Articles / Catalogues

Natural Selection, 17 September - 16 October 2005

Linden-St Kilda Centre for Contemporary Arts, Melbourne

Artists: Caroline Ho-Bich-Tuyen Dang, Niki Hastings-McFall, Linde Ivimey, Mella Jaarsma, Sharmila Samant

Curated by Christine Clark and Lise Byrne

Excerpts from catalogue

Natural Selection explores the transformative potential of material culture in the varied works of five artists from Australia, India, Indonesia and Aotearoa/New Zealand. Each artist, employing a different approach to the material use of objects, investigates alternative applications for items such as animal bones, earth, stones, clothing, recycled containers and international commodity items. Drawing on these immediate personal and cultural experiences the resulting works bring astute yet sensitive and at times humorous approaches to issues, both local and global context.

Caroline Ho-Bich-Tuyen Dang’s current work uses ‘nettings’ in various forms to investigate the idea of permanency, the process of time and environmental concerns. Dang, who is currently based in the Blue Mountains, uses stone, paper, string and plastic nets to explore these ideas. Her materials suggest fragility and the changing structures over time.

Like Ivimey, Dang investigates the memory of organic objects, however her specific interest lies in the ideas of (im)permanency and the shifting state of being. Her current focus explores the metaphysical life of things rather than the purely functional. This is illustrated in her cloud catching nets, rendered in gouache, and her ‘captured’ stones suspended in hand crotched nets. In her cloud images Dang explores the idea of catching or holding onto the unobtainable, while in her notions of transitory suspension and inevitable change.

Crooked Lines: Memory and Landscapes, 2001

Casual Powerhouse Arts Centre, Sydney

Artist: Caroline Ho-Bich-Tuyen Dang

Excerpts from catalogue by Russell Storer

There is something elegiac about the evocation of nature in these, and indeed other of Dang’s works, an attempt to not only trigger memory but also to capture it, to make solid the drifting images of the past. These images cannot help but be viewed through a frame, and Dang, as she locates her own migratory position, and how we reconcile our history with our surroundings. This frame reconfigures the past and our relationship to it, depending on where we stand. Landscape, being essentially a construct of culture, is never fixed, but in constant flux, and Dang’s ephemeral works convey this simply yet eloquently.