Gemmy’s World is the latest exhibition of fractal artwork by Gem Preiz. Occupying one half of La Maison d’Aneli at Virtual Holland, curated by Aneli Abeyante, the exhibit opened on June 24th – and my apologies to Gem for not having been able to attend the opening.
The approach taken to the pieces on display is rather unique, the art depicting the imaginary world of a young boy, as Gem explains:
Gemmy is my nephew, a wide-eyed amazed little boy, who spends a good half of his life to dream about the other half.
He is the age where every indistinct shape can become a character with whom he populates his imaginary universe, coloured with the thousand shades of the autumn, because it is the season of sweet chestnuts and fireplaces. As he understands nothing to the adults, everybody looks like animals who get lost in secret meetings and night-patrols, in fights and in wild pursuits.
It is a world full of movement, jumps, somersaults and contortions for, nothing is more boring than to remain sat quiet doing homework while there are so many adventures to be lived, of huts to be built and of caves to be explored. A world with dangers also, those who haunt his bad dreams, but which won’t make him anything worse than to spoil his breakfast chocolate.
He opens you for a while his picture book, and it doesn’t much matter what you will see there: in any manner, he would tell you his stories without even realizing that you are listening to him.
This back story brings the 30 fractal prints on display vividly to life; these are no abstract pieces, they are wondrous places conjured from the fresh and invigorated mind of a young boy. Here are worlds populated by fantastical creatures rising up together or swirling through high corridors of air. Some appear to be on confrontation with one another, others perhaps more playfully competing with each other, and some simply enjoying their freedom of being.
Look closely, and what might appear to be one great creature changes to become many, and what at first seems to be a rolling, roiling, alien sea is yet more creatures or boats or both. There is a dynamism here which is given added depth as we see each picture through Gemmy’s young eyes. Follow the pictures around the exhibit space, and a story seems to suggest itself, each image a portrait of one or more of the protagonists within it. Subtle reminders of the exhibition’s roots in childhood imaginings lie scattered across the floor in the form of toys to be encountered as one explores.
Gem states he used a recent UWA competition which posed the question, “what makes us human?” as the inspiration for the piece. While he did not participate in that competition, it did give him pause for thought as to what his answer might have been, had he done so. This led him to consider the power of imaginative expression, which first arises in childhood.
He goes on to explain, “And it is during childhood that this creation power rises with the strongest intensity, as if children’s inner world was already too immense to contain only what they know about the reality. That’s why comic strips speak to them so much: they suggest them unknown, unusual, visual universes, at an age when it is by the glance that they learn most.”
I freely confess to being a fan of Gem’s work, and have been since first being invited to one of his exhibitions; there is a vibrancy and life to his pictures which I find marvellous. Gemmy’s World is no exception, and I have no hesitation in recommending it.
- Gemmy’s World, La Maison d’Aneli SLurl (Rated: Moderate)