As life goes on, we learn to ignore our fear and, as a consequence, we learn to ignore space. This makes it difficult to see space in three-dimensional art in which it is central.
In Space Practising Tools, artist Gail Hastings records a practical way to see and to work with ‘actual’ space in art.
Her book documents spatial interactions through photographs, watercolours and diagrams of five space practising tools the artist handmade.
It aims to develop an eye for space separate from our shared space that we tend not to see. It calls on Josef Albers’ Interaction of Color of 1966 as a precedent in its experimental approach to studio observational procedures.
Unlike colour, though, space rests on a process of recognition in the face of self-repulsion. With it, space reinvigorates art as necessary. Without it, space is invisible.
The philosopher Jon Roffe enlivens Space Practising Tools with a historical perspective in his introduction, which unleashes a twist in aesthetic adventures.
As seen in his highly renowned inclusive approach to Deleuzian thought, Roffe’s illuminating and erudite attention encourages the book’s reach and applicability in the everyday process of being.
As Hastings states in her Preface, “Space is a fraught medium with which to make art. Unlike other art mediums, space cannot represent either a real or an imagined object. It can only refer to itself.”
Gail Hastings is a visual artist who works with the most intangible of art mediums, space itself. Her sculptural situations are in many collections. These include the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney and the Daimler Art Collection in Berlin.
Born in Perth, Western Australia, Hastings’ practice began in Melbourne at the end of the 1980s before she departed for studio residencies in Paris, Los Angeles, Berlin and Sydney.
Indebted to the space developed by Minimal Art in the 1960s, Hastings’ artwork invites us to examine the palpability of space in an unfolding and dynamic practice that remains as intense now as in the beginning.
Space Practising Tools is published by Pigment Publishing (Gail Hastings) and available at selected bookstores. For more information, visit: www.gailhastings.com.au for details.
Image: Space Practising Tools – courtesy of Pigment Publishing (Gail Hastings)