Reviews/Fringe World Festival/Visual Art

Let’s do the mind-warp… in colour

28 January 2021

Colours and sound combine to create the immersive experience of Colour Warp, though there’s potential to take it even further, observes Jaimi Wright.

Colour Warp, Marite Norris ·
The Art Space Collective, 27 January, 2021 ·

Let me preface this review by saying I love the triumph of independent and local art spaces – those cultural nooks and crannies that we often take for granted require so much time and passion to create, and to support them contributes majorly to the character of our city.

Keep this in mind when I say that Colour Warp by Marite Norris, presented by and in The Art Space Collective, a community art space in Scarborough, missed a few opportunities in its exploration of psychedelic immersion and illusion through colour and texture.

Marite Norris. Photo: Katharyn Quinn

Colour Warp is a vibrant and zany installation of multicoloured painted stripes that extends beyond the confines of a traditional canvas, instead consuming an entire upstairs room – walls, ceiling and floor. The work Norris has put into this piece is undeniable. Planning the precise hues, lengths, widths and shapes of colourful lines through paint and textiles so they create an immersive psychedelic effect within this limited space is no mean feat.

Norris partnered with Christopher Tonkin to create the soundscape for Colour Warp. It was a smart choice: Tonkin teaches at the University of Western Australia Conservatorium of Music, where he is the head of electronic music and sound design. His eerie and pensive soundtrack complements the artwork’s intended effect beautifully.

With these elements, Colour Warp does achieve an energetic surrealism. The combination of vibrant and other-worldly colours, lines and textiles uplifts the viewer on entering the space. It’s an effect Norris has said she intended to bring about as a distraction from the reality of Covid.

But I do feel that Colour Warp, on the whole, missed opportunities for further immersion and artistic play regarding illusion. I would have loved to experience it with all doors and windows closed, with no sense of the world outside, in order to properly understand its pigmented euphoria. But the room’s two large windows that look out on to a Scarborough street kept me from the completeness of Norris’s illusion.

The installation also has only one mirror – a tantalising glimpse into the kinds of kaleidoscopic artistic explorations that could have happened. The room’s single mirror perfectly illustrates the effect Colour Warp aims for – an unsteady sense of space that accentuates the playful hues around it. To have only one mirror in a room full of unpredictable colour speaks to unfulfilled potential.

Should I have left my expectations at the door? Perhaps. Should you still go and see this show? Definitely. Art’s interpretation is each unto their own, and I’d hate to deprive you of yours.

Colour Warp continues at The Art Space Collective until 13 February, 2021.

Pictured top: ‘Colour Warp’ fills an entire room with colour, complemented by an electronic soundscape. Photo: Katharyn Quinn

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Author —
Jaimi Wright

Jaimi Wright is your friendly neighbourhood art historian. She has just completed a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) at UWA and dabbles in curating, local arts writing, and 19th century French history. Her favourite piece of play equipment is the roundabout even though her stomach should know better.

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