Umbrella’s new textures

Detail of a piece from Talitha Kennedy’s 'Through Skin', which will be on exhibit at Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts until 28 May 2016.

Sculpture and textiles will be the focus at Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts from this Friday night, with the opening of three new exhibitions in the space.

Talitha Kennedy’s Through Skin, Laura Castell’s Suburban Wildlife and Katya Venter’s Vasilisa each feature some form of sculpture, but with completely different styles and materials.

Suburban Wildlife showcases the connection between Bowerbirds and humans, portraying the beauty of the bird as well as the role of humans in providing it with ‘beautiful’ waste.

Vasilisa takes over Umbrella’s vault, using paper sculpture to set the scene for Katya’s animated fairytale addressing the women’s psyche, intuition, and mobility.

In the main gallery space, Talitha’s Through Skin uses both leather sculptures and ink drawings to celebrate the darker parts of nature, and bring the organic indoors.

“Drawing frustrated me – both trying to make a picture of the landscape and only representing it as a 2D visual. I wanted to include in the picture the sweat, the mud, the smell, the mosquito bites and the very physical experience; so using leather was a way of relating it to my body, making it tactile, touchable, and something that responds,” said Talitha.

“If you touch it, it gets warm; if you put it out in the space and it’s hot it starts stretching – it’s affected by the surrounding environment. Also instead of putting ink or charcoal or paint on a flat surface, I’m actually piercing the leather, tightening it with thread. To me, that sort of tension brings out a pain and has a physical-ness about it.

“This exhibition includes work from 2010 through to yesterday. There’s four new works that I haven’t shown before. The drawings and a couple of these leather sculptures are new. But I also felt there need to have examples from my past, because I haven’t shown my work here before. I thought it would be good to have earlier works that are almost clues into the later work – I started with these ideas and have gone off on a tangent. The drawings relate to the leather skin as well. Hopefully people see the similarities between them.

“It’s sort of about bringing the natural environment inside the closed room of the gallery – the fear and desire of it. I find the pieces beautiful, and believe they have an organic sense of the wonder of the natural environment – but they’re not natural; they’re made.

“The pieces have this element of the fear of things you see in the dark: it’s the feeling of being by the mangroves at night. If you’re near them in the daytime, you sit back and look at the water and it’s lovely. Then the sun goes down and you overthink every sound and don’t know what’s biting you.”

Catch the opening of Through Skin, Suburban Wildlife and Vasilisa at Umbrella Studio Contemporary Arts this Friday at 6pm.

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