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Mixed media, News, Reviews, Visual arts

String theory

Fringe World review: Annette Nykiel’s “Meeting Place” ·
Spectrum Project Space ·
Review by Belinda Hermawan ·

A product of Annette Nykiel’s three-week residency at Spectrum Project Space at Edith Cowan University, Mt Lawley, “Meeting Place” is an exhibition that embraces the concept of textured storytelling. Utilising hand-plied string and hand-dyed cotton cloth, Nykiel entangles us in an exploration of what she has termed “the Country” – several non-urban places to which she feels an attachment to and visits often.

The purposeful use of yarning objects echoes the idea of Nykiel as a creator, the spinner of an immersive tale in which cloth, beads, rocks, fibre and string are handled and built upon, wound and coiled, encased and released. Many of the incorporated elements are made from naturally occurring materials that have been processed in some way to achieve their current form, for instance, cloth from cotton, or ceramic from clay.

Yet these installations are far from static. One cannot help but feel an energy from Panspermia 1, 2 and 3, as if there is potential being encased in these tightly bound balls of string. The feature piece The Country is a mixed media work spanning a wall and the floor beneath that could very well be seen as an explosion of volcanic energy, where rock has been catapulted on both the X and Y axis, plotting an array of woven and fired objects. This scattering is also reminiscent of how we find ancient artefacts in the ground; fragments all within a tight radius of each other, yet still wholly hidden under the earth.

Meeting place Annette Nykiel

The feature piece The Pit, consisting of neat rows of repurposed mineralogical sample bags and spanning an entire wall, is more ordered in its dynamism. Each bag has been hand-dyed individually, creating one-of-a-kind patterns with variations in colour, tone, saturation and negative space. Together, the grid assembly mimics an impressive periodic table, a man-made formation designed to help us make sense of all the discovered elements.

Meanwhile, the folded, dyed cloths in the nearby Strata sit in a pile – have they been folded down or are they to be hung up? Like the hand-plied sting of Coming-going, installed on the floor in a multi-layered line against Spectrum’s information desk, visiting Nykiel’s “Country” implies a freedom of movement; we are not trapped where we have come from or where we are now.

The idea that there are threads, both literal and metaphorical, that bind is not a new one. String making itself is a craft that has existed since time immemorial. The idea of cyclic life is also universal, as easily experienced again on viewing Yarning Circle, made from retted and bound fibre. However, rather than being purely derivative, Nykiel invites us to engage with these recycled materials and appreciate that reinvention can in itself be creation.

‘Meeting Place’ runs from 1 – 17 February 2018 at Spectrum Project Space as part of Fringe Festival.

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Calendar, February 18, Visual arts

Fringe World: meeting place – Annette Nykiel

Opening 1 February, 6-8pm; Exhibition runs 2-17 February @ Spectrum Project Space •
Presented by Annette Nykiel •

An artist in residence project at Edith Cowan University (ECU) will explore a sense of regional and remote non-urban spaces, where the artist walks noticing the ground beneath her feet and collecting materials that she can make things with.

Annette Nykiel is the recipient of the 2018 Spectrum Project Space Artist Residency. This annual program allows an artist one month’s access to Spectrum Project Space at ECU’s Mount Lawley Campus as a working studio, with the aim of exhibiting new works in the gallery at the end of the residency. This program is now in its fifth year.

Annette Nykiel is a practice-led researcher and currently an ECU PhD candidate. During the three-week residency component of her stay at Spectrum Project Space, Annette Nykiel will slowly transform the gallery into a making place. From this transformation, an exhibition will emerge, created from piecing together gleaned fibre, fragments of found objects and handmade textiles. The resulting assemblages will evoke the non-urban spaces where the materials are gathered or made during sustained fieldwork. She invites people to gather to make and yarn with her during this time, but please let us know when you are coming.

Nykiel spends many hours, observing, and wandering in the bush and along the coast. Her experience becomes a slow tactile place-making that asks questions of the relationships between the maker, her materials and the place. Narratives and assemblages emerge from dyeing and plying plant fibres and cloth, which are pieced together with found objects. The emerging assemblages bring with them, a sense of the non-urban and transform the gallery space into a map of place.

At the conclusion of her residency Nykiel will open her exhibition, meeting place, at Spectrum Project Space as part of the FRINGE WORLD festival 2018. With over 700 events at more than 150 venues, the Fringe festival is the largest annual event in Western Australia and recognised as the third largest Fringe in the world.

meeting place will also be a part of the City of Stirling’s Summerset Arts Festival 2018. Now in its tenth year, the City of Stirling’s Summerset Arts Festival showcases the unique lifestyle and diversity of the City through a range of free and low cost events and activities that celebrate our heritage, art, music and culture. The 2018 Summerset Arts Festival will be jam packed with art exhibitions, live comedy, children’s events, theatrical shows and live music that the community can enjoy across multiple spaces and places throughout the City of Stirling.

Annette Nykiel is a socially engaged bricoleuse, a maker, and a practice-led researcher, exploring questions of the Country. She is interested in raising the awareness of the value and importance of relating to the materiality of non-urban spaces. These spaces include regional places where she takes images of the ground between her feet, and gleans material for fibre and textile works while practicing in her field studio. Annette wanders between urban, regional and remote areas in a variety of roles as a geoscientist, arts worker, maker and workshop facilitator. Her textile, fibre and photographic works are held in the John Curtin Gallery, Artspace Mackay and numerous private collections She has exhibited in a variety of spaces in Perth, regional Australia and online.

Annette Nykiel will undertake her artist residency at Spectrum Project Space at ECU’s Mount Lawley Campus from 8 January to 31 January. The meeting place exhibition opening celebration is on Thursday, 1st February, 6:00 – 8:00pm, the exhibition will then run from Friday, 2nd February until Saturday, 17th February at Spectrum Project Space, with an artist talk and demonstration on Saturday, 3rd February. On Friday January 19th, Friday February 2nd and Friday February 9th, the artist will be making and yarning at the gallery and invites you to come and join her from 10-3pm.

For more on Annette Nykiel visit: http://www.annette-nykiel-artist.com

More info: www.facebook.com/spectrum.ecu/
Email: spectrum@ecu.edu.au

Image courtesy of Annette Nykiel.

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