REVIEW: "Barbecue Stalagmites, Balloon Drumsticks," an exhibition at ARC ONE Gallery by Tracy Sarroff
By Betty Milonas
Tracy Sarroff’s latest exhibition at ARC ONE Gallery in Melbourne presents a series of drawings and sculptures that reflect upon art and science in a creative environment. Sarroff is a Melbourne-based multi-disciplinary artist that references ecology and the relationship between art and science in her practice. In this exhibition Sarroff draws upon the natural world, forms, geometry and artificial structures to combine the essences of the imaginary and realness.
The majority of the works are drawings on paper constructed of ballpoint pen, archival pen, pencil, watercolour and gouache to create realistic and rendered images. Sarroff has also included three abstract sculptures to complement the drawings.
The artworks are presented in a white-cube gallery space in a lightly dimmed room with natural light filtering through the skylight. The neutral space and exhibition narrative resembles a laboratory setting as the artworks evoke a scientific experiment in a creative realm. This invites the viewer to the question the boundaries between realness and an artificial world.
Sarroff describes her drawings as “visual gibberish brought about through automatism,” depicting both a quirky and dark motif. For instance, towards the rear of the Gallery there is a series of four medium-sized drawings depicting geometric shapes resembling microscopic images juxtaposed with everyday objects. Blue Conductor is a delicate drawing made with conte pencil, archival pen and gouache on paper. The dark and light shadowing of the drawing highlights the figurative representation of the microscope sphere against the blue conductors—the man-made intervention.
Adjacent to Blue Conductor is another drawing, Barbecue Stalagmites that is paired with a stalagmite sculpture. Glow-in-the-dark Stalagmite, red II is a beautifully constructed sculpture made from wood, expanding foam, phosphorescent paint and epoxy resin. The redness and detailed carving of the stalagmite is one of the striking artworks in the exhibition. The sculpture embodies Sarroff’s intent to communicate the interrelationship between nature and mechanical world to the viewer. The exquisitely detailed drawing Barbecue Stalagmites perfectly complements the sculpture and Sarroff’s exhibition.
Barbecue Stalagmites depicts an everyday object, the barbecue and abstracted liner shapes resembling stalagmites. Here, the barbecue is the main subject matter which is appropriately juxtaposed with the natural element of the stalagmites. This drawing questions the environmental impact of mechanical developments. Sarroff captures the unsettling relationship between natural and artificial creation through the use of texture, form and shape. These formal elements are a common occurrence throughout the exhibition as Sarroff relies on visual narratives to explore the relationship between art and science.
Barbecue Stalagmites, Balloon Drumsticks is a unique exploration of natural forms, geometry and man-made interventions. Sarroff’s works on paper present a series of detailed and abstracted drawings, allowing us to contemplate upon the scientific and artistic elements on each artwork.
Barbecue Stalagmites, Balloon Drumsticks can be viewed at ARC ONE Gallery, from 8 December 2015- 6 February 2016
ARC ONE Gallery
45 Flinders Lane
Tuesday - Saturday 11am - 5pm
+61 3 9650 0589
+61 3 9650 0591