Written by Lee Walter
Tucked away in the streets of the southern suburbs is the hidden little gem Faded Lane Studios. A disused kindergarten once full of play and imagination has fittingly been repurposed into a recording studio and art gallery. It is here on a quiet and unusually sunny Sunday afternoon in August I found myself taking in Hypernatural, and contemplating how the future may evolve.
Hypernatural is a collaborative exhibition by emerging artists Roseanne May and Emma Sullivan. Through May’s photographic works and Sullivan’s sculptures, the idea of a utopian future is explored. Nature and technology entwine and evolve together.
In May’s Amongst the Fog series landscapes pulsate life, with the use of light boxes, colour of amplified degrees start to take over the earthly tones that we are used to. Amongst the Fog has a seductive quality to it, beautifully dark, lush landscapes with soft kisses of light on the foliage draw the viewer in. Amongst the Fog appears familiar, yet as you inch closer the works illuminate with an otherworldly quality.
Darwin’s theory of evolution comes to mind as I experience the work Hypernatural. Sullivan’s new organisms emerge in May’s landscapes, a result from an amalgamation of the natural and the technological age colliding. Complex forms and environments evolving from a primitive earth. The sculptures take on a life of their own, organic and unfamiliar in form. Soft, flesh like, and slightly unnerving when set amongst the dense vegetation, yet inviting and exciting to witness at the same time.
Sullivan has breathed life into the man made. Her use of play and experimentation of materials radiates a surprising femininity. The contrast between harsh materials such as expanding foam and chicken wire with plastic rose petals and soft luminescent colours, engages the audience to look deeper into her work. Sullivan’s piece Anti-Venom, which is a particular favourite of mine, suggest these objects are sitting in the world of this utopian future in a harmonious way.
Together the collaboration has created a series that takes on an unearthly feel, but in creating the Hypernatural environments the artists have managed to keep a stillness and beauty within the works.
The theme of this exhibition hints at a future where the natural and unnatural cannot only co-exist but thrive together. This is an exciting theory for the political, environmental and technological climate that we are witnessing. The necessity for cohesiveness needs to be realised for this utopian future to evolve.