Understand, 2018. Neon light with broken egg shells

Pamela Leung. Sorry I No Understand, 2018. Neon light with broken egg shells

Pamela Leung’s artworks draw on the idea of hope, which is integral to the migratory experience. Hope underpins relationships and customs, which are profoundly affected by displacement and diaspora. Leung’s found materials and everyday objects, epitomize the routines of daily life, while their functionality provides a symbolic reading for the sculpture and installations –  in which red and white connect to the cultural, spiritual, Zen, meditation, memories and emotions.

SORRY I NO UNDERSTAND is a new work using text to reflect on the experience of dislocation, and the humanity within social justice. The line of the title has been said thousands of times whenever there have been immigrants. But how often has it been neither heard nor understood?

Sorry I don’t understand this country.
Sorry I don’t understand the culture.
Sorry I don’t understand the language.
Sorry I don’t understand the people.
Sorry I don’t have a choice.
Sorry I have to escape.
Sorry I need to live.
Sorry I need to survive.
Sorry please listen to me instead of yelling.
Sorry please be patient with me instead of annoyed.
Sorry please give me a smile instead of anger.
Sorry please share some empathy instead of pity.

Pamela Leung

Pamela Leung. Sorry I No Understand, 2018. Neon light with egg shells.
Pamela was born in Hong Kong with the desire to be an artist.  She became a window dresser, when as an adult she left home with a 3 month Australian tourist visa Australia in her pocket. Here she became a wife, a mother, a businesswoman, and a hard worker, then, about a decade ago she turned her back on home for a second time with nothing more than the desire to make art in her pocket.

Education, the Australian key to change began at TAFE for Pamela. A one-year Diploma in Art became an undergraduate course in sculpture at the National Art School then an honors year in drawing and finally a master’s degree in painting. It was an education in Australia that has given us this, art works that Pamela flatly states, “draw on the idea of hope”.  It is of course the migrant’s vision. It’s a glorious one that is tempered by dislocation, social injustice and the plea, “sorry I no understand”.

Pamela asks, “the title has been said thousands of times but how often has it been heard or understood?” When I read it I can’t help recalling Pauline Hanson’s infamous retort, “please explain”.  Explanation and understanding don’t often include empathy. Empathy is something we leave to artists who, however educated in our societies manners have the need to be heard, in this case gloriously so in neon above a carpet of trampled eggshells. This is a work of innuendo read in material and metaphoric terms that propose tolerance, not of anything in particular but as an act of faith.

Tony Twigg

Sorry I No Understand on 38 Botany Road, Alexandria

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Ana Pollak

link to artist's website

12 January - 10 February       Towers

Ana Pollak. Towers, 2018. Eucalyptus Spirularis (Blackbutt ) on plywood.


Ana’s farther and her grandparents came to Australia as refugees from Europe. Ana herself has lived for the last 30 years, since 1987 in a house she built with her partner David on Dangar Island, about an hour and a half north of Sydney in the Hawkesbury River. Ana is no stranger to the Australian landscape where these towers began to form in her imagination.

Ana Pollak. Towers, 2018. Eucalyptus Spirularis (Blackbutt ) on plywood.

They are an idea she carried with her to Hong Kong, another island where the verticality of the eucalypt gives way to the built environment, literally towers.  Hong Kong offers the unique urban experience of encountering multi story buildings at the middle level. As with Ana’s towers, buildings are appreciated without reference to the top or bottom. The towers of Dangar and the buildings of Hong Kong are each a set of pragmatic structures that pulsate with rhythms without reference to the narrative constraints of a beginning or end.
In Hong Kong as a guest of the Nock Art Foundation to study calligraphy, as she described “people embraced me in the brotherhood of the line.” Ana makes drawings.  Impressively she won the celebrated Dobell Drawing Prize in 2007, and before all else, these towers are drawings made with lines collected “outside the front door” on Dangar Island.

Ana Pollak. Towers, 2018. Eucalyptus Spirularis (Blackbutt ) on plywood.

Looking at Ana’s towers I found myself reflecting on the bamboo scaffolding used on the building sites of South East Asian cities. Structures Ana said she had marveled at in Hong Kong where they are tightly wrapped in a fabric covering hinting at “the bones” beneath the “skin”. All these enigmatic structures have something in common. It is that a person made the decision on the spot, about how to fit one bit into another, about which bit of material was best suited to bridge a particular gap. Here a person has solved a problem and it’s that solution that becomes art because it carries with it someone’s humanity. Birds, animals even insects make comparable structures that in fairness have an equal claim as ART. Their work points to the universality of Ana’s expression. It reaches from the devastation of war-torn Europe across the Australian isle to our Asian future, “the brotherhood of line” indeed.

Back in Australia and after 6 weeks in her studio Ana’s work is offered as art, prompting the questions. What do you seen in your imagery? Her response, “pass”. What is your process? – “pass”. How do you begin? – “pass”. And how do you conclude? “That’s the tricky thing that everyone’s having a problem with, when the tower falls over, when it gets too tall for the studio”. Apparently this is a liner experience without beginning or end.

- Tony Twigg

Sunday, 10 December 2017

Kathryn Cowen

Link to artist's site

02 December - 6 January      #Otherworlds

Kathryn Cowen. #Otherworlds {in daylight}
2017. Ultraviolet light, posca pen, acrylic, aerosol, and fluorescent paint on board. 1.5x2 m

Kathryn Cowen. #Otherworlds {at dusk}
2017. Ultraviolet light, posca pen, acrylic, aerosol, and fluorescent paint on board. 1.5x2m

This large scale landscape in an amalgam of disparate elements gleaned from a variety of sources. The intention was to create a strange environment that is  inspired by the world and yet presents a portal to an alternate reality; a meeting place of the real and the imagined.

This painting installation is an experiment. For the first time I have incorporated light as a medium. In order to further explore my interest in time, space, place and memory; two versions of the landscape are held within the one painting. The reading of the work will morph from day to night. Once darkness descends, ultraviolet light interacts with the painted work in order to transform the space and reveal an alternate dimension, a world that is “Other”.

#Otherworlds. 2017. Installation view in daylight.

#Otherworlds. 2017. Installation view at dusk.

With thanks to Tony Twigg for providing a venue to bring art to the street and so
generously accommodating this crazy experiment at SLOT.

And to my partner in life and love, Matt Macadam. Without his encouragement, support, lighting and installation skills this project could not have been realised.

Kathryn Cowen
December 2017