Image Above: Horizons 3 by Annabel Butler. Banner Image: Windows to the Sea 4 by Annabel Butler Photographs: Annabel Butler

Froghollow Studios has a long history as a studio for artists in the inner city area of Sydney. Originating near the infamous Frog Hollow Reserve in Surry Hills, it moved to a larger space on William Street in 2000. Smaller in size now, it is one of the few remaining artist studio spaces in the inner city that provides traditional atelier spaces in contrast to the rapid rise of desk-based co-working spaces.  The exhibition will celebrate the longevity of  Froghollow.

Studio alumni include, Shaun Gladwell, David Griggs Lindy Lee, Nell and Anthony White.

The inaugural annual art exhibition at ARO Gallery on William St will showcase the work of current studio artists, Annabel Butler, Shu Kwan, Jennifer O’Brien, Alan Rose and Tony Wild.

Studio artists work on a diverse range of projects which display an ‘accidental’ synchronicity in their working processes and an emphasis on materiality in their artwork.  ‘Slow art’ best describes the working methods of these five studio artists, their artworks gradually reveal themselves slowly over a period of time.

Annabel Butler’s peaceful muted seascapes reveal a complex methodology of plein – air painting, dissection and re-assemblance. The resulting depictions of abstract seascapes consisting of multiple orientations, viewpoints and depths, all confined within a wooden frame invite us to question how we view the world around us.

In a similar manner, Tony Wild ́s artwork focuses on the beauty found in corrupted digital files/imagery. His painting method consists of a time consuming process of applying multiple thin layers of paint resulting in a harmonious surface that contradicts the corruption in the underlying layers beneath its surface. The inscribed pattern of coding on the surface of the work gives us a hint as to how we might interpret the artwork. Tony further explores this in his neon coloured three-dimensional constructions.

Alan Rose, an early member of the studio group, also has a process driven methodology in his working practice and an underlying chaos under the calm exterior of his work. Using repetitive wooden geometric forms, Alan investigates the boundary between order and chaos. His artwork gives the illusion of a uniform field but then surprises the viewer by the 3-dimensionality of its forms, its play of light and shadow, and the existence of hidden geometries within the work.

Shu Kwan’s drawings and miniature sculptures employ an intuitive response to objects he has sourced from his own domestic and urban environment. His response to these objects focuses on their surface properties, their found state or the possibilities to work and manipulate the objects themselves. He finds a commonality between objects, contemplates their potential harmonization and then proceeds to transform them through re-shaping, adding on and blending objects together. In his sculptural works Shu creates unique miniature environments of calmness and meditation through the transformation of discarded and found objects on a grid like foundation. This underlying grid structure can be seen especially in his drawings. He perceives this grid structure as a structured freedom to make art.

Jennifer O’Brien’s drawings focus on the visceral aspects of our lived bodies, in particular our vascular and nervous systems and the cultural demarcation of it from our appearance. Through a process of sourcing anatomical images, digitizing them and distorting them Jennifer attempts to challenge the cartography of the western identified contained body by creating and displacing visceral organs and venous systems. The multiple layering of drawings on tracing paper and Archers paper infer action, anticipation and indetermination. Jennifer’s work prompts us to question our interior mapping systems, our beliefs about the body and the performative aspect of anatomical studies.

Passionate about resurrecting the history of Froghollow Studios and its contribution to the Sydney art scene, Froghollow Studios intends to make this an annual event.

Froghollow Studios Annual Exhibition
ARO Gallery, 51 William Street, Darlinghurst
Exhibition dates: Tuesday 30 January – Sunday 11 February 2018 Gallery hours: 11-7pm, Tuesday – Sunday

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