Emma Fielden ‘Iota’ @ Gallery Funaki

26 11 2015

It was such an absolute pleasure to finally see Emma Fielden‘s work in person in Iota‘ at Gallery Funaki.

Wow. Just wow.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

“At the centre of my practice is the notion of infinity. The ideas that any line drawn is a mere portion of its infinite potential, and that a mark made is a part within a whole, are fundamental beginnings in my work, which I explore through drawing and objects, in various materials and techniques.” EF, 2015

I was exceptionally interested in seeing the handwritten ‘Infinite‘ drawings, that I’d responded to (incredibly strongly) via images from her Sydney exhibition earlier this year. Even more amazing than I expected.

For some reason I thought that the drawings were built up of little circles; but now realise that it is the number 3 repeated … in a secular meditation on the repeating decimal representation of 1/3 … and being in a triptych, together the three complete to a singular ‘one’.

Make sure you read Emma’s own explanation on her website – which of course, as per usual, I only read after writing the above(!): “The work references devotional religious acts and is itself a devotional act.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

The brooches and vessels were a revelation. And smaller than I expected; in the good way, for I like smaller things.

If you visit, please make sure you ask for her technique to be explained. While the pieces are most definitely beautiful in their own right, I believe understanding their construction … the intense precision freedom involved … can only add to their appeal.

Initially I was a wondering if perhaps a perfectly circular (or other geometric) edge shape would align and reflect with the overall concept of infinity … for somehow I have a view, not unlike our ancient and medieval forefathers, that infinite must mean perfect. Perhaps also because I saw perfect geometry in her other Infinity pieces. However I let go of that requirement when I was told that Emma actually makes her own ingots and shapes then to make the plate for the brooches, in many/most cases permitting the edges to form as they choose … another practice I relate to.

I really did want to take some home, especially ‘The Jewel (after James Wright)‘ and the one that looks like an opened clam. Do have a look at the detailed photographs … you can see how the surface detail is formed by repeated engraving. They are a marvel.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

And vessels! There should be more vessels in the world I tell you.

Axis Mundi is also an important component of the exhibition. I think perhaps my aversion to shiny-shiny interrupted my contemplation … the mirror is important, for it reflects the construction into an infinity … the vision is coherent, the installation takes hours and hours (nay, days!). Of course the mirror makes total sense … though I have a thing about mirrors … (this is usually where one says ‘it’s not you, it’s me’).

It’s pretty obvious I respond strongly to Emma’s work … the reflections on the infinite … the implicit and intuitive mathematical fundamentals … the devotion … the mediation, obsession, attention to detail, commitment … quiet determination … there is an exceptional clarity that I can only wish for.

Emma Fielden ‘Iota‘ is at Gallery Funaki until 5th December 2015.





Emma Fielden ‘Infinity’ @ Courtesy of the Artist Studio

9 03 2015

Following her National Contemporary Jewellery award, Emma Fielden is showing Infinity‘ at Courtesy of the Artist Studio (Surrey Hills, Sydney). Sadly I’m not able to get to the exhibition in person, but feel such a strong connection to the work that I’m compelled to write about it.

I’m impossibly in love with the below image.

image from COTA FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

image from Courtesy of the Artist FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

When I have an incredibly strong response to another person’s art work like this, I feel like I almost want to disappear into it … I wish I could have thought of it and made it … I want to possess it, not just the object but the ideas that built it … it’s a strange ache, an unnamed emotion … and exceptionally difficult to describe (without sounding just a little psycho!).

I believe the above is a close-up of the below drawing. It’s amazing to my eyes … little changes in the tilt of her hand, ink and energy flow and such, show up in subtle unintended yet beautiful rhythms in the pattern.

image from COTA FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

image from Courtesy of the Artist FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

Exhibition media: “For this exhibition Emma presents a series of work on the theme infinity – a series of drawings, engraved brooches, and for the first time a print.
The notion of infinity has been emerging in Emma’s work for some time. Her earlier works involving line, mark making and drawing evolved into an exploration of the grid, and in her last body of work (2013) she came to take the grid as a symbol of infinity. Now Emma Fielden has entered into a deeper and more thematic exploration of infinity, both as a mathematic and metaphysical concept.

It was only after falling for the above drawings that I also read what Emma has written about her work: “They are pictures of the night sky. They are star gazing. They are a decimal expression of infinity. They are a trinity. They reject religion and suppose its origin. They are devotional. They are an abyss. They are wonder at the infinite and our place in it.” 

Oh my … this speaks to so many things I love … numbers and the stars. Not to mention my adoration of work that involves precision, extreme patience and attention; and I think I may also love repetition, but repetition that permits small variations.

The exhibition includes brooches too; though I think they’re trickier to get a feel for without seeing them in person.

I remember seeing the series that secured her award at Courtesy of the Artist last year and felt strangely uncertain though intrigued by them. I think their flatness, their almost two-dimensionality, felt close to unsubstantial … somehow less satisfying than if they had a little more weight or physical depth … though in retrospect this choice is no doubt entirely intentional and required for the expression of the intent.

image from COTA FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

image from Courtesy of the Artist FB page; used here with explicit gallery permission; click on image for original source

The Courtesy of the Artist facebook page has a interesting statement attached to one of the photographs: “The lines of the grids extend to the edge of the surface and, by virtue of the imagination, to infinity. Each element is part of the larger grid, which is itself a portion of an even larger one and so on.
Akin to Cantor’s Dust, the work points to the scale of infinity – the infinitely large and the infinitesimally small. It draws on set theory and it’s infinite infinities. And by breaking down the grid and placing it upon the body, it seeks to make the infinite intimate.

I’m sorry I cannot see the whole body of work in person; here’s hoping that perhaps in time Melbourne shall host an exhibition.

Emma Fielden ‘Infinity‘ is at Courtesy of the Artist Studio until 28th March 2015.

—-

ps. make sure you check out Emma’s website, and follow her if you’re on Instagram if you don’t already (the photograph of her drawing with magnifying lenses on is my favourite).