Interior Exterior

Colourful grid tapestry.

Avi Amesbury | Jonathan Baskett | Debra Boyd Goggin | Rozlyn de Bussy | Linda Davy | Judi Elliott | Dianne Firth | Ruth Hingston | Paull McKee | Gilbert Riedelbauch | Julie Ryder | Christa Sanders | Nancy Tingey | Monique Van Niewland

Contemporary craft and design in Canberra is a diverse and vibrant field. The number of successful craft and design practitioners that have an international and national reputation is above average for a population of the size of the ACT and demonstrates the extraordinary strength of this local sector.

To further awareness of local contemporary craft artists and designers Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre hosts a program titled the Accredited Professional Members (APM’s). This peer assessed program promotes professionalism, excellence and innovation in craft and design while recognising respected artists, designer/makers and younger professionals, who demonstrate a high standard of artistic and technical skill. Each year Craft ACT curates an exhibition drawing on the skills of its Accredited Professional Members.

Interior Exterior

This year’s exhibition aims to be inclusive by having a theme that could be argued to exist in all things an interior and an exterior. In looking at the creation of a form from the outset this exhibition aims to provide discourse around the displacement of space by objects; the notion of duality and the association of function to the interior and exteriors of forms.

Robert Bell’s recent survey exhibition of decorative arts and design at the National Gallery of Australia aptly titled Transformations highlighted the fact that in the creation of an artwork, existing materials are indeed transformed. This mercurial process often involves the repositioning of material to create an interior and at times the creation of a solid three dimensional form where the density of material, its interior, is consistent within a perceived outer limit or skin. Whether the concept of an interior is accessible or unseen is immaterial, depending only on the imagination of the viewer or the suggestive skills of the artist.  While an additive approach to form creation often mimics repetitive patterns found in nature, making methods involving heat tend to evoke natural metamorphic processes.

Central to artistic practice and the process of making is the desire to present finished work in a gallery context. A point arrives when an artwork is produced and is deemed ready to be put into a gallery. The work is either placed or installed in the gallery space and depending on its overall form it either displaces space and or invites the space into itself. For example, a balloon type form pushes the space around itself outward to give itself some room while in net type form, the space is free to come in and out of it while still being captured by it. In some cases the placement of a form in space creates two distinct areas or spaces either side of it, suggesting alternative interior and exterior spaces. The exhibition also demonstrates how artists can express imagined spaces graphically. The interaction of form with space is paramount to the reading of a work, and it is this dialogue that defines an object’s ability to express an interior and exterior.

The setting up of a duality during the creative process generates a relationship that feeds off itself and informs the direction an artwork takes. It can also lead to the application of function to an interior, an exterior or both. The duality of interior/exterior is an innate quality with which we seamlessly connect as we ourselves fit into the category of having both these qualities. While an interior naturally has connotations to a vessel and the ability to contain, an exterior has the capacity to protect and repel the elements. It a symbiotic relationship found in most things and suggested here in this exhibition. At times the duality can be compounded, for example a soft exterior can be coupled with a menacing exterior, however ultimately the key to a successful work is its clarity in expressing an overall rationale.

In conclusion, the creation of form inevitably sets up a duality that involves an interior and an exterior. This coupled with the interaction of a form with space leads to the possibility of associating function internally or externally, that proposes meaning and invites reading. It is this collection of work by the APM’s in 2008 that succinctly highlights the skills of artists to respond to a theme and the serendipity that arises through the model of the curated exhibition. 

Jas Hugonnet

September 2008

Image: Monique Van Nieuwland, Nattai River Rocks 2008. Photo: Craft ACT.