Errant Abstractions: an exhibition about frippery, bibelot and aesthetic fluff.

Galerie Düsseldorf 2008
Photography: Tony Nathan

In an article titled Infinite Ornament, Massimo Carboni claims that the decorative, or ornament, in a Postmodern sense: ‘stands at the intersection between ethics and esthetics, breaking apart familiar value systems and provoking deep psychic responses’. Whilst this statement is too complex to flesh out in the space available, Carboni alludes to the depth of complexity surrounding any meaningful discourse about the ornamental.
The subtitle to this exhibition somewhat audaciously refers to pejorative perceptions of the decorative that deny the semantic potential of this vast and expressive paradigm. The work nods to past decorative lexicons and winks at the present. Amongst other things, it also makes reference to the functionalist architect Adolf Loos’ infamous statement Ornament and Crime, and indirectly to the hedonistic work of the artist Henri Matisse – particularly his late cut-out series, that Carboni describes the experience as: ‘…a garden suspended in air’.
Gaunt’s conceptual raison d’être explores the relationship between architecture and pattern, or the ornamental. For several years she has explored spatial arrangements in architectural space that create new dialogues between the two. In this exhibition she continues to mine the diversity of the ornamental, from traditional motifs to the qwerky contemporary appeal of computer symbols/icons - wingdings, webdings and dingbats.
Twelve decorative motifs from European, Asian and Middle Eastern origins are the source material for the forms and structures of the works in this exhibition. By isolating and repositioning these anthropomorphic decorative motifs, Gaunt engages the viewer with unfamiliar contexts and contemporary translations of these ubiquitous forms.
I am grateful to Andrew McNamara for the term aesthetic fluff.

The exhibition was comprised of the following:

The Partners in Crime series
Laser cut stainless steel
Photography: Tony Nathan/Douglas Sheerer

Dingbat series (webdings/wingdings/dingbats)
Inkjet printed and photographed collaged drawings on archival rag paper, mounted on laser cut aluminium.
Photography: Tony Nathan

Errant Abstractions Installation
Stencilled and painted industrially routed MDF, glue, etch primer & automotive paint.
Photography: Tony Nathan

Florid Drawing series
Stencilled and painted industrially routed MDF deconstructed and re-constructed, glue, etch primer & automotive paint.
Photography: Tony Nathan
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