MARS Gallery: 418 Bay Street, Port Melbourne, Victoria 3207
Dates: 9 October – 3 November 2013
Artist Talk: Saturday 12 October, 3pm
T: 03 9681 8425
Sarah Field’s work is a lavish, sensual affair; commemorative spoons detailing excesses of the flesh, elaborate feasts of feathers and hair, resin puddles and pools, and manes of hair stream from taps. We are served our appetite in the most deliberate terms and it makes us greedy. But here in this new work we are served up a darker fair -and we know we are cruel.
Centre of My Sinful Earth shares the ambivalent magnetism of Kristeva’s abjection with Mary Douglas’ seminal work Purity and Danger. The tools of her trade and the scenarios implied play in the corporeal between seduction and disgust.
The work is something of a self-portrait with traces of the secret centre of the body displayed in sanitized scenarios. Teeth, old razors, perfect cameo soaps. Bathroom cuttings suggesting spit and blood, always neatly sealed at a clinical distance but insinuate an open vein. There is something deeply sinister in the pristine plumbing, particularly when viewed in contrast to the recordings of animal fats broken down to make cleaning products as an aural offering.
In the porcelain lingerie, glowing green and specimen-like in a light box, we also find the artist’s DNA. But here the skin is no easy surface to glide the hand over, no smooth undifferentiated terrain making for a lazy gaze. The piece is too fragile to grasp, its intricacies insisting on the most careful attention. Impossibly delicate and dangerously fine, the skin forms a hollow, haunted absence. Here surface becomes volume.
Porcelain suits this elegant and sinister work and its disciplined display constructs a history perhaps too murky to know. Ossification and artifact effect the self-portrait of the artist – Sarah Field’s perfect fossils hint at malefic fracture.
- Alexandra Harrison –