Katie Moore: Huff
Exhibition review Katie Moore 'Huff' Contemporary Art Centre Adelaide SA
I've always liked Katie Moore's work but found it hard to understand why. There's usually the immediate response to the materials, not so much the particular materials but the inventive way they're played with and their ordinariness.
Exhibiting consistently since graduating from South Australian School of Art in 1994, Moore has become eminently qualified in this relatively short period of time as an emerging artist. She has participated in a number of group shows at various locations in Adelaide, been awarded the Santos residency in Sydney and most recently held a one-person show at the Contemporary Art Centre. So we have had ample opportunity to familiarise ourselves with her work.
It is minimal in a quiet, sparse, uncluttered and at times breathtaking manner rather than the clinical, cold mode. Perhaps lyrical abstraction in a semi-sculptural form. In spite of the ordinariness of the materials the work has potency; the pieces flop, bend, lean against each other look fragile and precarious. Its position is quite appropriately outside of the conventional categories of sculpture or painting.
The difficulty is in attempting to articulate what comes across as the content or concerns of this work. What is there apart from the formal qualities. I find myself searching for words and... guided by a footnote in Michael Newall's thoughtfully written catalogue essay titled Generosity cautioning over-interpretation "do not go beyond your own day-to-day experience" my thoughts wander to landscapes and note that the artist was born in Clare.
Somehow though, the thought that the soft, undulating landscapes of the Clare Valley might be present here seems extraneous and irritating as does investigation into the domestic qualities of the various materials and their possible relationship to our daily lives. Toothpaste, birdseed, plastic bags and foam. The avenue more easily sustained is an association with the body. The soft, undulating curves and occasional puncture marks, belly button with accumulated fluff and oozing fluids. Stickiness.
Maybe, for the viewer though, the invention of stories or search for so-called significant meanings is just not important, rewarding or appropriate here. The processes around constructing the work are ultimately intuitive and although the attribute of multiple meanings is present in the work, rather than a deliberate attempt to shun meaning, this could be seen as a device. Not in the sense of a gimmick but as an agent used to implement a form of improvisation around which the artist's practice spins.
The sparseness and distances between elements. The shadows falling on softly curving forms and their fragility are memorable in themselves. To inhabit and experience the physical qualities this work has to offer at the time of viewing and the opportunity to recall that quietness, playfulness, gentleness is its significance.