Cover image of the review
Installation view of Luke Sands, *Untitled*, 2019, chewed canvas, 313 x 184 cm, Guzzler, Melbourne. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Luke Sands

Luke Sands

7 Dec 2019
Guzzler 16 Nov - 8 Dec 2019

Luke Sands has long been interested in the mouth as a technical support for the production of art. His Mouthal sculptures (2014–15), for instance, were made from chewing a range of materials (like books, receipts, metal keyring parts, electrical wire and toy clothing), using saliva and the pressure of his tongue and teeth to bond them together into small, compact forms. Sands' singular 1.84 x 3.13-metre-long Untitled “chewed canvas” at Guzzler—a white-cube art gallery with a dirt floor in a garage out the back of a Rosanna share house (a suburb in Melbourne's north-east)—represents his most recent undertaking in this vein. The unprimed cotton duck canvas is pocked by a number of linear holes, which the artist produced by chewing on sections of the unstretched canvas for roughly one hour a day, every second day, over a period of one month.

The canvas is only sparsely populated by these holes—indicative of the physical limitations imposed on the artist by his process (namely, stress to his teeth, which prohibited lengthy chewing sprees and demanded downtime between sessions). To lubricate the process of chewing raw canvas, Sands ingested various liquids: a $4.50 bottle of shiraz he favours, called The Accomplice, produced the range of purple-hued stains; black tea with cow's milk produced the off-yellow stains; instant coffee with cow's milk, a colour almost indistinguishable from the tea stains; and water. From a distance, the traces of this chewing only subtly altere the viewer's eye by floaters in the vitreous humour. the otherwise completely white expanse of canvas. The faint, biomorphic-shaped stains appear to hover over its surface like an apparition, one perhaps even caused inside the viewer’s eye by floaters in the vitreous humour.

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