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Emerging artists shine at new Craft ACT exhibition

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Craft ACT’s current exhibitions feature award-winning emerging and early-career makers who have reimagined the every day.

Award-winning makers from across Australia have reimagined the every day through new pieces of furniture, jewellery and objects in two new Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre exhibitions—Differing Perspectives and YOU ARE DOING IT AGAIN

These emerging and early-career designers have creatively responded to mundane statements, everyday objects and urban landscapes, to express the future of contemporary design.

“Craft is dynamic, enduring, entrepreneurial and respectful of tradition, uniting time-honoured techniques with contemporary interpretations built for the future,” says Craft ACT CEO and Artistic Director Rachael Coghlan.

“These early-career designers bring colour, play and fresh new perspectives to see the tradition of craft in an exciting new light.”

Differing Perspectives by emerging makers and JamFactory Furniture Studio associates, Calum Hurley (SA) and Jordan Leeflang (SA), is an exhibition of sculptural objects and pieces of furniture which respond to different photographs of metropolitan Japan.

Each image—captured by Hurley in 2017—was chosen to show the country’s unique architectural forms and urban landscape.

Calum Hurley, #3 Chair001, Grey (detail), 2020. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

This exhibition is a collaborative effort between two Adelaide-based creatives who come from similar educational and training backgrounds in the fields of Interior Architecture & Furniture Design.

Designers, artists and researchers Guy Keulemans and Kyoko Hashimoto explain how the exhibition is timely in a manner unforeseen by Hurley and Leeflang.

“By the time we were invited to write this essay for Calum Hurley and Jordan Leeflang’s exhibition at Craft ACT, the impact of COVID-19 on the world was emerging,” explains Keulemans and Hashimoto. “What has eventuated—the closing of borders, supply chains paranoia and a surge in nationalistic, often hostile rhetoric between East and West—clouds the kinds of cultural engagement that is at the heart of this timely exhibition.”

“Its incarnation hinges on a series of photographs taken in 2017 during a trip to Japan, a physical, real-world encounter with a material culture. If COVID came three years early, this exhibition would not have been possible.”

Jordan Leeflang, #8 Kilter Bench, 2020. Photo: courtesy of the artist.

Hurley and Leeflang are curious about exploring the differences that emerge in their ways of thinking and problem-solving.

Individually, Hurley’s and Leeflangs design processes naturally focus on function and human interaction with design. Hurley’s practice gravitates towards reflectivity and light play, while Leeflang’s focuses on proportion, colour and shape.

Meanwhile, Majors Creek-based artist Zoe Brand‘s unique work speaks volumes in YOU ARE DOING IT AGAIN.

Within her practice, Brand uses jewellery archetypes, ready-mades and text to explore the performative nature of jewellery as a device for communication.

She sees possibility in mundane, everyday throwaway statements, which she collects, examines and removes them from conversation and builds the text into signs.

Zoe Brand, I DON’T KNOW, 2020. Photo Marshall-Brand Studio.

Brand enjoys drawing upon the ambiguity of language, of the numerous readings and associations that any one word may possess, as well as how the meaning changes when a work moves from wall to body and back again.

“The work in this exhibition is at once deeply personal and reflective of broader collective sentiment and experiences,” reflects contemporary jeweller and craftsperson and Associate Lecturer at UNSW Art & Design, Melinda Young.

The significance of language is always in flux, however, in 2020 it seems the meaning and resonance of language, or words and phrases is changing daily. Words that signified one thing when Brand started making for this exhibition have rapidly shifted and continue to do so. I encourage you to not only read the works in this exhibition collectively, as a text; but also to pause and reflect on each as a moment in our/your time.”

YOU ARE DOING IT AGAIN is an exhibition where general musings about an unprecedented time are put front and centre, multiplied, divided, made colourful and offered anew.

Zoe Brand, YOU ARE DOING IT AGAIN, 2020. Photo: Marshall-Brand Studio.

Part antidote, part lucky charm and part warning to those closest to us, Brand offers up a series of pieces that straddle the line between the comic and the tragic.

“It wasn’t always this way. I’m not sure I’ve have a chance to grieve or understand the summer bush fires that were on our doorstep for months on end,” says Zoe of her work.

“At that time it was about leaving to find safety elsewhere. And now it seems we are only safe if we stay home. The works in this exhibition aren’t so much about “these times” but rather they have come about because of them. Of course they reflect them and fit into the discourse around them, but they are not stuck in them.”


What: YOU ARE DOING IT AGAIN + Differing Perspectives
Where: Craft ACT, North Building, 1, 180 London Circuit, Canberra
When: On display until 22 August 2020
More information: craftact.org.au/blogs/current-exhibitions

Feature image: Zoe Brand, I DON’T KNOW, 2020. Photo: Marshall-Brand Studio.

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