Prove your humanity

Fremantle Arts Centre is home to many artists, and it has showcased a lot of awe-inspiring art and creative works in its time. The latest is their Winter Exhibitions, featuring three shows by artists Casper Fairhall, Rachael Dease, Semiconductor, and a collection of works titled Gifted.

The weather for the opening night was not favourable in the least, but the rain encouraged everyone to gather inside, and we headed through to the first exhibition.

Gifted was fortunate to receive a generous donation from long time Freo resident Mary Hill, who gifted 17 artworks to the City of Fremantle Art Collection in 2016.  These prints and paintings by senior Western Australian artists were presented to the City of Fremantle in recognition of Mary’s husband, Chris—who passed away in 2014. The artworks on display were by several artists: Paul Hinchliffe, Chris Hopewell, Theo Koning, Helen Taylor, John Teschendorff, Paul Trinidad, Trevor Vickers, Karl Wiebke, Jurek Wybraniec—as well as a collection titled Woodworks, which included 10 prints by Curtin University staff and students.

Each individual artist’s pieces varied in styles—including acrylic paints on calico, coloured etchings, and painted wooden dowels. For me, Theo Koning’s pieces stood out . Wall piece no. 18 was a work of timber painted in pastel blue and brown colours that produced a coastal vibe—it reminded me of a piece of driftwood washed onto the shores of Australia’s shimmering beaches.

Marionette and Will they get there? are works by Paul Trinidad and they provided a Balinese touch to the exhibition. With the brown and black colourings of the etches blending the work together, it forced viewers to decipher what was being depicted in the frame for themselves.

I moved through to the next exhibition, dragging my dad along behind me­—he was more fascinated by the fact that the FAC was a lunatic asylum in the 1800s—and entered into Nine times the space that measures day and night by Casper Fairhall. Crisp, vibrant colours and geometric shaping characterises his paintings and they are envisioned as a meditation on the nature of landscape and our place in geological time. The oil paintings on display, Iceberg, Below is above, After us, and Projection, make use of visual illusions and are effortlessly absorbing.Like Embracing Ice, presented by Rachael Dease, was a truly stunning exhibition to witness. Through a black curtain, in an all-white room lit by pastel coloured candles, a screen hung from the ceiling and a series of Dease’s images were presented. The accomplished Western Australian sound artist and composer spent a month in the Arctic Circle last year sailing amongst the collapsing glaciers. Included were photographs—taken by Dease—with battery candles placed in the foreground or hidden amidst the ice. This work encapsulates the the denial of climate change and the increasing destruction of the ice-covered ends of the earth. I interpreted the candles’ symbolism to represent this, with their imaginary heat melting the ice and thus causing the “death” of icebergs. Dease captured Like Embracing Ice in the deep Arctic Sea, with audio equipment that could reproduce the sounds emanating from under icebergs and between glacial cracks. Everyone was silent as the room filled with the eerie but calming presence of Dease’s masterpiece.The last installation of this year’s Winter Exhibitions is presented by UK artists Ruth Jarman and Joe Gerhardt—otherwise known as Semiconductor. They bring two of their pieces to FAC: Brilliant Noise and Black Rain.

Black Rain is a mesmerising moving image in black and white that resembles rain falling; it uses satellite data to observe the space between the sun and the earth.

Entering through another dark curtain, you are plunged into a pitch-black room. The only light comes from the immense projection of Brilliant Noise that fills the entire back wall. This creative piece offers a sneak peek into space, showing off some of the sun’s finest moments. The raw footage, mostly collected from ground-based observations and satellites, flickers between static and high-pitch white noise. However, I could only observe for a few minutes as the constant sharp, shrill noise rung in my ears long after I left the room.If contemporary pieces using sound and art presented from unusual perspectives provokes your creative spark, head down to Fremantle Arts Centre. I can assure you that the 2018 Winter Exhibitions won’t disappoint.


FAC’s Winter Exhibitions are running until Sunday 15 July.