1972, 38cm x 38cm Photo - montage, aluminium and glass panel/box
“Fantasy renews search for the world of fact”
Nothing delights and surprises like the new in art. It slips under one’s guard and one’s taste.
Denyse Gibbs’ exhibition at the Tolarno Galleries accomplishes just that. She calls her square, box-like drawings and collages an ‘Exhibition of Documents ~ Collated 1972’. They combine both the new desire to make art objects the conveyors of information, an art that seeks renewed contact with the world of fact, with a neo-surreal fantasy.
Her subjects are common pests - flies, ants, mice, cockroaches. These are either meticulously presented in enlarged scale, deadpanning it all the way, or attached to the surface accompanied by explanations or explanatory drawings.
Thus domestic pests are transformed into another context. They are scrutinised with the objectivity of an experiment and given the ironic dignity of a still-life.
These “documents” carry a sort of “art information” about the ordinary, the daily and the repellant. They are infused with a delicate, surrealist poetry. Their modesty is as admirable as their accomplishment and refinement of execution.
No work pretends to something beyond itself. It carries its single idea with clarity and concentration. As the most successful essays in the new informational art I’ve seen, here or elsewhere, they bear witness to a new and remarkable sensibility.
Patrick McCaughey, Art Critic - Melbourne, Australia