GOMA's 10th anniversary show Sugar Spin is filled with specially commissioned treasures and popular hits. Yesterday saw us thronging through Brisbane's cultural mecca and while the size of the exhibition makes it too hard to talk about all my favourites, I will focus on my favourite shape to work with - circles.
Yayoi Kusama is a woman after my own heart, Infinity nets is a gentle canvas of of white nets painted over a soft blue-white background. The girls looking at it said "Mum I bet you'd like to paint something like this" and they're right, I do find the continuous drawing of circles soothing. In Kusama's case the accompanying label tells us that "Suffering from 'rijin'sho', or depersonalisation syndrome, Kusama's art triggers visual experiences that metaphorically communicate the hallucinations, or veil of dots, she has endured since she was a child. This vibrant iconography, often transposed as nets or auras, dominates her practice." At 87 she is still churning out amazing work and generated the concept for another of GOMA's most popular participation pieces - The Obliteration Room.
Doreen Reid Nakamarra painted Untitled (Marrapinti) the year before she died at the early age of 54. When you stand back from this large canvas the surface seems to shimmer and ripple. I had to get up close to work out how she managed to create this amazing optical illusion, when I did I realised that what I had assumed to be zig-zag lines were in fact a series of dots. The gallery label explains "Dotted lines give an impression of waves of sand blowing across the landscape and the optical illusions born by the desert heat haze." The varying thickness of the pale zig-zags atop the darker background manages your visual perception so that you see triangular 3D shapes rising up, making this a fascinating piece to view.
Third and last entry in the circular category of favourites goes to Maraana Vamarasi, a weaver from Fiji. This incredibly beautiful large round mat is made from pandanus dyed black with mud. In Fiji round mats are called Ibe Nauri and this outsized creation sits majestically against the white walls of the gallery. The subtle variation in the colour of the dye brings a soothing sensation. The gallery comments on this also "The play of light across the dark surface of the mat, picks up the intricacy and the textured beauty of Vamarasi's skilled weaving."
It's so easy to be inspired by cultural events like Sugar Spin and it's a great way to jolt me into action for the coming year's projects. Happy New Year!