Kirsten Haydon ‘Ice storeroom’ @ Craft

25 07 2014

Kirsten was one of my two enameling teachers at RMIT. And for that I will be forever grateful – I love the practice, though of course haven’t done any for many years now. Not like Kirsten – she continues to explore the technique and her connection with the Antarctic in Ice storeroom‘ at Craft.

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

installation; photograph taken with gallery permission

The installation is wonderful. I like how it transports you to another space – moving through the structure it encloses you and it genuinely feels like you’re quite separate from the gallery. It evokes a sparsely built storeroom.

The brooches are mostly circular (though with differing diameters), and seem to me to refer to ice cores.

Exhibition media: “The ice has a remarkable quality of preserving and storing knowledge within its structure. Inclusions, both micro and macro, in the ice can provide detail about the moment the ice was formed. This knowledge could be accessed from analysing the trapped gases or dust particles or by connecting with the narrative of an enclosed man-made object.
In this installation Ice storeroom builds on Haydon’s previous work with Antarctica and explores the notion that Antarctica is a repository for environmental and cultural knowledge.

photograph taken with gallery permission

photograph taken with gallery permission

There is more colour in this show than in her previous; with the additional hues within a limited palette of greys and blues and rusts, with a shot of dark grey / black in the bracelet in the foreground above.

Once again I like the neckpieces made of tube-components; and I loved the little objects and the neckpiece ‘ice monitor‘.

I initially thought that many of the pieces could be considered to be quite similar to previous collections (certainly not meant as a criticism but more an observation). However then I realised that newer pieces in this exhibition are accompanied with a smattering of older pieces (from 2006 and since), which may explain my sense of familiarity. I may also be experiencing ignorance or failing memory – I’m absolutely sure that were all the work to be in one room a progression would be completely obvious; and can you imagine how gorgeous that room would be!

That said, some of the neckpieces here show incredibly interesting development of form and construction (as in the ‘Lure of Radium‘ below).

I’d also like to know more about the installation on the back wall; for it is unique in the exhibition in including porcelain in the materials – though I couldn’t quite tell where…

media image; click on image for original source

media image in SMH article; click on image for original source

This exhibition has also been reviewed and written about by:

  • SMH: with a beautiful photograph and well-researched and thoughtful commentary
  • HandMadeLife: with many stunning photographs (including one of ‘ice monitor‘; my favourite statement “Every time we’ve seen her work there has been a level of finesse that makes the ideas feel as complete as the actual work. That accuracy of thinking and of execution is evident in every object, every surface, every well-considered corner of this installation.”
  • BlouIn ArtInfo

And make sure you check out the Craft interview with Kirsten here.

Kirsten Haydon ‘Ice storeroom‘ is at Craft until 26th July 2014.
[Sorry sorry – it closes tomorrow – I’ve had some trouble getting to this one.]

See also: 10th June 2011 Kirsten Haydon ‘ice structure‘ @ Gallery Funkai

Kirsten Haydon ‘ice structure’ @ Gallery Funaki

10 06 2011

Stepping into Gallery Funaki to see Kirsten Haydon‘s exhibition ‘ice structure‘ is a wonderful experience – it’s calm and startlingly white, and I particularly like how the layout has been slightly altered for this show.

exhibition media; click on image for original source

The display surfaces have been topped with thick styrofoam, which is beautifully stark white and matt; especially wonderful is if you accidentally or gently brush against it is sounds like walking on snow. Thoughtful exhibition design indeed.

Also particularly beautiful is a projection of images of Antarctica against some of the white enamelled objects in the window space … lovely.

exhibition media; click on image for original source

The above neckpiece (there are two other similar pieces) is simple and elegant. Though I expect the making process would have been quite difficult – the components look to be little copper tubular beads, and if I understand enamelling well (Kirsten taught me enamelling in second year at RMIT!) then I would expect the insides of the tubes would have been counter-enamelled too…. what a labour of love, and to make three would have been pretty intensive.

The objects are my favourite pieces in the exhibition – especially the one on the right in the first image above. The lip reminded me of my nana’s enamel cookware, and the subtle blue streak has a nostalgia about it that’s not easy to define. The bowl on the left of the same image is also quietly lovely, and has a maternal shape to my mind.

exhibition media; click on image for original source

Exhibition media: “Since 2004, when she travelled to Antarctica as an Antarctic Arts Fellow (NZ), Kirsten Haydon has explored the icy continent through jewellery and object making. Her practice has considered the structures and palette of Antarctica’s forbidding terrain, its wildlife and the impact of human activity upon it. In this new exhibition, Haydon explores the forms and histories of artifacts from the huts used during Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton’s expeditions.

exhibition media; click on image for original source

Unfortunately I wasn’t a big fan of the above neckpiece, more due to my personal aversion to ‘realism’ than anything else. I prefer the images covered with reflector beads as with the brooch in the previous image – kind of like an obscuring of the image, as though it was in a snow storm.

This exhibition has also been reviewed with detail and consideration by Marcus Banyan on ArtBlart [post], and Lucy Hearn calls her ‘queen of enamel’ (cute!) [post]. Also see more about Kirsten here.

Kirsten Haydon’s ‘ice structure‘ is at Gallery Funaki until 18th June 2011.