Review :: Three Emerging Projects at 4A

May 30th 2011


Let me ask you this – when I say ‘human hair’ you don’t automatically think of ‘art materials,’ right? That’s not just me? And protozoa and cardboard aren’t really my go to medium either. But that is exactly what the three artists exhibited at 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art have decided to use. Tracy Luff, Cyrus Tang and Shalini Jardin are three emerging artists who all see the potential for everyday objects as raw materials to work with.

Each work is individually amazing. The most frustrating thing about the exhibit is that you can’t see more works from any of the artists. Although stylistically disjointed, each artist has produced a fascinating body of work.

Upon entering I am greeted with Tracy Luff’s sculptural piece, whose huge scale and impression is one of ancient plants growing out of the gallery floor. Luff has created her work by layering discs of cardboard on top of each other so that they slowly and painstakingly form shapes. I first thought the delicate structures were made of wood, they look so concrete. The creeping forms stretch to the ceiling, alluding to what stands above me on the second floor.

Cyrus Tang’s work is the standout of the exhibit. Tucked away in a side room, a spider’s web of crystals lies on the floor waiting for me. Tang has used hair, a deeply personal material, to create these concentric circles. Attached to them are borax crystals making the shapes gleam like enchanted tree rings. They sort of remind me of stalactites and stalagmites, as if Tang’s work has taken decades to form. Connecting with her subject matter of nostalgia for her childhood and her family’s generations, the use of hair serves as an intimate connection in her life.

Finally there is MythORlogical, Shalini Jardin’s artistic interrogation of protozoa. Jardin decorates test tube swabs of protozoa with tiny cartoon characters on glass slides. Art and science seem to be separated by default these days, although no one ever really wrote down the rules. Jardin’s fun work proves the beauty in science and the mechanical nature that art can be made with.

This exhibit is a bit of fun. Although a slightly odd space, I really enjoyed all three artists. They’ve all used these great, ‘outside of the box’ mediums, but they haven’t just relied on this– their work stand as compelling pieces as a whole, where medium is only one level of meaning.

What: Three Emerging Projects

Where: 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, 181 – 187 Hay St, Haymarket

When: Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm until June 25th

How much: Free


Image: Tracy Luff 4A installation view of tip-toe tip-toe where can I go? (2011)
Courtesy of the ar


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