13 October to 12 November 2016
Amy Joy Watson examines the human propensity for imagining different and better worlds from a highly personal and idiosyncratic point of view. Eccentric objects and environments such as sparkling clams with gobstoppers for pearls and helium balloon flying machines seem to come from some place entirely off the map. There is the presence of a childlike alter ego in the work suggesting a subtle sense of nostalgia for the joys of childhood play and a way of seeing mystery and possibility in everything. The imagined worlds of childhood are transcribed through the adult patience and refinement of her painstaking making methods, which often involves delicate hand-stitching of segments of finely cut balsa wood to create geometric forms or laborious hand-stitching through paper to create shimmering tapestries. The inclusion of unexpected outré materials – helium balloons, glow-in-the-dark thread, and tinsel – cause these works to wobble, spin, glisten and even levitate.
Amy’s most recent recent body of work developed out of a residency in Tokyo where her usually sculptural practice needed to downsize and flatten due to space and transport constraints resulting in a series of embroideries on paper using metallic threads sourced in Japan. Conjuring alpine settings from sunny Adelaide, tropical locales from a winter Berlin residency and then lush waterfall scenes while in concrete filled Tokyo; Amy is challenged by the relative greenness of grass. These colourful, sparkly waterfall works could speak of imagined utopic landscape, however, they are quite delicate works that embody a Japanese sensibility – embracing a high level of care, craft and dedication. The stitched surface became quite sculptural and also had a geometric quality, speaking to her sculptural practice, with planes described by directional lines of thread.
Upon returning to Australia Amy began to appreciate our rugged earthy landscape even more and decided to reference Australian rocky landscapes where the lines of the stitching follow strata. In producing this body of work over the course of a year Amy’s interest in geology spread across other continents and even to other planets and also influenced her sculptural works where she references banded rock formations like agates. The natural forms and landscapes represented in both the 2D and 3D works could be from our world or another. The works are laboriously and lovingly made – a nod to the thousands of years it has taken for our earthy and galactic landscapes to evolve.