In the second iteration of its ambitious new Collection+ series of exhibitions, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery (MPRG) brings together the work of leading Melbourne based artist Louise Rippert alongside dynamic New Zealand based artist Steve Carr from 26 March 2022.
“Whilst their oeuvres are so very different and the artists were unknown to each other, there are some common threads that run through their works – time, repetition, stillness and tension, circular references and mandalas, structure behind simplicity, memories and family generations.” said Exhibition Curator Ainsley Gowing.
Both are highly disciplined artists. While Louise Rippert is perhaps best known for creating detailed works on paper, her practice also explores sculpture, both permanent and ephemeral, as well as light-based public installation works.
“Going to Louise Rippert’s studio was a revelation. I saw how much experimentation she goes through to achieve the effects she creates,” said Gowing.
Steve Carr is a New Zealand based artist known for his provocative performance art. The work included in this exhibition offers an in-depth exploration of his art practice. In 2020 Carr was awarded the prestigious McCahon Residency.
During this time, Covid-19 became widespread around the world, and his mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. The photographic series The First Morning documents a work made on the morning of the 18th April 2020, the day after his mother’s passing.
Photographed by Carr’s wife Anna, this unedited sequence takes its cue from the Belgian symbolist Egide Rombaux and his 1913 marble statue bearing the same name, but equally references the performative conceptual artists of the 1960s.
‘’The First Morning‘ attempts to fulfil a simple yet arbitrary goal, following rules similar to that of a game, to balance the apple on the body,” said Carr. “There are 23 documented attempts in the series and the resultant images are witnesses of that action, but they also reveal what photography can do best, by capturing the rawness of the moment and bringing the inner to the outer.”
When asked about being paired together with Steve Carr’s work, Rippert says, “I sensed a mutual fascination with the interplay of time and memory, and a strong sense of an exploration into internal worlds.”
“Both our practices seem to investigate internal states of being – where we become the witness as time slows, unfolds and suspends us in the stillness of anticipation and towards the potential of transformation.”
“In Steve’s work, there can also be a kind of pathos in the materials, which for me touches on the fragility and temporal nature of existence.”
Also presented in the exhibition, is a work by Louise Rippert titled Forget me not, which reflects on her own mother, Nina.
“I recall as a child my mother returning from long afternoons working in the garden – her stockings covered with the sticky seedpods of dainty blue forget-me-nots,” said Rippert. “Perhaps as a chance to earn some pocket money, it was often my job to remove them – a slow but somehow satisfying process.”
“Almost 50 years later, I found myself caring for Nina during her final year at home. While her memory was fading fast, she tried to cling to all she could of the past, leaving herself notes and maps, almost Da Vinci Code instructions in biro on used envelopes now stacked on her dining table.”
“Often there were lists of things such as names of family members or daily tasks or convoluted timetables. Sometimes it was just her name and date of birth. As our conversations circled around life and death and the unknowability of it all, I sometimes found myself becoming a stranger to her.”
“As I measured, tore, punctured and arranged the delicate blues from my mother’s salvaged envelopes, the work of creating Forget Me Not revealed itself in a slow and meditative process.”
“It gave me time to think about my mother living without her past and how the mind creates identity through accumulated memories. The work remains a type of keep-sake or memento, and reminds me to question the nature of Self beyond our conditioning, experiences and beliefs,” said Rippert.
Collection+ pairs artists represented in the MPRG Collection alongside international artists. The exhibition presents new and existing work covering nearly a 30 year period by Rippert in dialogue with Carr’s large Smoke bubble photographs.
Carr is producing a new work in response to the exhibition and as continuation of the work he produced in 2014 and 2020. There will be over 50 works on display, including prints, collages, sculpture and film.
Collection+ Louise Rippert | Steve Carr
Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Civic Reserve, Dunns Road, Mornington
Exhibition: 26 March to 31 July 2022
For more information, visit: www.mprg.mornpen.vic.gov.au for details.
Image: Louise Rippert, Small Return, 2005, ceramic, plastic chrome – collection of the artist