Historically, art has been used to represent not only the external world, but also explore the internal world - the world of the spirit. For new age brand Key & Isle, it was this amorphous subject behind their recent art show, CC:Spirit.
On a Friday evening in Sydney’s Redfern at the Woodburn Creatives exhibition space, 26 artists displayed works in response to a deceptively simple question: What does spirit mean to you?
Exhibition photography courtesy of Damon Cameron
There was flowing silk covered in anacondas and butterflies, beside a tapestry enstitched with American sports team logos. Amongst paintings and photographs, a tiny block of silver and a giant coffin-sized print graced the walls. Calm vaporwave beats by DJ Midnight Swim played overhead. Across every medium, each artwork invited a healthy discussion into the personal, sometimes private, often taboo topic of modern spirituality.
We were proud to take part, presenting Intangible Goods for a second time after its debut at Art and About Sydney in April 2018. Responding to Cc: Spirit’s question, we see spirit as that intangible side of ourselves, that isn’t fed by junk food and candy bars, but by our deeper psychological and emotional needs. We consume and consume, but what void are we really trying to fill? The question of what our spirit might be lacking meant visitors were hungry for answers.
Intangible Goods by Mark Starmach and Elizabeth Commandeur
Curators and fellow artists Kevin Tran and Adele Tarnawski exhibited their own artworks at the weekend-long show.
Kevin’s painting, titled Javea reflects his understanding of spirit as personal exploration. “At a mate’s party, someone said my spirit animal should be a Cyan Dolphin,” he says. From this suggestion, Kevin soon found himself exploring what Google had to say about spirit animals. Six years on, and a “rabbit hole” of old and new concepts later, emerges Kevin’s cyan dolphin, his spirit animal, in a cosmic space as a creature finding its way.
Javea by Kevin Tran
For Adele, her perception of spirit manifests in a single word – unflappable. Lit up as a fluorescent blue neon sign, Adele believes spirit represents a way of being. “The word is a well-worn mantra of mine,” she explains. “I use it when things don’t go to plan, when I’m hangry, and when Sydney is all too much. It reminds me why it’s important to let things be. To choose where and when to dance. To be unflappable.”
Unflappable by Adele Tarnawski
Meanwhile, Matt White’s digital illustration Connection was accompanied by the words of poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou, “I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel,” a sentiment which summed up what the artworks in the warehouse-turned-gallery-space all managed to do.
Connection by Matt White
A soulful addition to the show - 30% of profits made at Key and Isle’s showcase went to Heaps Decent, an arts organisation working with young people and artists from diverse communities. This support for art is important in offering a window into the psyche of up and coming artists.
Whether it’s a dedication to a loved one’s departed spirit, a belief in the ephemeral, the physical or the non-physical, CC: Spirit gathered people and ideas around a phenomenon as diverse as its responses to it. We were humbled to take part and ask audiences what void it might be that our consumption habits are really trying to fill.