Sione Francis & Rod Gray
The definition of the word “Island” has multiple meanings: a landmass or something detached or isolated; the obvious and the hidden. Islands historically have associations of isolation, surrounded by water they represent the unattainable or imagined. An escape and transition for people, from one state or place to another where all things imagined are possible; creating a duality of opposites of known and unknown. The sculptural work in the exhibition “island” attempts to examine these themes through the juxtaposing of archetypal ideas and motifs in ply wood and ash. The concepts are based on research, personal histories and popular media the aim of which is to distort perceptions.
‘The Island’ is a motif of great curiosity and mystery to me. I am deeply attached to it. I feel it’s a part of my internal fabric and therefore it recurs frequently in my artwork. The role of imagination is significant in my artwork, however while making these works I experienced strong recall of childhood slide nights with my grandparents showing images of trips they made. to PNG, Tonga, Fiji and Samoa in the early seventies. In the darkness the lush foliage and sickly sweet colours of the frangipanis and dramatic dance and ceremonial dress were chaotically melded and indelibly imprinted on my impressionable mind.
The Tower is a signifier of mythological and symbolic presence and power. We have towers appear in our dreams, aspirations and indeed on our streets because its archetype is integrally part of our observed and imagined landscape since ancient times. It's presence in contemporary society projects an assertive manner that can be over misread or regarded as simple. However, I have never trusted that a subject perceived as phallocentric or complicit with power was essentially one-dimensional or wholly totalitarian.
These images are ‘lingams’, the great symbolic melding of the sexes. So where we see the assertion of the phallic/masculine, we also see the ever-present ‘space within’, the womb or ‘opening’ hallmarks of feminine symbology.
We have perhaps, forgotten the potency of the tower in our collective psychology, yet it pervades our psyche with the paradox of security and domination.
A tower is always much more than bricks and mortar.
“Finally, I became a stranger here in Australia. How can I say that I know this world which is seemingly quite unreal?”
Born in South Korea Jaedon Shin explores the ideas of the stranger, an outsider, the experience of living in another country and isolation. Along side that he explores the notion of people’s history and how it affects them or creates them.
In these strange and eerie paintings people stare out of the canvas looking for a place or meaning, the use of the artists own history is present in these works creating a dialogue of experience. What is real and true has always been of interest to artists, Jaedon Shin lives in a foreign land, his observations a constant assessment of people and place, of what is real or seemingly unreal.