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Nabilah Nordin: Covergirl Adhesives - Exhibition Opening

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by Kate Maraschino (subscribe)
Kate is a Melbournite who now calls Sydney home. Kate's at her happiest when there's halloumi on the brunch menu and there's a dog to give belly rubs to.
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Visceral sculptures exploring textured aesthetics
COMA is one of Darlinghurst's best-kept secrets; easy to miss if you didn't know what you were looking for. Winding up an innocuous staircase from the footpath of Darlinghurst's bustling Stanley Street, we weren't sure if we would end up in someone's living room, or the exhibition of Australian-Singaporean artist Nabilah Nordin.

Luckily, it was the latter.

art, gallery, Nabilah Nordin, sculptures, Darlinghurst
Nordin's exciting textural work, at COMA. Photo by Kate Maraschino

In her latest exhibition 'Covergirl Adhesives', Nordin 'is actively challenging the commonly-held assumption that to appreciate a surface, or an appearance is a superficial act.'

According to Nordin, this new body of work is concerned with celebrating surface, texture and colour. Functioning on an immediate, visceral level the sculptures act as both stand-alone objects and work to convey the rigorous labour that goes into them.

To achieve a finish and to create a final appearance, whether it is shiny and glossy or activated through globules and ridges, the physical undertaking for Nordin is enormous.

Indeed, some of the pieces weigh more than 120kg.

art, gallery, sculptures, Nabilah Nordin, COMA, Darlinghurst, Sydney
Nordin uses material like concrete to create her work. Photo by Kate Marascino

The work has a physical presence; popping colours in an all-white gallery. The 16 pieces are twisted, textural shapes; some of which evoke shapes of everyday objects, others that could be space junk on another planet.

Certainly, the work makes you think of beauty as a concept, and what is considered a 'beautiful' aesthetic, and if finished pieces; whether a sculpture or our 'covergirl' culture need to be smooth and polished to be deemed beautiful.

These processes – sweeping, sawing, drilling, mixing – are embedded in the sculptures, something the viewer may or may not discern when presented with only the final layer.

It also presents a 'certain aesthetic – a sleek, photographic, sparkling appearance that is, ironically, made from construction and everyday materials – cement, paint, wood, wire and metal.'

Can we find beauty in the everyday? Can we make the everyday beautiful?

Nordin, who completed her Masters of Contemporary Art at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2015, returns to Sydney after a recent exhibition at the Singapore Art Museum.

Her exhibition Covergirl Adhesives is on display at COMA until February 29.
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*Kate Maraschino was invited as a guest
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Why? An insight into aesthetics and surfaces from contemporary artist Nabilah Nordin
When: Until February 29
Where: COMA Gallery: First Floor, 71-73 Stanley Street Darlinghurst
Cost: free
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