In space and time at ‘the churchie’

Just as scientists are making new discoveries in space and increasing our understanding of the universe, emerging artists are pushing the boundaries of art practice into unchartered territories. QUT Art Museum is the new home for ‘the churchie’ national emerging art prize that offers a ‘glimpse into the future of the Australian contemporary art scene’.

QUT Art Museum gallery is currently exhibiting 23 selected finalists’ works; a small portion of the 445 submissions received. The works reflect a breadth of emerging artists from around the country. In the variety of work and art practices I was intrigued to find a theme appearing in a number of works on display, exploring our perceptions of space and time.

Sara Morawetz, this year’s prize winner, is interested in using scientific methods of inquiry such as observation, experimentation, method and standardisation within her artistic practice. How the stars stand (All sols), and (Dear NASA…), 2015 are performative action works conducted in consultation with the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies and staged at Open Source Gallery in Brooklyn. Morawetz abandons Earth time and instead lives in a recreated time as it would be experienced on Mars. With each Mars day, which is longer than a single day on earth, the artist dislocates herself from the normal rhythms of life – instead waking up at sunset, when the day would be beginning on Mars, and going to sleep at sunrise, when the day would be ending on Mars. Morawetz visually documents her altered experience of time which includes writing letters addressed to NASA of her new time-life.

Sara MOROWETZ How the stars stand (All sols) and (Dear NASA) 2015

Sara Morowetz, How the stars stand (All sols) and (Dear NASA), 2015. Courtesy of the artist.

Similarly, Sydney-based artist Lisa Sammut seeks to gain a tangible sense of cosmic time and scale production in her work.  Her churchie work, For the Time Being2015-16 is a cluster of wall-mounted kinetic sculptural objects that are constructed from pine, elm, birch, balsa, wire, brass, paper, digital collage on ply, ink, acrylic paint, pencil, photo collage, found images, rock, twine and clockwork mechanisms. The work uses multiple object ‘clocks’ to explore alternative versions of time: lunar, solar, historical, geological, astronomical and cosmic. The Sam Whiteley Memorial Commendation was awarded to Summut’s, For the Time Being, 2015-16, and to David Greenhalgh for his video collage, Essay (On opposition), a film that is set in a mysterious world and investigates notions of alternate realities.

Lisa Sammut, For the time being (detail), 2015-2016. Courtesy of the artist.

Lisa Sammut, For the time being (detail), 2015-2016. Courtesy of the artist.

Interdisciplinary artist Meagan Streader bends our perception of space with a beautiful body of work that investigates light and form.

Meagan Streader, W-inter, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

Meagan Streader, W-inter, 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

Response IV (Partition), 2016, continues this exploration at QUT Art Museum with an immersive site-specific light installation that invites us to re-experience geometries of the gallery space. The work is a delicate electroluminescent wire architectural insertion; fine wires form an arched structure that links the ceiling and floor of the gallery space -and conjures a newly created architecture.

Meagan Streader, Response IV, 2016. Image Engage Arts.

Meagan Streader, Response IV (Partition), 2016. Image Engage Arts.

Digital artist Alinta Krauth brings the third dimension to the gallery space with her multi-layered projection installation Cartology Apology, 2016. Premiering at White Night Melbourne in the heritage listed Scots Church, Cartology Apology visually expands a newly imagined landscape that was inspired by the topographical nature of the Melbourne and Victoria throughout time.

Alinta Krauth, Cartology apology (video still), 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

Alinta Krauth, Cartology apology (video still), 2016. Courtesy of the artist.

The moving frame-by-frame animation is drawn from abstracted topographical data and experiments with map making represented in a 3D holographic environment. Through her work Krauth asks us to consider not only the maps as they are drawn, but how they may have been different for of the traditional peoples of this land, denoting that cartography is a subjective creation laid down by those who seek to change and mark the landscape as their own.

Video: Alinta Krauth, Cartology Apology (installation view, video 17secs), 2016. Video by Engage Arts.

Space, time and many other ideas are explored by this well-deserving group of emerging artists in this year’s churchie emerging art prize. The artists take us beyond the boundaries of our everyday existence, proving time and again the vital role of the arts, to make us stop, consider and reimagine our place in the universe.

The chuchie finalists’ exhibition runs until 13 November, 2016 at QUT Art Museum, 2 George Street, Brisbane.

Featured Image: Alinta Krauth, Cartology Apology (video still, detail), 2016Courtesy of the artist.


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