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Exquisite Nature : Exquisite Neon

Seedlings by Emilie Patteson

Artworks by Emilie Patteson & Harriet Schwarzrock

Curated by Aimee Frodsham

Thematically neon and nature may seem at odds with each other. Both are exquisite, one for raw earthy connections and one for its vivid, buzzing city feel. Artists Harriet Schwarzrock and Emilie Patteson have been paired to explore these contradictions and to discover pleasures in the commonality between the two elements.

Patteson’s work is grounded in her exploration for collecting and preserving plant material within glass. In this exhibition Patteson has selected intense and unexpected colours from nature within her work. These colours remind us that nature can have its surprises like the rings on a blue ring octopus or the brilliant reds of the gum blossom.

Neon Heart by Harriet Schwarzrock
Neon Heart by Harriet Schwarzrock
Bloom by Harriet Schwarzrock
Bloom by Harriet Schwarzrock

While Schwarzrock is known for her bold, bright use of text and neon installations. The use of neon within this exhibition is as a metaphor for electric currents within our own bodies, our heart beat, our breath and our very own biology. There is also the poetic linking within Schwarzrock’s unilluminated text pieces to the history of text from the golden age of neon, but grounding these pieces in a calming neutral space so to better contemplate their meaning than be dazzled by the lights.

Neon in its essence is a rare and naturally occurring gas, it is precious and fragile, and only once it is charged with electricity it glows. Artists have been using this medium since the 1960’s.

As our relationship to the natural world has shifted over time, today’s contemporary artists are not passive observers. Nature itself has evolved through global changes in the environment, and artists are finding meaning within nature in contemporary life as we now know it.

‘I am drawn to the intrinsic complexity and aesthetic beauty of biological forms and growth. Most intriguing is the complex interplay between an organism and the verging environment. At this edge; interconnectivity demands a fragile yet robust balance. A fascinating interplay of contracting and expanding forces becomes apparent’ – Harriet Schwarzrock

Harriet Schwarzrock’s work is inspired by biology. She works with blown glass elements, neon and metal fixtures, focusing on the exploration of balance and interconnectivity.

Emilie’s work examines life cycles, particularly of plants, to draw attention to the fleetingness of life.

‘My work is also inspired by the aesthetic qualities of scientific collection, from the shapes of the scientific glass, the order and display of the collections, and the attention to detail. These qualities allow me to examine life cycles, particularly of plants. Through this study and observation I realise the fragility and preciousness of life’. – Emilie Patteson

Aimee Frodsham began her career as an art handler after graduating from the Glass Department at the Canberra School of Art in 1999. After working on projects such as the installation of the National Museum of Australia and Anzac Hall, Aimee moved to London to work at the V&A and subsequently at Tate as the Planning Manager.

Since returning to Australia in 2015 Aimee has curated a number of successful exhibitions including Collecting Nostalgia, 2016 Hindmarsh Prize, Reflections works from Canberra Glassworks and the Parliament House Art Collection and most recently Defining Moments at the Canberra Glassworks.

The exhibition opening reception at Suki & Hugh Gallery is 3 – 5pm on Saturday 13 May 2017. It will run until 25 June 2017.

Suki & Hugh Gallery
38A Gibraltar Street
Bungendore, N.S.W

Tel: 6238 1398

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