Saturday, November 12, 2011

Speaking with Cherish Marrington

Intraspecific Competition, Cherish Marrington,
ink on paper, 2011.

Can you tell us a bit about the kind of work you make?

Most of all I like to draw, and specifically make drawings of characters that oftentimes alarm or puzzle even myself. I tend to invent the personality first, and afterwards, the character. Sometimes they are reflections on people that I have seen or met before, otherwise they are totally imaginary. All the while I question their existence, and as I am drawing, I think about their lives. They are definitely real people—only, I have corrupted them in my own manner.  

Who are the characters in your work?

Some of them are not my friends, and are the kind of people that are only nice when they want something. The way I form a character is similar to the methods of traditional animation. I am willing to redraw the same character many times until it has been moulded to my specifications, until I understand this character’s way of thinking, or simply until I have the line work just so. Concerning lines and textures, I can be quite pedantic and in this manner I can also relate to Chinese painting: the importance of mark making and how each manner of mark has its definitive place in an image. A certain line can be a specific expression all on its own—that sort of thing.  

I really like the photographs of your people out and about among the grass. Do you leave them for people to discover, or do they come home with you after a photo shoot?

I don’t generally litter, although leaving them for people to discover is quite a romantic idea. This was simply one of those explorations that began on a whim—I like to play with scale a lot, and to have the viewer question the time and place of something like this. The imagery captured of these little paper dolls getting lost in the grass led to other things and ultimately I made drawings that related to all of this along the way.  

This Is Ralph, Cherish Marrington
ink on paper, 2010

How did the animated film Sassy Playmates come about? I really enjoyed them dancing about the familiar urban landscapes of Perth, and I was creeped out too… with a smile, great combination!

An important person to mention is an artist named Matthew Moore. Certainly, working with this dynamic personality is an enriching life experience. When I discovered that he knew a thing or two about animation I immediately felt compelled to not let these useful skills go to waste. We share the same sort of sense of humour and planning an animation was as amusing as building it together. This, combined with the music he programmed made a piece that instantly worked for us, and we plan to have more of it this coming year.  

Can you talk about It seems there has been a few collaborations among the artists, Sassy Playmates being one example and Slave Trade another, also there appears to be a fair bit of exhibiting together. How did oniemy come about, and does being a part of this collective have an influence on your individual work?

Again, I can only speak highly of my cohort, Matthew Moore. Back when we were both studying art simultaneously last year, it came to our attention that our fellow hungry art students needed to get their brilliant work online and we wanted to set up a neat little online space for our favourite Perth-based art minions. As far as collaborations go it is mainly Matthew Moore and I, but there is nothing like doing group shows a few times a year with our friends. I think that there are some good things to come, as we have studios now! Paper Mountain—get excited.  

No One Knows What I am Doing, Cherish Marrington
ink on paper, 2011.

Who or what are your biggest influences?

I’m very attracted to the work of Istvan Banyai, Giovanni Battista—his etchings from Piranesi—and the work of such animators as Sylvain Chomet and RenĂ© Laloux (especially his Fantastic planet).  

What is your earliest creative memory?

Probably as far back as yesterday, and the day before. Everything else gets outdated and vague quite rapidly.  

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m planning a show with my favourites: Erin Tily-Laurie, Lance Kershaw Ladu and Matthew Moore. I am wild about their work.  

How can people find out more about your work?

I would say do some Googling to find out what’s new—it’s easy to do since there aren’t many other Cherish Marringtons out there. Well, maybe there are but they don’t generally have my name.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thoughts on Skin: an imperfect coat

Skin, it is that thin line that separates inside from out. Even perhaps, a separation from what is myself from what is not. The functions and processes going on beneath our skin are hidden from view, and rarely thought about day to day. Despite this, the smooth functioning of those organs protected within are what enable us to be. In fact, it is not until we are faced with illness that we become acutely aware of the vulnerability of what's hidden beneath this protective membrane.

Installation view, Skin: an imperfect coat, Naomi Hunter.
Image via The Oats Factory.

Last Friday night I went to the opening of Perth based glass artist, Naomi Hunter's exhibition Skin: an imperfect coat at The Oats Factory. Hunter combines glass, steel, installation and film to form a three part exhibition. In the front part of the gallery is an installation which brings to my mind the clinical examination of the body - under bright light vessels spill red droplets like blood onto stainless steel surfaces, glass organ-like forms sit beneath specimen containers, and some seem to teeter dangerously close to the edge emphasising their vulnerability. This acts for me, like a manifestation of the loss of control felt when faced with illness. When we place our trust in medicine and submit to procedures that can be frightening and humiliating. Yet, like the body and all its imperfection these glass forms Hunter has created are intriguingly beautiful.

Sam (detail), Naomi Hunter, glass, steel and light.
Image via The Oats Factory.

The second part of the gallery is like a transition into an earlier stage of life. It contains larger sculptural works in a darkened space which have an ethereal quality to them. These works incorporate perforated steel with glass ovum-like centers. The glass, a membrane protecting the light emanating from within.
In the third part we step back another stage. An up close moving image of glass while Hunter works with it is projected onto the wall. Like promordium this liquid is evolving into form, ever changing and ever in process.
Skin: an imperfect coat runs until the 27th November at The Oats Factory, 69 Oats Street, Carlisle WA, Wed – Sun 12 - 5pm.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The IOU Project

This is such a great initiative. IOU produces beautiful mens and womens clothes and you can be sure everyone involved in the making was paid a living wage. For each item of clothing you can track it's history back to the weaver of the cloth through the website. There is videos & bios so that you can "meet" the indian weaver or the European manufactuer - removing the anonymity of the maker that we have become so accustomed to. Real people with amazing craftsmanship make our clothes and we should be mindful of the human costs next time we see that "bargain" hanging on the rack.