The Darkness and Light of ‘undo the day’

The Darkness and Light of ‘undo the day’
Image: Credit: Zan Wimberley

By ASPEN ABNER

undo the day is a thoughtfully curated exhibition that spans across two floors and heavily uses sound, color, and light to awaken the viewer’s senses. The ground floor of the exhibition features abstract and minimal pieces to convey a feeling of darkness. Moving to the first floor, viewers are greeted by works that liberally use light and color. Each floor has an audio piece that adds to the appropriate ambiance of each floor. 

Having the opportunity to speak with curator Gina Mobayed one-on-one, she explained her decision to start with darkness before transitioning to light. She expressed that she believes it is humanity’s “natural progression to move from something that isn’t representational towards something that is potentially suggestive. 

“You come into the exhibition and it is very quiet, with gestures on paint, scarring, and a lot of suggestive work. Then, you can move upstairs and start to see hands and limbs take shape a bit more. Visually, it felt like a journey.” 

Thankfully, all of the art pieces and artists naturally fell into place for her. Once “one artist became confirmed, it led me naturally to the next artist, since I had a very clear idea of the experience I wanted to offer to people.” Speaking to the process, Mobayed said, “It requires a lot of looking and a lot of thinking. For me, the process is very much turning ideas over and over in my head until I know I’ve hit that point where it feels right. It’s a lot of gut instinct.” 

This gallery will be on display from June 14th to August 3rd. The artists displayed are Karen Black, Nathan Hawkes, Irene Hanenbergh, Ruth Hutchinson, Nabilah Nordin, Mel O’Callaghan, Tom Polo, Ronan Pirozzi, Jodie Whalen, and Coen Young. 

All pieces are definitely noteworthy and unique in style. Ruth Hutchinson’s sculpture appears on both levels, and the size of the pieces encourages closer examination. Karen Black’s larger and more vibrant pieces form the barrier for Irene Hanenbergh’s first-floor painting, while Hanenbergh’s work on the ground-floor shows sublime landscapes hanging by their lonesome. 

Mobayed was able to work closely with the artists and remained in constant conversation about what both wanted from this exhibition. She mentioned she felt “grateful that the artists felt a connection to the concept” and it is wonderful to finally bring it all together after looking at a screen for six months.

The gallery’s layout constantly creates questions about scaling. Attendees are encouraged to view pieces from different angles. Mobayed explained that she doesn’t overhang her shows as she tends “to step back and let the gallery space contribute to how the show feels.” By not showing too much, viewers can get a sample of the artists’ works and make their own impressions. 

Concerning the audience and their takeaways, Mobayed hopes that as people move throughout the show there is a softening of the heart. Elaborating on this, Moyabed says, “Undoubtedly, there have been dark times for many people. I hope people feel that they’ve had time to reflect and they’ve had a bit of a rinse out of their mind.” 

Mobayed said that she has left everything open for art lovers to come and have an honest conversation. “Once you walk through that gallery,” she says, “it’s possible for you to bring your own thoughts, feelings, and interpretations.”

undo the day
14 June-3 August
https://nas.edu.au/undo-the-day/

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