The Bower Birds
A bower bird doesn't choose to collect and arrange the objects it’s found or stolen, it does so because that is its life. Nature’s greatest seducer is quite simply driven by its DNA. It does, because it is.
Recently in Broome, two artists collaborated to arrange objects, paintings and images to seduce people’s visual and spatial senses. Ian McConnell and Tomoko Yamada staged a pop up exhibition in vacant Chinatown retail space. This was not an exhibition with the object of maximizing profit from sales. This was an exhibition formed of two artists driven to create. Yamada’s sculptural installation commanded the centre of the gallery space. Made from cotton, yarn and rope “Continuation” as its name suggests is a work that may never be finished. The organic woven shapes, evocative of rope or vine have been evolving over 5 months. They were suspended between the ceiling and a low plinth, presenting a challenge to the viewer to decide if they were hanging down or reaching up. They seemed to have life, as they moved delicately in their suspended state.
The line of sight through Continuation drew the viewers’ eye to the largest of McConnell’s works in the gallery. “Simpsons Beach” a painting consisting of acrylic, oil, and pindan on linen dominated the gallery wall and provided a visual complimentary contrast to Yamada’s installation. The work was completed using the end of discarded rope, found on Simpson’s beach, as a brush. The broad lines swept freely across the linen to create the perfect landscape effect. It is a painting painted for no reason other than art.
Next to McConnell’s “Simpson’s Beach” hung “White Bower” a masterfully executed painting of a Bower Bird’s Bower. It had great structure, depth and composition and provided a fitting metaphor, for not only the exhibition, but also the artists.
Originally published as "Local Aesthetic" in the Broome Advertiser 12 August 2015.