Reviews/Visual Art

Kotai offers material for meditation

28 May 2019

Review: Eveline Kotai – Invisible Threads ·
Art Collective WA ·
Review by Miranda Johnson ·

With a focus on colour, pattern and texture, Eveline Kotai’s work rewards a sustained focus. Her current exhibition at Art Collective, “Invisible Threads” combines recent works with those selected across her 40-year practice.

Kotai’s work spans a broad range of materials including beads, thread, wood, and printmaking. She unites this diverse practice through her deep commitment to pattern and texture, meticulously detailed, and an ongoing experimentation with materials. She is drawn to the relationship between art-making and the natural world, particularly through elements of continual change, or the cycles of life. In her more recent works, she cuts up her paintings and restitches them together in an act of collage that reflects an increasingly fragmented, transitory world.

Trace Elements Expanding 1-9, 2019, is a succession of nine canvases restitched together in this way. As the viewer walks along the wall, the canvases progressively become smaller and more colourful, ranging from large, luminous and pale to a tiny riot of colour at the end. Whilst they initially look like paintings, and in in a way they are, but the canvases have been sliced into strips and stitched together, reordered from their original composition by the invisible threads of the exhibition’s title.

For Kotai, this way of working opens up a space for contemplation, and the possibility of regeneration. This meditative mood is reflected throughout the exhibition, not only in the large collage-paintings but in the artist’s smaller, delicately patterned works that similarly avoid any kind of representation, focusing purely on abstract patterns. Whilst this could be seen as a way to make sense of the world, or create order out of chaos, it’s actually the opposite.

Rather than representative works that try to make sense of or reflect the world around us, Kotai’s methods of working create experimental new spaces and visual languages that don’t rely on ordering or representing the world, but simply exploring it, and creating new possibilities along the way.

“Invisible Threads” ends on June 15.

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Author —
Miranda Johnson

Miranda Johnson is a curator and writer who has worked for various contemporary arts institutions, co-founded Cool Change Contemporary and co-hosts Fem Book Club at the Centre for Stories. Miranda’s favourite aspect of the playground is getting the chance to meet as many dogs as possible.

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