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Meet the artists behind Solid Gold: The Natural World

1 Apr 2021

Meet the artists behind Solid Gold: The Natural World

The opening of the new HOTA Gallery is right around the corner and we’re taking this opportunity to introduce the 19 artists and collectives who are bringing to life the first major exhibition, SOLID GOLD: Artists in Paradise.

The artists below draw their creativity from the world around them. Finding emotion, immersion, and beauty from unlikely sources. These artists explore the concept of nature and environment from unique perspectives, capturing audiences along the way.

You can also read more about some of the other artists involved in SOLID GOLD here.

Ali Bezer photo

Ali Bezer

Ali Bezer has established herself as a multidisciplinary artist creating visual interpretations of ambient sound, experimental music, nature recordings, industrial sound, and cosmic soundwaves. Holding a PhD, which she earned following her research into synaesthesia and the visualisation of abstract sound, her work possesses an incredibly unique and immersive perspective.

Nicola Moss

An artist driven by society’s relationship with the environment, Nicola Moss creates works of fine art dedicated to exploring the burning questions: what is sustainability? Framing nature as a source, rather than a resource, Moss highlights how intrinsic sustainable green spaces are to our wellbeing.

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Jason Haggerty

A long-time Gold Coast resident and feature of the arts community, Jason Haggerty has produced a wide and varied body of video works for screen, VR, live performance, and projection mapping. Through this practice, he explores various forms of immersion through interactive installations, and the implication this has on the viewer, in large scale projection pieces.

Erica Gray

An award-winning sculptor and wearables artist, Erica Gray possesses an extensive background within the fashion industry. Her wealth of knowledge has been adapted to produce an array of stitched, moulded, and assembled pieces, often containing references to personal experience and her concern for humanity and our environment.

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Quick bites from Jason Haggerty and Erica Gray

Jason Haggerty 

How does it feel to be a part of the first major exhibition at the new HOTA Gallery?

It’s an absolute honour to be included in such a special exhibition! It feels quite surreal to be included, especially considering the talent pool on the Coast.

My work in Solid Gold is a large-scale projection with a soundscape designed by Jay Jermyn. Having such an experimental and immersive artwork curated into the inaugural exhibition suggests that this will be a very exciting gallery moving into the future.

As a long-term Gold Coast resident, how do you think investments like the HOTA Gallery will impact the local arts community?

I speculate that such an investment will give the local community a sense of legitimacy and maturity that is usually afforded to larger city centres. The impact will be felt across the whole community, not just as a place to aspire to exhibit in, but as a hub for ideas to flourish, for communities to form, and for arts workers to find a sense of security.

The HOTA environment has always been nurturing and inclusive to emerging creatives – I have been lucky enough to work with HOTA for quite a few years on projects, exhibitions, workshops, and gallery installation teams. So to have this community afforded more resources will only result in a more confident and exciting creative community.

What do you hope audiences take from Humectant Displacement? Are there any thoughts or feelings in particular you’d like to inspire?

I designed this work in Melbourne, during the lockdown, where a sense of isolation and disconnection permeated my art-making. I had dreamed of being back in the surf, of being under the waves, of being somewhere else. Ultimately, with Humectant Displacement, I was seeking to create a piece that would transport audiences somewhere else, to place them under the waves, too.

Has the preservation of the natural world and environment always influenced your work or is this a recent inspiration?

There has been a thread throughout my practice that reflects upon the Gold Coast coastline and the impact ongoing development has on the ecosystem. Working with immersive and interactive art, it is easy to get lost in the technology and lose a sense of story or narrative. However, by combining the sensorial language of immersive media with themes surrounding environmental intervention, I hope to subtly open up dialogue about such concerns in an exciting and engaging way.

 

Erica Gray

Personally, I find your way of weaving experiences, feeling, the environment and a host of other deep and important concepts into your work unique. Can you give some insight in to your process and how you find your inspiration?

I feel it important to make works that engage with the viewer, and in this work I’m pulling in some obvious visual cues for that personable connection; references such as body stance, recogniseable “people” parts such as eyes… at eye level for engagement, as well as an accepted relationship of form and scale. There are also some lesser markers that are not so obvious, such as texture and materiality; a work of various weave that imply tension and a little chaos … a comment on the sometimes tenuous connection between people and nature.

My process often involves time consuming techniques such as hand-sewing, beading and crochet. Processes which lean to a type of thoughtful and meditative state of mind. I constantly consider which textures and which forms will best portray animalistic elements within the surfaces of my sculpture. The crochet, with it’s thick skin like texture and the soft fluffy tulle mimics a fur-like pelt, and, the reflective sequin beads mimic the watery whites of an eye.

Empathy, or the unfortunate lack of it at times, always dwells in my mind. Producing sculpture that evokes a connection, maybe even stimulate the viewer into further thought, can hopefully benefit in actions that readdress any environmental woes and comfort creatures we share the planet with.

Your work feels very personal to you, your experiences, and thoughts. How did this grow from your beginnings in the fashion industry and was this always what you hoped to create? 

I have a working background in fashion and utilise many of the same production techniques in my soft sculpture pieces. Often my sculptures are a play on human-animal hybrid imagery and I’m very interested in how others see the connection between ourselves, other animals and our environment. I’m obsessed with nature and especially the forms and colours of sea creatures and corals.

We are often warned to our effect on the environment, warnings of micro pollutants in the water and the risks not only to aquatic life, but of ours as well. For my part, I reflect on my surroundings and actively try to be less wasteful, especially in reflecting on my own experience working within the fashion industry. I’m very conscious of the waste created by fashion production, not to mention the cheaply made imported, sometimes described as “throw-away”, fashion. Fast Fashion production houses designed to feed the insatiable consumer, who’s beguiled by fashion trends.

We live in a consumer driven environment and I worry that we lose sight of what’s in front of us and surrounds us… our natural environment. I still work in fashion as a sometimes contractor hand sewing bridal veils. So, for over a year now I have been “hoarding”  bags of scraps left over from this endeavour to utilise in my sculpture production; repurposing plays a large hand in my work. The work itself has been slow going in production, a real labour of love and I’m really excited to reveal my sculpture “Ghosted” at the HOTA, Home of the arts, SOLID GOLD opening exhibition event.

What do you hope audiences can take from Ghosted? Did you have this in mind when you were developing the concept? 

“Ghosted”, the title given to my needy little creature, shares a now seemingly common social connection term;  empathy, connection, remembrance is sought by a once unified pair… nature and humans. My creature is holding steadfast in an effort to maintain a connection while the memory of it slowly fades being ghosted is a feeling of connection made more prominent by its removal (an emotional void ) and I hope my sculpture evokes connection with the viewer, as well as an empathetic connection and understanding of what we have to lose if sections of the environments are destroyed and removed.

I’d like the viewer to look beyond the pretty exterior and wonder about the layers of this creature. How this metaphor representing nature, a coral colony, a creature, an environment…even us! It is clinging on and has become ultimately reliant on mankind for a sustainable environment.

Acknowledgments

Exhibition Corporate Partner