Rob Gardiner shows new work in the Upstairs Gallery at Two Rooms. The focus on lines and shadow in real space, which informed previous exhibitions at Two Rooms, Window Gallery, Sydney Non Objective Gallery and Te Tuhi, has now shifted to the space of the frame.
Rob now asks the question: “when does a photograph of an artwork become an artwork itself?” Exploring via the process of photography and direct mark making, he looks into how we might construct a formal experience simultaneously perceiving that which is both real and abstract.
The engagement with illusion within these new works is created using a digital camera to record wire drawings and their shadows constructed on the studio wall. Then he alerts us, through painterly means, to the real space between the glass and the image object within the frame. So the resulting work is revealed in three stages: first as that material object and its shadow as a reality, then as a virtual experience through photography, and finally the photograph as an object itself – with paper, its own shadow, the frame, paint and glass. He has gone on further to deliberately disrupt the traditional regular, horizontal hang of a “window framed” image by tilting the frame to its edge in a diamond placement emphasizing the materiality of the frame itself.
The images Rob uses and his re-engagement with the frame as object has enabled him to explore Walter Benjamin’s ideas around the aura of the original- what the writer calls the ‘here and now of the work of art’ – and the reproduced object. The effect is a distancing from representation towards the abstract and object space where his interest lies.