Ash Tower is an artist and writer studying in Adelaide. His art:
Still Life Still, featuring Nicholas Folland, Wendy Fairclough and Akira Akira is a series of sculptural works that ultimately have different intents, but all intersect in a very distinct negativity or uncertainty in their conception.
Nicholas Folland's Speechless is a series of trophies rewarding such positions as 'absolutely last' and 'worst player', in an attempt to break free of a society where success is a person's total worth. Arranged over a series of shelves, the viewer is presented with a chronicle of failures and disappointments, which are also devoted to recognizing those of us who come last.
This is coupled with Mt. Hopeless, a work that centres on displacement, and ideas of disconnection and being lost. Formulated around an anecdote of his travels and the journeys of Edward John Eyre to Mt Hopeless (from which the piece is named), the heated granite boulders play with the idea of hope, tragedy and going astray.
These same ideas are shown on the sea-scapes, Indian Blue #2 and Pacific Blue #2, which chart areas of their respective oceans. The scale of these works involves a distinct sense of the void, in both its positive and negative senses. The viewer asks whether they are a place to be lost in, or a place to escape to. The artist's sense of escapism is most potent here, in the rejection of earth and all its subsequent problems.
Wendy Fairclough's glass and found object sculptures are a technical triumph, as well as representing notions of humanity and psychological drives we use as the basis for our actions. Acquiescence signals a distinct change in Fairclough's practice, representing a personal catharsis. The pots, pans and buckets are packed away, unable to be used as vessels. This is a resignation of the hope of rain, and a finalisation of a chapter within the artist's life. Hearing the artist talk invokes an intensely personal aspect to the work, as we all have these closing chapters in our lives. Intensely empathetic, Acquiescence details a basic human drive to hope, and to lose hope. In using concepts like still life and props, the artist alludes to these experiences without directly depicting people, making the work much more relatable, by simply showing the objects we all possess.
Any visitors to the gallery will rarely make it through the door before noticing Cache, a collecting of found and created glass stuff into the confines of a table and chair. Fairclough references actions like hiding, hoarding and concealing, and uses these metaphors about how we treat memories and ideas. Sweeping things under the rug, and packing things away becomes such a habit, that we run out of hiding places, and soon we can't function without facing these issues. This is shown with the table, which is too packed full of things to be sat at. Once again using common objects as a metaphor of the human condition, Fairclough successfully reveals intrinsic truths that we all harbour.