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Full Circle Red Review

By Australian Design Review

17 October 2014

17 October 2014

One of the intangible qualities of a Marion Borgelt exhibition is her skill as an installation artist. Her exhibitions are never a curated hanging in the typical sense, but rather, an experiential arrangement of organically interrelated works. Her current exhibition Full Circle Red, opening this week at Karen Woodbury Gallery in Melbourne, effectively poses the entire gallery as the artwork.

Named for both a primary artwork and a return to the artist’s exploration of red and black that marked her work of a decade ago, the exhibition is far from restricted. Rather, red and black are explored with tonal variations as with the monumentally scaled mural painting piece Moondance No. 1, comprising a suite of 8 panels of undulating and continuous colour and tone.

Gold has also been introduced with the luminous and metallic presence of Dutch Gold Leaf used in the exceptional Lunar Warp: No.5, low relief wall piece. As the name suggests, this work presents qualities of both lunar and solar through a curved and shadowed articulation that is simultaneously waxing and waning, within an overt fullness. Moreover, as light shifts across the surface, the viewer is challenged to continue seeing the work as a round.

This playfulness of how we view a work is perhaps most overtly explored in the lenticular works such as Liquid Light: 75 Degrees or Liquid Light: 66 Degrees and Liquid Light: Butterfly No. 17, which present a sequential change whereby the image shifts from open to closed as the viewer passes. Cut and pinned canvas creates valleys of colour that twist within the field from full to oblique iteration of the colour’s exposure.

This duality of simple and complex view is similarly articulated in the suite of works Full Circle Red. Comprising knots of black and red laminated sculptural wall pieces, the work reads as a series of sketches when viewed front on and it is only through physically engaging with the work that its three dimensionality and the various combinations come into play.  Importantly, Borgelt has used the formal structure of the grid to highlight the irregular within the regular.

Moreover, in doing so she engages the architecture as framing device whereby works slip in and out of individual reading: “The illusion of the dark space; where does it start, where does it stop. Maybe it’s akin to cosmology. The wall sets the space and the distance between each piece, the wall allows each piece to breath in their own separate ways, but has cohesion as a cluster as well. Like any kind of star system, you have individuals, but you have an aggregate” says Borgelt.

Circles, or more accurately round shapes, continue to be a common thread in her work, whether subtly engaged as a dimensionality or mark, their presence ranges from overt to fluid, bold, or sculptural. The Moonlight Tsukimi sequences convey this expression particularly well. Meticulously clad in duck eggshell, each perfect orb is marked by a concave intrusion, which become increasingly large as the sequence progresses. The effect is wholly lunar, with the phases of the moon presented as physical elements.

And while, it is the exhibition in its entirety that marks this exhibition as exemplary, it is the individual pieces making the whole that are exceptional.

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