To See a World in a Grain of Sand…………….

By Mia Pinjuh

To see a world in a grain of sand……………. continues to mine the rich field of influences that Marion Borgelt has established as her own throughout her artistic career. It draws on the artist’s understanding of time, space and motion as elemental forces that govern human life. This collection of works both reveals and questions the way people measure time and come to terms with their place in the universe. The science of chronology is evidence of the human instinct to impose order and reason on nature, as a way of exercising a measure of control over their surroundings. However, it is the overarching rhythms and cosmic cycles that interest Borgelt, as her works delve into the essential and primordial.

The works displayed here navigate opposing forces, embodying the cadences and motions of a continual exchange of energy. Cycles of expansion and contraction characterise the large-scale paintings and the series of sculptural pieces. The Candescent Moon Linear sculpture, in particular, represents the measured compression and expansion of a range of natural phenomena such as tidal forces, the orbit of celestial bodies, lunar phases and the human pulse. Each unit changes in scale, advancing and receding in a steady beat, like a metronome. The changing shift of the half spheres in Tsukimi Slice echo both the moon and the human pulse, pointing to the irrevocable link between humans and the environment. The human body is further suggested by the distinction between the delicacy of the eggshell surface and the rich, almost-unsettling gloss of the crimson hue that is gradually revealed.

The use of eggshells in this collection of works indicates the vital significance of the organic and elemental in Borgelt’s body of work. The shells form a mosaic surface that appears to glow.  In Tsukimi Whorls, they are used to great effect in forming a double spiral on timber spheres. They are worlds spinning on an axis, gathering momentum and force. The group of sculptures is a variation on Borgelt’s ever-present ideas of motion and cyclical change.

The solid glass sphere sequence titled Tsukimi with Rings, articulates perfectly the notions behind To see a world in a grain of sand……………. Each sphere is a single unit that contains activity and motion and places tangible limits on the chaos that exists within.

Borgelt’s paintings aim to transcend the flat surface of the canvas, appearing to form three-dimensional shapes. The Persian Strobe series shuns the explicit, favoring a subtle suggestion of exoticism. The overlapping and interlacing shapes imply the hallowed architectural forms of cupolas, spires and minarets. Abstract forms are gradually revealed, pointing to an image that hovers just out of reach for the viewer. As arresting as Borgelt’s work is on first viewing, it also relies on the viewer’s extended engagement and meditation.

An interactive element is strongly present in this collection, as with previous Borgelt exhibitions. It is keenly felt in the cut canvas works of the Liquid Light Series where a new level of complexity is on display. Their potency is fully realized only when the viewer considers the work from several angles. Liquid Light’s meticulously folded strips glow vividly, forming shapes that appear to lift out and levitate above the canvas. As one moves along, the vibrant hues shift to create shapes of varying brilliance and intensity.

On the whole, Borgelt’s articulate expressions of sophisticated concepts are matched by impressive technical accomplishment. To see a world in a grain of sand……………. refines Borgelt’s artistic purpose by marrying confidence of execution with thoughtful exploration of familiar themes.

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