> ESSAYS

 

> ESSAY: KEEPSAKE, 2017

 

To read – to see, to understand – is to interpret one’s time. To write. There is no reading that is not technological. — BERNARD STIEGLER, 2009.

 

Stiegler’s concept of reading is based on the reciprocity between reader and author formed through the shared technical competency of writing. Reading comes from knowledge of how to write, and the ability to show what was understood by writing in turn. The philosopher argues that humans have always existed with and through technologies but when the speed of technological development confounds social organisation a state of disorientation ensues. In the current intensification of digital and informatic technologies, the “participative aesthetic” between creator and audience is severed because “encoding and decoding operations are delegated in(to) machines.” We receive the outputs of these technologies without memory of how they were created.

 

Do the artists included in this exhibition occlude this “participative aesthetic” by using digital technology to “encode” their content? The atmospheric qualities of Kirrily Hammond’s paintings, and the dimensions of Sim Luttin’s photographs,indicate the use of a camera phone. Both artists have sought to capture those illustrious moments of the suburban everyday by routinely taking quick snapshots. The phone becomes a mnemonic device, in the artists’ words, holding those “quiet moments… before busy takes over.” Yet both artists produce discrete, non-digital, objects from this process that defy the continuous information flows of digital life. Hammond paints detailed fragments of these images in oil pigment on small copper plates. In Luttin’s works the photographic images are both mounted in small picture frames and encased in oxidised sterling silver. The artists call these objects keepsakes. Luttin’s jewellery pieces are to be treasured, keeping the image close to the body. However, these objects are not made in memory of a special person but of a passing moment: a stopgap against the ravenous frenzy of time devouring space and itself. 

 

In these painted and photographic images, many will recognise the back laneways of Northcote, the conglomerate of electricity poles and overgrown creek tracks distinctive of Brunswick, and the miner’s cottages of Carlton. Both artists also picture places further afield, suburbs I do not know the names of, in Germany, Belgium, and the United States. These are the moments glimpsed at twilight on the way home from work, peering out the window of a moving car or train, or walking to the local park. For all the stasis of these images, the rectangular buildings and vertical power poles, there is a sense of mobility, of passing through. Hammond’s most abstract image renders the flat land seen from the car window at the edge of Melbourne in horizontal bands of blue, pink, and Payne’s grey. The sweeping brushstrokes are translucent allowing the copper to shine through, leaving a reflective surface. 

 

The works of both artists bear the marks of their creation. Due to the ubiquitous use of camera phones many viewers will read these works in Steigler’s terms, and feel a reciprocity with the artists. Perhaps this understanding will be shown with an embrace of their own quiet moments and reclamation of time. 

 

> Dr Jessica Neath, 2017

> From 'Keepsake' two-person exhibition, Kirrily Hammond & Sim Luttin, Bundoora Homstead Art Centre as part of Radiant Pavilion, Melbourne.

 
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ESSAY: TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE, 2015

 

Artist and object maker Sim Luttin plots a course across time. Examining notions of ritual, personal authenticity, and materiality, she inserts meaning at each point on a highly personal internal map. Her practice is grounded in daily ritual and the first charted position is her gaze. A still or moving image is taken, uploaded, printed, and then distilled. A brief pause allows ideas, motifs and shapes to emerge that may then be translated into objects. 

 

This pause also allows Luttin to consider what these moments are presenting, searching for meaning in the often mundane, constantly reaching for a connection between instinct (image) and intellect (object). The silver tones of her photographs are translated into the burnished silver of jewellery. The most fleeting of moments become anchored by objects, transformed into historical markers, building up layers of both memory and meaning.

 

Luttin has made time stand still. This form of time travelling, looking for meaning in the fleeting moments of past, present and future, taps into the artist as vigilant observer. She understands that we can’t function without reflection, and that we need time to rest and contemplate before being swept into the next moment and the endless permutations time offers. The objects she has created act as a form of punctuation.

 

Social media provides us all with a momentary sense of control. We choose where our attention lands, both inward and outward. We curate our lives as a series of status updates and filtered images that speak to not just who we are but who we claim to be. A constant scroll of visual possibilities. We present it to our ‘audience’ and in doing so we say ‘this is important, this is the moment, this is what I bear witness to. By showing you this I make you complicit in its meaning. If you ‘like’ it all the better, if you ‘comment’ on it an extra layer of meaning is added’. The moment now has documentation. 

