Cover image of the review
Edward Kienholz, Sawdy, 1971, car door, mirrored window, automotive lacquer, polyester resin, screenprint, flourescent light, galvanised sheet metal, Power Collection PW1972.29.2, © Estate of Nancy Reddin Kienholz. Courtesy of LA Louver, Venice, CA.

Light and Darkness

15 Oct 2022
Chau Chak Wing Museum 10 Jan - 27 Nov 2022

Bridget Riley has always understood the relationship that exists between our sight, our bodies and the world. In a 1967 interview with the art critic David Sylvester, the renowned British op artist remembered climbing a mountain in France. The heat transformed the land around her into a shimmer. Back in her studio, the artist painted Static 3 (1966), a constellation of black discs on a white field. As I stand in front of it, six decades on, the tiny ovals wobble. I feel off balance. The more time I spend with the painting, the less sure I am of where my edges are.

Static 3 is on display as part of Light and Darkness, an elegant exhibition at the Chau Chak Wing Museum showcasing seventy works from the University of Sydney’s JW Power Collection, acquired between the 1960s and 1980s. Entering the Museum’s fourth floor Ian Potter Gallery, all stark lines and moody lighting, I was a little nervous. Earlier this year I’d experienced, for the first time, a bout of vertigo that erased a delusion I hadn’t realised I’d harboured: that my senses were objective. That my eyes were a failsafe source of evidence. The experience of being visually unsettled had somehow imprinted my body. My perception felt newly fragile.

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