One of Australia’s most highly respected and preeminent artists, Pat Brassington, returns to Melbourne with a new solo exhibition, Just So. The show continues from 8 March - 9 April 2016 at ARC ONE Gallery.
Working predominantly in photo-media, Pat Brassington is recognised as a leading exponent of Australian contemporary art. She has developed a singular practice that draws on ideas from psychoanalysis, feminism and Surrealism, consistently producing visually- and psychologically-intriguing work and enticing critics, curators and the public alike.
For this exhibition Brassington takes her title from Rudyard Kipling’s famed Just So Stories, a collection of short and highly-fantasised tales on the origins of animal phenomena. Trading wildlife for humans, Brassington describes her images as ‘fanciful depictions of human biological traits and behaviours that … feel to be just so’.1Her visual fallacies unite the strange with the familiar, creating – in a distinctively Brassington fashion – an ambiguity that causes our interpretations to falter.
Among the fifteen new works exhibited, images and motifs observed throughout the artist’s oeuvre resurface and present freshly precarious insinuations; tongues poke and mouths gape, a lonely fish stagnates in an indeterminate hollow, and a crimson pearl balances delicately at the apex of feminine thighs. In Just So, as with much of Brassington’s work, there is a persistent sense of the uncanny, the dream-like and downright unknown that permeates her often beguiling and at times disquieting imagery. Reds and fleshy tones quietly pulsate within an otherwise monochromatic palette – like blood through veins – and signal danger and pleasure in equal measure.
But there is also beauty and a decidedly wry humour to be found. On closer inspection of Pearl, subtle tufts of pubic hair peep out from behind their shiny shield, revealing the artist’s penchant for cheek. In Home and Away, Brassington explores the relationships we have with loved ones and the effects of distance in a compositionally-striking diptych of an incoming airplane mirrored with the outstretched arms of a pre-Raphaelite nude. It is at once arresting and moving
Just So offers a fresh round of musings from a brilliant artist’s mind. Provocative, luring and mysterious, Brassington might be taunting or charming us – at times it’s impossible to know.