 

Time pushes and pulls, from the fleeting to the glacial, both universal and personal. Luttin creates work that can anchor us to both time and place. As the objects move from studio to gallery to collector, she creates an idiosyncratic map extends out and makes new connections and diversions. Time can play havoc with memory and we have almost no control as to what retains meaning and what gets sifted away. 

 

Think about time too deeply and you may experience vertigo. The rotation of the earth and the gravitational forces that pin us here are the only things keeping us from losing our grip on the passage of time. Luttin understands that what may have seemed insignificant at the time, upon reflection is perhaps the point where everything turned and changed. If we can find some authenticity through image or object perhaps all is not lost.

 

> Ramona Barry, writer & author, 2015
> From 'It's Always Darkest Just beofre Dawn' solo exhibition, Gray Street Workshop, Adelaide, and Radiant Pavilion, Melbourne.

 

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> ESSAY: THE TEMPORARY NATURE OF THINGS, 2008
 

Sim Luttin has always found her inspiration in nature, objects of the every- day, and the work of the artists whose work she admires. Luttin's pieces in the exhibition The Temporary Nature of Things at Pieces of Eight Gallery represents a snapshot of the body of work she created while working on an MFA degree at Indiana University in the USA. Her distinctive aesthetic expresses her love of sterling silver and oxidized sterling silver, with the carefully considered additions of other materials, such as graphite, porcelain, hematite, garnet and plastic plant parts.

 

There is a sense of calm and sophistication in her work. Luttin's Paper Cups are the only hollowware objects in the exhibition but they can easily be identified with Luttin's jewellery because of the delicacy of the forms, the consideration to detail, and her signature silver and black colour scheme. Luttin's neckpiece The Small Things is an interpretation of the everyday in nature. It is quiet, understated, and easily overlooked. The dandelion pendant Just Dandy represents promises of hope, flight and fancy. In its simplest form, it’s about casting a wish off into the winds. The delicate neckpiece Forest Whispers invites close inspection of the beautiful roller printed plant images inspired by observations Luttin made while wandering through a forest dwelling in Maine.

 

For her thesis project at IU, Luttin was inspired to create a piece a day for one year. Through her research, she was motivated by Twyla Tharp's work ethic outlined in her book "The Creative Habit", and the film titled "The Five Obstructions" by Danish director Lars Von Trier. Similarly to the parameters set forth in the movie, Luttin challenged her self-created paradigms through physically making, therefore recording her daily experience and environment, which allowed her to reflect on the on aspects of the human condition. Each day she transformed materials into works that are creative, poetic and extremely sensitive. Accompanying each of the pieces are small books that hold a watercolor or sketch and a Haiku that captured some glimpse or memory of that particular day. 

 

The body of work produced was a personal expression and admission that she lived a life with constant nostalgia and melancholy. As observers, it was invigorating to watch Luttin as she created her small wonders that delved into nuances of the everyday and that are conceptually engaging and beautiful. The thesis exhibition The Temporary Nature of Things, totalling 366 pieces, made an extensive installation out of refined miniature jewellery and objects. The selected works for the exhibition at Piece of Eight give a glimpse of the entire project and the rich picture assembled through the talent of Luttin.

 

Sim Luttin has the inspiration, creativity, and intelligence to make work that will excite collectors and keep pace with the creative dynamics in the art world. Her work will quickly establish herself as a leader in contemporary art jewellery and metalsmithing field as she continues to question, challenge, and seek the unexpected.

 

> Randy Long and Dr Nicole Jacquard, 2008  

> From 'The Temporary Nature of Things' solo exhibition, Pieces of Eight Gallery, Melbourne.

I respectfully acknowledge the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, the traditional custodians of the land on which I create and exhibit art. I pay my respects to Elders past and present, as well as to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the wider Melbourne community and beyond. Indigenous sovereignty has never been ceded. I acknowledge that I work and live country on which Members and Elders of The Wurundjeri people and their forebears have been custodians for many centuries and on which Aboriginal People have performed age-old ceremonies of celebration, initiation and renewal. I acknowledge their living culture and their unique role in the life of this region.

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