Linden Innovators 2

Innovators 2 is on at the Linden Centre for Contemporary Art on Acland st in st kilda until the 24th of July, and the exhibiting artists are Dawn Gamblen & Minaxi May, Kirra Jamison, Elaine Miles, Valentina Palonen, Kristin Phillips and Naomi Troski.

I visited this exhibition yesterday and am always so happy to visit Linden because it is such a beautiful building, see the photo above. Having works installed in a building that is not generic makes for an interesting combination of site-specificity and attempted gallery context. I definitely think that the this context affected each work within the gallery both succesfully and unsuccesfully.

The Naomi Troski installation was definitely my favourite. The catalogue states ‘composed of white synthetic lattice suspended by rope, Troskis amorphous forms billow throughout Gallery 3. As you move around the room, in order to establish the optimum viewing angle to decode the ebb and flow of the plastic and rope structure you become acutley aware of how much you are looking through object rather than squarely at it’ I think for this reason being installed within a room that was almost completley windowed on one side, letting the light stream through to create a web of shadow and light within the room, was an integral part of the work. The windows on one side of the room coupled with the interlaced patterns blurred the demarkation between interior and exterior to create an otherwordly quality.

I also really enjoyed Kristin Phillips’ Burning up. The photo by no means does the work justice though, it consisted of one oversized flouro pink plinth and multiple small bronze casts of polymorphous shapes 'phallogothic’ I believe was the word used to describe it. This work was not so clearly affected by the context, however a hint at an engagement with the space could be found one of the small sculptures shaped appear as though melting off the marble mantle piece on the wall. It was difficult to clearly ascertain all of the elements within each small sculpture, and so it made the process of discovery more intriguing. Not sure if the gauche colour of the plinth worked with or against the congruity and coherence of the work, but I can always respect some sort of disruption to the standard 'sculpture-on-white-plinth’ default setting that galleries use.

I wasn’t such a fan of the Gamblen and May Piece which consisted of multiple bendy straws blu-tacked to the wall in various patterns and colours. Whilst I definitely recognise and encourage the use of found materials, (both the works I already decribed did so in one way or another) I feel like this work was not only over-powered by the space, it was doing nothing new to engage with contemporary practise. They sited Duchamp as an inspiration in the statement unsurprisingly, though I feel as though they desperately needed stronger conceptual grounds to justify the work as opposed to resting on the use of found material in combination with a vague critique of modern consumerism.