‘Gnarled Edge’

The Gallery of Notional & Non Art (GONNA) in Kookynie is finally opening, with the launch of a new exhibition by #POH, the anonymous Banksy of the West Australian goldfields.

The exhibition comprises a Sculpture and an Artist Statement, both below. You may touch the sculpture, if you wish, without moving it.

Everyone is invited to the vernissage, but try not to scoff down too many canapés or cordials, as someone else might turn up.


Artist Statement 

by #POH 

The artist has always been fascinated by the unrelenting contradictions inherent in the traditional understanding of knowledge, spiritual teachings, phenomena and existence. 

As a teenager growing up in the nondescript Sydney suburb of Pagewood, he was able to deconstruct the semiotic elements of that bland name into Page and Wood. These causally or casually connected elements so redolent of the orderly and random textures of the universe, prefigured his inspiration fifty years later for this oeuvre, expressive of such teleological ephemera. 

Drawing on Heidegger and Hegelian dialectics, the immaterial takes form in the material expressed here as wood, interpreted and overlain with semi-sacred texts inspired by Foucault’s ideas of power and knowledge in The Order of Things. 

The viewer is invited to reflect or indeed participate, by looking into the hole, in the ontological oscillation of meanings and replicas of the human condition represented by the block universe and the hole’s immateriality or non-being. 

The woodwork sculpting technique may borrow from the Japanese tradition known as Sashimono, or working without nails, which in turn derives from monosashi, meaning use of a ruler to carefully measure the timber materials. Contradictorily though the rough-hewn block may ironically embody an anti-monosashi ethic? You can decide. 

Interpretation of the mysterious elemental, existential and phenomenological themes of Gnarled Edge leads to further discourse on the Derrida style deconstruction of the human condition and exploitation, indeed alienation of our physical environment.. 

The structural wood material is blond and unburnt, but curiously called Red Ash, which ironically again, is a tree of the Fraxinus genus, unrelated to true ashes. The sculpture is a tease with its multiple layers of irony and rhetorical vitamins. 

In a playful dialectic between the apparent and the concealed, Red Ash timber is commonly used for veneers, thus extending the surface and subterranean metaphor and its Bauhausian sensibilities by the choice of materials and plasticity. 

Equally, the dialectic between permanence and impermanence is reflected in the timber’s rot resistant status of moderate durability, susceptible to termites. Similarly for the metaphysical question of truth, which is conjugated by the straight grain and even texture of the wood, but which may produce fiddlebacks (curled or swerved grain). 

Hidden from view though as an unter sub-text are esoteric qualities of the timber only known to wood cognoscenti: Janka hardness, the modules of rupture, crushing strength, shrinkage and above all specific gravity. A veritable quantum theory of the universe waiting to be revealed by a saw and chisel. 

So, Gnarled Edge sets new outposts of the future with its vanilla-slice layers of undecidability of the spectral gap and prevailing Jungian archetypes, pushing the theoretical limits of the pandemic zeitgeist beyond our cognitive space. 

Of course this written Page intersects with the Wood sculpture to determine the power of that original Pagewood concept so anchored in past and present temporal zones of existence. The future by definition remains unknown, unless more spectral gaps appear.

Sculpture made from locally-sourced offcut Red Ash, with white painted edge and saw cut, texta-print. Dimensions: approx. 35 x 31 cm. Unique piece.

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