exhibition statement: A Slow Waltz






“…the intersidereal dust of the non-objective fourth dimension combines with the concept of spatial relativity in a pure notion of infinity, given material form…” [1]


A provocative quote by Kazimir Malevich complemented with recent astrophysical theories about dark energy, dark matter and time are the origin of reductive work that centres on “a pure notion of infinity, given material form.” This purity, transmitted through dimensions and translated by concepts into objects, waltzes around boundaries of perceptions within the volumes of apparently immeasurable space.


A motivating factor for the exhibition this year, with two different site-specific versions at Abstract Project / Paris in September and Sawtooth Artist Run Initiative (ARI) / Launceston in December, is to honour the 139th anniversary of Malevich’s birth. To present the tangible modality of reductive art in the 21st century, while simultaneously celebrating ‘codes’ of Malevich and astrophysics, equates to a metaphysical continuity.


The version at Sawtooth ARI is also minimalist and spacious in appearance but with another set of works. A suspended construction, a painting, a suite of cubes / oblongs) and a 3-dimensional dot are within Sawtooth's Middle Gallery, while an enhanced version of Shimmering Substance, a temporary exterior intervention, is on the footpath at the entrance.




Cosmic Bodies no. 1

Tasmanian oak (1.9cm diameter rod), paper, wire, synthetic fabric, metal attachments, micro-wire; 48 x 120cm 2018

“The non-objective space fills up with more and more cosmic bodies that emit their own light, have their own radiation, forming new pictorial constellations each time.” [2]

A suspended construction, Cosmic Bodies no. 1 translates three repeat motifs in the paintings by Malevich - the circle, the square and the narrow rectangle. As three-dimensional components, they are separate entities balanced by weight and united through their relationships.



Box Step no. 1

acrylic on linen; 30 x 51cm 2018

Recalling Spatial Relativity, Bergman’s 2018 diptych installation, Box Step no. 1 was conceived as a playful take on the box step, a basic pattern used for dancing a waltz. Similarly, this painting correlates two adjacent squares with notions about nearness/ distance and containment/ revelation.



Finite Volumes in Infinite Space (white)

fabricated laser-cut acrylic; seven 9cm cubes and two oblongs (9 x 5 x 9cm and 9 x 3 x 9cm); 2018 

A series of evenly-spaced cubes, spanning the width of two walls in a horizontal line, concludes with an oblong placed at each end. The pattern, however, seems likely that it continues across the doorway within the gallery and beyond, presaging other possible shifts as well. One precedent is Donald Judd’s 100 untitled works in mill aluminum. Likewise, the gloss surface here reflects and radiates light.



Metallic Dot

tin, plastic, fabricated laser-cut acrylic; 1.9cm 2018

Metallic Dot originates from the identical diameter of the circular end points of Cosmic Bodies no. 1. It “…shifts in the process of translation from one to another.” [3] The little mirror-like domed mass may suggest the presence of invisible dark matter. [4] This austere sculpture can be construed as a kind of intervening conduit.


Shimmering Substance

pigment/pastel and micronised diamonds / freshwater pearls / crystal quartz / mica (all non-toxic; made in France); 75 x 75cm 2018

"The white square carries within it the white world (the construction of the world) by affirming the sign of the purity of human creative life." [5]


On the pavement outside Sawtooth, a temporary intervention of fine particles resonates with the same shape as the tilted central square of Malevich’s 1918 painting, White on White. By dusting the surface of the plane with powdered material, its edges not only blur but they also expand. Visitors can walk into the work, literally deconstructing it by dispersing the powder to other points, lines and planes - not limited to the external grid of streets in Launceston. Depending on traffic and weather, remnants of Shimmering Substance may/may not be visible until the finissage of A Slow Walz on 28 December 2018.


The initial concept came about from viewing images of the early semi-opaque glow of Hydrogen plasma. [6] Acting as a catalyst to emphasize dark energy [7] and above all, by association, to venerate White on White, these ever-diffusing particles – akin to infinity – may concoct other, more mysterious patterns.

[1] Kazimir Malevich 1878-1935 and Suprematism, Gilles Néret (Cologne: Taschen GmbH 2003) 65-66.

[2] http://www.vania-marcade.com/ksevt-en-slovenie-malevichs-victory-over-the-sun/

[3] Martina Copley + Francesca Rendle-Short, No Notes (This is Writing) (Melbourne: Impact Digital, limited edition of 200) 37.

[4] “Despite its invisibility, dark matter has been critical to the evolution of our universe and to the emergence of stars, planets and even life. That is because dark matter carries five times the mass of ordinary matter and, furthermore, does not directly interact with light. Both these properties were critical to the creation of structures such as galaxies…to the formation of a galaxy the size of the Milky Way. Without dark matter, radiation would have prevented clumping of the galactic structure for too long, in essence wiping it out and keeping the universe smooth and homogeneous. The galaxy essential to our solar system and our life was formed in the time since the big bang only because of the existence of dark matter.” Lisa Randall, What is Dark Matter? 1 June 2018 https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/what-is-dark-matter1/

[5] Gilles Néret Kazimir Malevich 1878-1935 and Suprematism, (Cologne: Taschen GmbH 2003) 67.

[6] http://www.bigbangcentral.com/galaxy_page.html

[7] “According to Lambda-CDM, dark energy is the “cosmological constant,” represented by the Greek symbol lambda in Einstein’s theory; it’s the energy that infuses space itself…” Natalie Wolchover, Scientists Unveil New Inventory of Universe’s Dark Contents 3 August 2017 https://www.quantamagazine.org/scientists-unveil-new-inventory-of-universes-dark-contents-20170803/






Extra special thanks to Paul MacGillivary, Nicola McClelland, Carole Driver and Mat Carey with appreciation to David O'Malley, Paul Eggins and Liam James.

Sawtooth ARI

Liam James, Director

Level 1, 160 Cimitiere Street, Launceston 7250

7-28 December 2018

Note: Sawtooth ARI relocated to 58 Lindsay Street, Invermay / Launceston 7250 in September 2020; new website link: https://www.sawtoothari.com/