30 April–29 May 200430 Apr–29 May 2004
The cooking utensils and implements that have formed the basis of Donna Marcus‘ artistic project over the last ten years are the stuff of post-war era kitchens, namely items made from aluminium, a material that has played a key conceptual role in the artist’s work. The work speaks about the commonality of human experience and the role of memory, offering a comment on the nature of contemporary sculpture, through the transformation of the everyday, mundane ephemera of life into the truly uncanny.
Ideally Marcus does not interfere with her subjects, preferring to leave intact inherent marks and scratches incurred through a lifetime of heavy use. With Code she intervened only to remove the handles of the frying pans lids, revealing the rubbed raw aluminium evidence of years of wear, as well as a pattern; this pattern, an exposed ‘dot’, ‘bracket’ and ‘cross’ of the manufacturers’ making connects together as an inscrutable abbreviation, as though these inscriptions were the remnants of an arcane language, or ‘code’. This ‘code’ emerges and becomes apparent as part of a larger pattern when repeated across a formalist grid.
The works featured in Code are specifically informed by the artist’s interest in the rhetoric and aesthetics of Minimalism, and Marcus uses repetition, a key minimalist strategy, as both a formal and visual device. The electric frying pan lids in their grided wall formations, engage with ideas surrounding abstract painting and the monochrome, that ‘sacred cow’ of modernism. The conflation of painting and sculpture is key to Code and highlights the artist’s interest in exploring the possibilities for sculpture.