Currently open through to mid-August 2022 at ArtCare Gallery, curated by Carelyna, is Formless, a collection of 24 monochrome collages by Traci Ultsch, built using photographs and paintings, some or all of which might just be unfinished – hence the title: Formless.
Traci is typically self-effacing about the art on show, stating:
This exhibit follows on from the ‘Crash’ and ‘Overdose’ works from 2021 in being concerned with more personal subjects, this one specifically dealing with more recent events … They are not what they are. Or maybe they are, who am I to tell anyone what to think about any of this. Maybe it’s just a self indulgent ego driven attempt at getting attention in some over dramatic way.
For those who may not have witnessed either Overdose (reviewed here) or Crash (reviewed here) these were very personal pieces (Overdose dealing with the two faces of addiction, Crash a exploration of the nature of art and its relationship with both the artist and the observer); heady and rich subjects for exploration. Here, the pieces are – on the surface – more esoteric in nature; but they are far from being merely an attempt to gain attention, offering as they do a richness of expression and reflection on the likes of life, love, human nature, age, and relationships.
To start with, let’s take the manner in which they images have been set out; a huge amount of consideration has been given to theme, point and counter-point. Grouped into sets of three, each set with its own collective title. These triplets have then bee set out in pairs, two sets of three per wall, each pairing linked by their respective titles, which offer a mix of counter-point to one another (e.g. Just Like Heaven / Just Like Nothing) or a continuation of a central idea (e.g. Don’t Wake Me Up / I’m Dreaming of You).
Within the individual sets of three is a richness of metaphor that helps direct one to thoughts on the ideas of love and life, age, relationships, and so on. Some of these are richly expressive in their simplicity of approach, yet deeply layered in potential meaning.
The left and centre pictures within I Wish You Were Dead, for example, with the twisted shape (shrivelled leaf? slug?) offer both an evocation of the central wish in the most visceral of ways (assuming the object is a slug), and also – with it’s shape mindful of female genitalia – a cruel twist on the wish focused on barrenness / loss of sexuality.
However, there is a risk that in saying this much, I an artificially constructing a framework around these pieces outside of the artist’s core intent – which may equally be to offer a series of pieces we can chose to interpret through the lens of our own life experience and the events that have most recently affected us. As such, I’ll close my ramblings here and encourage you to visit formless via the SLurl below.
- ArtCare Gallery (Melody Valley, rated Moderate)