Bending Light

Fata Morgana

An exhibition by Zora Avila, Gert Handschin, Matthew Thorley, Yarra Vega

Curated by Tom Muller

PS Art Space

28 May to 11 June 2016

Fremantle Western Australia

We expect light to reveal truth but so often it tricks us with it's elastic gymnastics, creating illusions to toy with our primordial brains. Fata Morgana is a beautiful new exhibition taking its name from a natural illusion - rays of light creating mirages above the horizon, twisting the original image into another altogether. The mirages famously tricked sailors and are so named after a witch of the sea.

The four artists currently on show at PSAS are not wizards, but use their art to explore light, geometry and the sense of plane. Curated by Tom Muller the works shown in the darkened space of the main gallery.

To the left of the entry are Swiss artist Gert Handschin's group of works. The play of surface, size and installation across the large wall space is an attempt to create tension for the viewer and interrupt rational perception of space. The smallest work, Red Light, is a video loop of a candle flame screened at the right hand lower corner of the install.

Local artist, Matthew Thorley is quite at home working with light and space. His tinted acrylic works invite the viewer into the object's gaze, with quiet glows of colour and formed shapes attempting to leap from the flat surface.

Taking centre stage in Zora Avila's light thread work, Parallax. Conveniently for me, there was a PSAS Open Studios event on at the same time and I was able to see Avila's workspace, complete with her prototype for the installation. Her final installation was certainly spectacular to view in the main gallery, drawing lines through the darkened space like a frozen laser. But there was a more disconcerting effect to the light lines darting through the rickety warehouse studio space, arcing past coffee cups, chairs and stacked paintings. Illusion in the context of real-life, subversion of the banal.

Yarra Vega's enormous glass work is coated with a kaleidoscopic film to reflect and play with both its own light and external sources. Geometric planes and ever-changing hues of light draw the viewer with mesmeric effect.

There was a great lesson in less is more in this carefully curated exhibition showing resolved works from each of these very exciting artists.

#FataMorgana #ZoraAvila

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