Featuring fantastical creatures, iridescent other worlds, minutely observed details from nature, uncanny objects and unsettling organic forms Between appearances: the art of Louise Weaver explores the multidisciplinary practice of one of Australia’s most significant contemporary artists.
Between appearances: the art of Louise Weaver opens at Buxton Contemporary on Friday 15 November 2019 until Sunday 9 February 2020.
The title of the exhibition references Weaver’s fascination with cycles of growth, transformation and metamorphosis, the intricacies of camouflage, the dynamics and fragility of the natural world, knowledge, memory and the power of mythology and make-believe.
Best known for her whimsical, thought-provoking sculptures of animals this exhibition encompasses more than 100 works in diverse media including sculptural installations, paintings, drawings, printmaking, collage, textiles, movement and sound.
The exhibition spans more than three decades of Louise Weaver’s distinctive practice and represents the most extensive solo survey of her work to date. It’s the second major monographic exhibition at Buxton Contemporary that celebrates one of the esteemed artists represented in the Michael Buxton Collection at the University of Melbourne.
Curated by Melissa Keys Between appearances: the art of Louise Weaver will unfold across all four of the museum’s galleries. It comprises an overview of Weaver’s richly imaginative, critical and compelling work from the late eighties through to the present day tracing her gradual shift from early figurative forms and compositions through to abstract paintings, objects and sound environments.
Exploring Weaver’s art, one constantly encounters layers, veils and screens, curtains, skins and other surfaces variously suggesting multiple states and dimensions, one thing inside another, her work constantly infers shifting appearances, timeframes and unfolding possibilities.
Fascinated by the natural world and drawing on diverse interests in visual culture, art history, natural history, science, design and Haute-couture, Weaver’s practice addresses social themes and ideas including the environment, feminism, artificiality and transformation. Often characterised as experimental, poetic and playful, she explores and blurs distinctions between the artificial and the natural, the ephemeral and the imperishable, the beautiful and the bizarre.
Examples of early paintings and drawings including the enigmatic painting Man falling from a horse, 1988, which appropriates and reworks an image from a childhood book encountered by the artist in her family home. Weaver sees this work as a precursor to her later artistic interests, illustrating her early relationship to narrative and to the use of repetitive mark making applied to cover, disguise, alter and animate an existing scene.
A selection of Weaver’s celebrated animal forms covered with meticulously crochet skins including the remarkable installation Taking a chance on love 2003 comprising an expansive red monochromatic landscape populated by a bear, a squirrel, a mink, a tree covered with pink blossoms repurposed from an Issey Miyake bag, and a Vico Magistretti light with a rotatable shield incorporated to evoke the phases of the moon. Each object is arranged on large red carpet and reads like a tableau or a fantastical woodland scene cum living room.
Two new specially commissioned large-scale paintings, Diagram for the structures of feeling (Lilac sea) 2019 and Diagram for the structures of feeling (The Green Ray) 2019 shimmer with bands of iridescent colour and suggest the soulful shifting light and heightened colour of sunset over vast expanses of water. Registering as both landscapes and abstract fields of emotion these paintings, in part make reference, in palette, form and oceanic feeling, to works by the French Intimist artist Felix Vallotton.
Between appearances: the art of Louise Weaver opens on Friday 15 November 2019 until Sunday 9 February 2020 at Buxton Contemporary, the University of Melbourne Cnr Dodds St & Southbank Blvd, Southbank.
Artwork: Louise Weaver, Taking a Chance on Love 2003 (detail),