Prayer on a G String

By Ric Spencer

Marion Borgelt’s Exotic Particles, currently running at Turner Galleries, is an ambitious, polished and beautiful show, and it’s a great experience just to be within it.

Taking up the whole gallery space and interspersed by an energising use of the dividing wall, Exotic Particles comprises 28 works across the media of paint, glass, marble, ply and paper. It’s a varied mix but one handled with empathy as each material is thoughtfully played off against another.

Scale, multiples and assemblage are also important elements in Exotic Particles, with some works stretching 2m across while Lunar Arc: Red Eclipse 1 brings together 10 smaller curved pieces, each lifting off the wall to suggest different phases of the moon.

Lunar Arc is a good example of the way Borgelt uses rotation to provide optical movement in her works, enticing the viewer to complete the work by moving along the piece.

The sublime Venetian Tsukimi No. 2 (New moon to full moon) follows the same lunar arc only in solid Murano glass spheres. Laid out in a line along a Perspex table, this time walking the line carries you through the lunar cycle as the glass balls turn from see-through to solid, swirling mass. More subtle than the lunar wall series, this is a successful tangent of the lunar theme and, like eggshell drawings, evokes the moon on a cloudy night.

Moving along the work also changes the mood of the big linen slit paintings, as the turned-over linen cuts turn from cool to fluorescent tones. A mix of Lucio Fontana and Bridget Riley, Liquid Light: Asian Sun Trilogy resonates deep vibrant oranges against the natural hue of the linen in a work that is ambient in its rhythms.

The Strobe Series of paintings reminded me of Gerhard Richter’s paintings in which he implies that the paint is dragged across the canvases. Again using rotation, Borgelt moves the viewer along the canvas, successfully meshing the physicality of the viewing act and the painting act, implying that art is a two-way dialogue.

Exotic Particles is a thoughtful, experimental, probing show that is quality viewing. Layered in critical and gendered meaning and evoking all types of sensual response, the works together provide a journey through nature’s cycles and rhythms in an ode to our night’s reflective light source and all the emotive nuances it provides.

Exotic Particles is at Turner Galleries, 470 William Street, Northbridge, until October 3.

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