European literature inspires sculpture
As we continue to bring you insights into the City Collection, which you’ll soon be able to see in all its glory in the new HOTA Gallery when it opens next year, Renae Belton, Education Coordinator, Gallery and Visual Arts discusses the work of Emily Floyd:
‘Literary parrot, Ver Vert is one of five parrot’s artist Emily Floyd has created reflecting her interest in European literature. The subject of this sculpture comes from the 18th-century poem Ver Vert by Jean-Baptiste Gresset. In the poem, we meet a parrot that lives in a French convent and learns to recite prayers and sacred phrases to the absolute delight of the nuns and locals who live there.
‘The story of the parrot takes a turn for the worse when he is sent on a journey to another convent and along the way falls in with the wrong crowd, learning profanities and bad behaviour. His new- found naughtiness ensures his speedy return to the convent in Nevers, where Ver Vert is duly punished with solitude and little food. All is forgiven however when his good behaviour returns, but unfortunately, by this point, the nuns’ overindulgence in the Ver Vert’s every need leads to the poor pet parrot’s untimely death!
‘Beginning as a hand-carved wooden parrot in Emily’s studio, Ver Vert was transformed with a 3D scanner and robotic router to its sleek and polished form. The larger than life parrot shares with us Emily’s curiosity and understanding of objects, and the relationship between the traditional skills of craft and the advanced manufacturing technologies employed in art-making today.
‘Emily exhibits her work both inside and outside the gallery and encourages her audience’s participation with her work. The largely primary palette of block colours employed by Emily reminds me of wooden toys from childhood and the geometric forms found in our early understanding of shape, space, and pattern in our world. Born into a family of toymakers, Emily still uses some of the machinery from her family’s toy-making factory in her practice today. The inheritance of this upbringing, as too, the modernist legacy of the Bauhaus School of art, architecture and design and the colour theory of Josef Albers and other teachers from the School all feature predominately in Emily’s work.
‘For an arts educator like myself, Emily’s work provides endless investigations into theory, play, participation, and the ways we learn. If you enjoy Emily’s approach as I do I’d encourage you to seek out the work of Australian artist Keg de Souza, Swiss artist Luca Frei, the experimental art education of Jef Geys, and the documentation of children’s games undertaken by Francis Alys.’
We can’t wait to introduce you to our cheeky and colourful parrot Ver Vert in person as part of Hyper-Aware: 21st Century Highlights from the Collection, our exhibition in Gallery 3, when we open HOTA Gallery in early 2021.
Image credit: Emily Floyd, Literary parrot, Ver-Vert, 2017-2018, cast aluminium, automotive paint, 140 x 94 x 136 cm, 100kg approx. Collection, Gallery at HOTA. Gifted by the citizens of the Gold Coast to future generations 2018.