In the exhibition Sympatico, Elizabeth Gower presents two bodies of work that each explore the cultural significance of abstraction, through the production of non-figurative geometric collages composed from urban and domestic paper detritus.
To create the Tessellation series, Gower hand-cut colour swatches from shopping catalogues into four, five, and eight-sided interlocking shapes before composing them into classical patterns referred to as periodic tessellations. As a result, the rigour of these ordered arrangements are subtly undermined by the visible remnants of text on the marketing material, creating a surprising interlude that contests the symmetrical authority of each piece.
The collages in the Concordance series are made entirely from teabag tabs saved by Gower over many years. It was in the commonly discarded remnants of this ritualised drinking routine, that provided the artist with a seemingly unlimited supply of ‘ready-mades’. Gower found the distinct graphic nature of each tab would determine the form of the individual segments and in turn, the complex visual geometric fields created from the positive and negative spaces.
Overall, the exhibition Sympatico engages with notions of resourcefulness and sustainability to reflect on the excesses of consumer culture. By interrupting the cycle of waste, Gower allays the bombastic nature of advertising to create contemplative rhythmic collages that subtly record the shifts and nuances of the material culture from which they are derived.
Sympatico, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2023; LOCATIONS, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2022; Cuttings, Geelong Gallery, Geelong, 2018; Delineations, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2017; he loves me, he loves me not, RMIT Gallery, Melbourne, 2016; Matrix, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2015; 365 Rotations, AC Institute, New York, 2014; Monochrome, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2012; Amor Infiniti, AC Institute, New York, 2009; Artefacts, Cite Internationale des Arts Gallery, Paris, 2007.
<>, Project 8, Melbourne, 2023; Know My Name: Australian Women Artists 1900 to Now, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, 2020; Unfinished Business: perspectives on feminism and art, ACCA, Melbourne; Elevating the Everyday, The Town Hall Gallery, Melbourne, 2018; Abstraction: celebrating Australian women abstract artists, Geelong Gallery, Geelong, 2017; Virtual Reality, Point B, New York, 2016; Melbourne Now, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2014; Collage: The Heide Collection, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2013; Black elastic, two umbrellas, a mint leaf and wheels, MUMA, Melbourne, 2012; Stick it! Australian Collage, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2010; Cubism and Australian Art, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2009.Artist’s profile