Transmutation brings together two Canberra artists whose sculptural and photographic work dissects the ordinary to traverse unfamiliar grounds.
Rebecca Selleck’s work is concerned with the ambivalent relationship between the animal world and humans. Selleck used sculpture and photographic work as an emblem for the perceptual dissonance experienced when empathising and identifying with creatures, while simultaneously disengaging, denying them agency, and objectifying them.
Skin 1 uses old leather garments to create hybrid, tactile forms that addresses the ubiquity of leather as a material in contemporary culture. Leather garments have the memory of both the original animal and its second life as an extension of the human skin. Selleck reimagines it as a kind of abhuman material akin to a Gothic body. Fenkata/Watering Hole hybridises her childhood associations with rabbits from a cross-cultural background, with tactile rabbit forms gathering within a nostalgic dining scene. Her photographic series Animals in Landscape result from the embodied hypocrisy of working in taxidermic construction. In these photographs, the artist’s human form becomes object, as it’s segmented and blurred into the background, and the representative form of the animal becomes living subject. They are an offering and personal catharsis.
Far from didactic, Selleck’s work is both beautiful and peculiar, falling into absurdist realms shared by her collaborative artist in Transmutation, Tom Buckland.
Witty and humorous, Buckland’s work is influenced by science fiction and the surreal. An enthusiast of miniature reproductions and analogue kinetic sculpture, Reality Travelators reveal micro-worlds of whimsy and metamorphosis – transmutations that ask us who or what we are and where the hell we are even going. Through the lenses of small wooden boxes, the audience is transported to this strange world.
On the other end of the spectrum, Buckland’s Home Invaders bring the minute into glaring focus with human-sized insects engaged in mundane domestic routines. Looking in the eyes of the typically tiny co-inhabitants of our planet, it could be hard not to wonder whose existence it is that truly serves a purpose. Whimsical in execution and sobering on contemplation, Buckland’s work is unavoidably enjoyable.