Tom Blake, Julia Gutman, Gabriella Lo Presti
curated by Elyse Goldfinch
Separation is a rift. It means to rupture, move apart, divide. Separation can be a hollowing experience, one of loss and depravation. It might require us to embrace disappointment, even failure. But it can also be an opportunity for introspection and growth.
After Separation features the works of three artists, Tom Blake, Julia Gutman and Gabriella Lo Presti, to consider the complicated interpersonal relationships between ourselves and others. These artists explore our connections to memory, self and place - from performative intimacy, tenderness and joy to declarations of absence and grief.
Bodies are present in the works of Julia Gutman and Tom Blake. Gutman’s self-portrait captures the artist mid pose. Her rapt expression is so engrossed in her movements and further articulates the figure’s solitude, as though she does not know she is being watched. Blake depicts a hand fragmented and ambiguous – is it holding something or reaching out to touch? This motif is doubled across both works, rendered in wire and light, materials that appear solid yet ephemeral. While Gabriella Lo Presti’s Perspex photographs represent an absence of bodies, their ghostly traces remain. These scenes were taken at two motels, spaces that are microcosms of human relationships, entanglements and intimacies.
During the lockdown, we retreated into isolation and embraced separation as a method of protection and care for others. We filled the empty space with puzzles, baking and walks around the neighbourhood. Our lives became reduced to the small pool of people who shared our homes. Now that we are re-entering the world, we are more aware than ever of the way we gravitate towards and away from each other. At the end of a year overwhelmed by the lasting impacts from the pandemic and physical distancing, After Separation reclaims the importance of our connection, contact and proximity to one another.