View scanned page: 15 August 2008
THE WEST AUSTRALIAN TODAY : VISUAL ARTS : Ric Spencer : Decorative now clear-cut
Decorative used to be a dirty word in art; it's not any more. A return to the decorative can be seen in much contemporary art, for example Del Kathryn Barton's portraits or Sangeeta Sandrasegar's delicate paper cuts.A local artist who finds herself at the forefront of this wave is Pam Gaunt. Errant Abstractions is her solo show at Galerie Dusseldorf and it measures perfectly the current fascination in art between the ornamental and a desired fragility.Errant Abstractions is a veritable hanging garden of Babylon. A plethora of layered cut-out sculptures hang down from the root suspended like potted handiwork. They look gentle and floating, but are actually industrially routed cuts of MDF, covered in automotive paint and hanging off solid wiring.In Gaunt's work it seems the perception of fragility is more important than the actuality of it. Other smaller works on the wall are laser-cut steel - further enforcing that the perceived fragility in Gaunt's neo-decorative work is as ornamental as die decorative designs themselves. This tension between strength and fragility is enjoyable. So is the boundless energy in the designs and their intelligent conception and ensuing composition.Several larger forms climb up the walls, lizard or dragon-like these pieces give us a chance to see more clearly the way the work has been put together. Built from a conglomeration of different motifs, the images pull together like metallic fibres to a magnet. Errant the singular motifs may be but Gaunt gives them fresh meaning in their newly formed associations.Borrowing freely from the aesthetic of Midd1e Eastern, Asian and Eastern European designs, Gaunt leaves the viewer floating in between actualising her work's forms in their mind to simply allowing the artifice to wash over them.The sensuality between hard material, definitive edges and ethereal forms makes Errant Abstractions a successful show.