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By Zacha Rosen
June 20, 2011

2 Exhibitions

Gaffa offers exhibitions with stark fabric and fragile biology.
By Zacha Rosen
June 20, 2011

Interwoven IIIis a group show from the Design Institute of Australia. Jessica Robertson's 'slow palette' designs are felt scarves, jackets and dresses each made from a single rectangular slab of fabric — like a toga, but easier to apply. Megan Jackson's eye motif screenprints aren't complicated, but are well effective, while Kate Ward screen-prints chairs, cushions and curtains in sharp white links over solid colour.

Also in present is Steve Woods' Screenhaus, a corner dominated by six giant prints. A native American bust by graffiti artist Sebastian Vicarro Indio, a patched woman at work by Mike Watt, Ryan Bharj's simple and strong Lucha Libre mask, a 1968 French protest banner, Onnie Cleary's relaxed, comfortably lined Get Over Your Hang-Ups: A Young Person's Guide to Call Centres, and Paul Shanta's 'Power Punch' — a fist made out of sound effects from comics. Each is sharp, with strong rough black lines. Each, on a wall, has enough style to centre a philosphy.

Catriona Secker's Curious Nature is a collection of oil, acrylic and pencil sketches. Her animals and strange organisms would not look out of place in the background of a Shawn Tan picture book, but her style owes more to kawaii and the microscope than his sharp, weird style. Biology and cell cultures seem to give life to her soft organisms. One black and white image is covered in eyes, while in another, two sharp-faceted viruses menace an embryo in a bucolic collection of seaweeds and nematode plants. The embryo is not sleeping. Her coloured works are bloodier. Though none of them are cut open, each image pulses with the fragile blood of embryonic vessels: fragile, transparent, visceral. She combines the plant with the animal: flowering engorged fronds, tentacles and crinolated viscera. Her pictures are unsettling, organic, soft and cute. Safe from a distance.

Image by Catriona Secker.

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