Framed :: Rebecca Gallo
October 22nd 2013
‘Found objects’ is a loving way arts writers, creators, curators and appreciators say…. well crap really. Junk. Rubbish. Old shovels and tables, books and suitcases. But ‘Found Objects’ form the heart of local interdisciplinary artist Rebecca Gallo’s charming sculptures and installations.
Your average Joe sees council pick up day. Rebecca sees boundless artistic opportunity.
The little worlds of her recent work, born out of meticulous arrangement and an ability to see something in nothing, resonate in a very big way. In Grey matter: into the mire a transfixing vision of the planet is born out of no less than vacuum cleaner lint and a bed spring. You can’t help but be paused by the illusion, as a spectrum of LEDs pierces through the contents beneath all of those seldom-cleaned rugs in your flat and makes it damn beautiful. You can almost smell the plastic burning in Grey matter: beached, where what is almost a ridiculously juvenile, innocent collation of bits and bobs is unified with harrowing sadness and tragedy.
Rebecca’s little dioramas pack a big punch, realising in their understated splendor the human condition, our constant existential wondering and our own physical impermanence. Her art is as temporary as those who view it, formed from the very stuff we use, abuse and vacuum up on a daily basis.
The works above and more are being installed in the FBi Social bookcase for your viewing pleasure. Rebecca spoke to the Flog about using materials in capturing the material…
1) Your work is rubbish. I mean it’s great, but it’s literally rubbish. Why the fixation on discarded debris?
I like using materials that are both easily overlooked and easy to come by. The idea of taking something that has essentially become culturally and functionally worthless, and then reinvesting it with some kind of narrative possibility, is one that really appeals to me. I like the absurdity of spending time and energy on something as inconsequential and peripheral as dust. Once it’s reconfigured and recontextualised as art, it’s not instantly recognisable, and I love that moment when people recognise the material for what it is, or was.
My fixation on discarded debris is probably also a response to living in a culture of material excess, consumption and consumerism – at the moment I feel that I don’t want to add to the volume of stuff that is created or manufactured, so instead I reconfigure stuff that has already been fabricated and discarded. Having said that, I have purchased new lighting and cabling for this work, so I’m certainly not militant about it.
2) How does practicing as a multidisciplinary artist play out- Does the medium fit the concept, or is it the other way around?
It can go both ways, although I tend to start with materials. I collect all sorts of objects, and tend to have them hanging around in my studio until I have a plan for them. If I get stuck, I’ll start writing and reading about things that I’m interested in and that tends to get ideas going.
It can be frustrating, because I am somewhat reliant on what I can find and sometimes it’s not particularly inspiring. It’s also incredibly exciting – there’s no better feeling than finding an object or a material that I can immediately envision working with in a particular way, or that fits perfectly with an idea I’ve been working with.
I’m at uni at the moment, learning new skills in working with wood, metal, video and projection, so I’m looking forward to pushing my ideas and materials in new directions.
3) You’re installing some sculptures at FBi Social that have me reminiscing of 8th grade history dioramas. Is that a fair guess at your inspiration?
Haha yep, you’re not far off! I do have a real soft spot for dioramas, in particular really detailed historical reconstructions of epic battles. I saw some amazing ones at a history museum in Hanoi recently, and I had them in the back of my mind whilst making this work.
4) Can we expect more tiny plastic people and intergalactic dust in the future?
Well, being really excited about doing the vacuuming has been novel, and I have started making some stop motion animations using dust, so yes, I think I’ll riff on this theme for a while in some form or other. I’m doing a residency in Hill End in a few months so maybe I’ll do dust comparisons. It all depends on what other materials I find out there.
Check out Rebecca’s work at FBi Social next time you head to a show
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