Works by Evelyn O’Connor / Atsuo Okamoto / TROIKA / Douglas White
3 September – 4 October, 2015
This group exhibition centres on notions of chance and of 'letting go' within the creative process. In the works selected there is a certain aspect of either introducing or submitting to an element of the unknown. The title refers to this quality within each artist's practice - where the resultant work is as much discovered as determined.
In the case of works by Okamoto and the artists’ collective TROIKA this manifests itself in deliberate acts, with a clear line drawn at which point the process of creation is turned over to fate.
With Okamoto's Volume of Lives and Faraway Mountain pieces the works are created as immaculate granite sculptural objects, carefully and obsessively carved and smoothed. The letting go begins with the employment of the traditional 'wari modoshi' stone splitting method, which produces wavering un-even fractures through the stone, and then culminates in Okamoto releasing each broken piece of the whole to 'live' with willing hosts for 5 years. After their period of travel / adoption the small pieces are returned and reassembled into the whole. Some remain immaculate, others are chipped or discoloured, a few never return at all.
In TROIKA's Calculating the Universe the action decided upon, that allows the creative process out of the makers hands, is the introduction of an algorithm, which determines the outcome of the work. The intervention of 'chance' here is somewhat illusory, as the algorithm acts on its subjected material (thousands of neatly assembled black and white dice) not in an arbitrary way but with perfect mathematical certainty. The element of the unknown for the creators here lies in the lack of control over the resulting pattern that ensues – sometimes chaotic, sometimes neatly resolved and continuing in orderly fashion into infinity.
The line of determination between maintenance and relinquishing of control is less clearly defined in the work of Evelyn O'Connor and Douglas White. Rather than imposing a series of firm decisions - effectively creating a system - upon their work, they are more continually and intuitively led by the properties and peculiarities of their medium. In O’Connor’s case this results in a practice that is very much about allowing her works to create/define themselves after she has prepared the ground for them – in a way it would be as well to describe her ‘medium’ as her ‘ingredients’.
Douglas White also works intuitively with his chosen materials, though in a more conscious way – permitting the stubborn boundaries of his source material to remain, and even to guide his hand, but also extracting and imposing new qualities into the end form – creating evocative sculptural works that play on our anthropomorphising instincts.