Compositional utterances

Compositonal utterances

A collaboration between: Mandy Quadrio, Susan Hawkins and Jan Oliver                                            University of the Sunshine Coast Art Museum, Sippy Downs, Queensland

Images: Carl Warner


Compositional utterances: Review by Carol Schwarzman, visual artist and arts writer, meanjin / Brisbane

Compositional Utterances is an elegant, restorative exhibition of drawing and sculpture that explores an aesthetics of friendship-based collaboration. The potent pull of bodies is evident throughout the exhibition, most strongly in the traces of how the artists use their own bodies as they work. Going beyond the mark or gesture of the hand, evidence of their corporeal movement is encoded in surface, texture, shape, and form; prompting us to imagine moving, hauling, pulling, shaping, cutting, un/crumpling, balancing, and ultimately configuring and hanging each work in the space. Their finished works evoke the body by cloaking (Quadrio), ensnaring (Hawkins), and locating (Oliver) corporeality. For instance, when Quadrio’s Trumminyer (2023) is viewed in alignment with Oliver’s Untitled (2023) (on the back wall of the gallery), the two form a textural and imagistic assemblage of the figure of an angel, or a giant moth. The metallic, raspy sound of Hawkins’ The Snare (2023) is not gentle: its insistent rhythms cut through our bodies, which inhabit the gallery, and across the eccentrically-shaped space, dissolving solids into a vibrating world. Oliver’s large-scale, cartographic graphite dustings on crumpled paper locate an ecological, environmental standpoint, or even internal bodily organs: lungs, kidneys, ovaries, hemispheres of the brain, and the symmetry/doubling of organic structures as in Untitled, comprised of two separate drawings hung together. These works, which function both alone and in communion, engender community across a metaphorical spectrum of human and nonhuman, living and non-living.”