Multi-media gets a bad name, hand maiden to the excesses of surrealism, first cousin to craft, it hasn't been since the 1920s that artists comfortably exhibited sculptures and 'ready-made' painted art objects in a single sweep. Yet in Jackie Field’s show the conversation about geometry is both compressed and expansive.

Field has been known primarily for sculpture. Her hand formed minimal and biomorphic pieces held the germ of Hans Arp but with a tactility that made you want to touch their curves. Field admits her art practice has a secretive nature and she prefers to work in complete social isolation, drawing straight lines with a steady hand, layering veils of colour slowly and methodically.

“Widgiewa”, her new show in the cavernous gallery space of Koskela, combines her signature sculptures and a new collection boxed ‘paintings’ that layer painted sheer silk organza and gouache. The luminous nature of the materials generate different levels of intensity.

In installation they evoke the  Cubist colour play and wit of Sonia Delaunay. But in closer proximity they yield more intimate convergences: Warm tones reverberate and the pale surface of the silk takes on a porous quality, like petals submerged in water or skin seen through a veil. Changing with conditions of light, each work is named after a paddock in the broad area of rural NSW where her family had a property. Perhaps it’s an oddity to express vast space in miniature and aridity in jewel tones, but the force of the smaller works dwells in their power to expand, almost glower, beyond the frame.

Field describes the function of living with her work in terms of a peripheral, almost aura-like spectral presence “The function of the painting is being near it, not looking at it in a frontal objectifying way, it’s like a mandala, this is something you inhabit and live with, it’s not about impressing visitors!”

The works are not rigid. Because they are hand drawn there is something softly warped within their compositions. Stretched like a map across a lightbox, they draw you in, looking for shadows, a bleed in the colour or a tear in the surface. Even in close-up the imagery remains discreet, tightly held, a grid pivoting upon a circle or a landscape for the palm of the hand.

WIDGIEWA | Jacky Field
3 – 25 October 2015


Courtesy of the artist and Koskela, Sydney.

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