Sensory overload at the GRAG

BY TOM SEBO, 14 Oct, 2011 09:46 AM

Mahoney’s Goulburn Exhibition

ABSTRACT: Esteemed Australian artist Kaye Mahoney standing in front of one of the works in her latest exhibition, Moving Imagery, which is currently on display at the Goulburn Regional Art Gallery. Photo: Tom Sebo.

THE Goulburn Regional Art Gallery (GRAG) is currently hosting esteemed Australian artist Kaye Mahoney’s first major solo exhibition since returning to Australia in 2009, after being based in New York for 15 years. Mahoney is an accomplished artist and has studied and exhibited all over the world. She graduated with honours from the Australian National University and a Masters of Fine Art from the New York Academy of Art. She was also a resident artist at the Il Laboratorio per Affresco di Vainella in Tuscany in the 1990s.

Her latest exhibition, Moving Imagery, is heavily inspired by the theories of John Cage and the strategies of the Fluxus movement of the 1960s. It chronicles the sensory experiences of everyday life. “(The works on display) are abstract but they become metaphors for existence in the same way music is,” she said. “(They are) works that really address more my intellectual and philosophical preoccupations and my love of experimentation. I love the conception of ideas and the metamorphosis of ideas.”

The exhibition is made up of several bodies of work, the first a set of paintings, which explore the visual and sensory interpretation of sounds, music and events.

Mahoney told the Post that these paintings were based on Cage’s theory that music wasn’t just made by composers but that it was all around us, even in silence. This is best depicted in her series called Trios. “The whiter parts represent the silence and everywhere I deviate from white represents the things you may find in the silence around you,” she explained. “(Where as) my colourful works are more about music. The chroma of the works, it hopefully evokes the sense of musical notes and sounds.”

The exhibition also features a lot of technology, including “An Arrangement of Notes”, which is an interactive multimedia installation comprised of more than 30 separate works, and a series video progressions. By using stop motion video, Mahoney tracks the creative process of some of the larger paintings, from the inception of the idea through to the finished product.

“With those (works) it was a Cagean approach in that it wasn’t animated it was just one shot after another. So every shot, even if there was a mistake, was recorded,” she said. “As an artist you have to think a lot about what you want to put out there but in this sense it’s all in there so it’s a look inside the mind’s eye. It allows you to peel back the layers one by one… I relish the fact that I can participate by looking back on the process, I’m always finding new ideas and concepts in the work.”

“By seeing those videos, I hope the viewer will go out into the rest of the gallery and have an appreciation of the history of the finished works.”

One of the most interesting components of the exhibition is the artist’s two and a half dimensional works. Each is oil on double sided Perspex and gives a unique insight into the artist’s psyche. “The idea is that paintings are representative; that paintings are made up of several layers, in the same way as music, and they reflect my personal philosophy on truth and that is that there is no one real truth in any existence, just a multiplicity of viewpoints,” she said.

GRAG director Jane Cush is thrilled to host Mahoney’s new exhibition and thought it would have wide appeal within the community, saying its interactive nature made it quite unique.

“There is quite a lot of technology and it’s hard to get those types of shows,” she said.

Ms Cush said the gallery always tried to reflect the times and that so far the reaction to show had been great, from young and older people alike. Moving Imagery will be on display at the GRAG until October 29.

The gallery is open between 10am and 5pm, Monday through Friday, and from 1pm till 4pm on Saturdays.