4 November 2022 - 28 February 2023
Sofi's Lounge, Level 1, Sofitel Melbourne on Collins
For more than 20 years acclaimed artist Donna Marcus has been creating imposing installations comprised of old well-worn anodised aluminium kitchenware. Often brightly coloured with marvellous patinas, these saucepan lids, jelly and cake moulds, steamers, bottle re-sealers and colanders are presented in geometric formats often based on the forms of the modernist grid.
In 2007 Donna was the inaugural Sofitel Melbourne On Collins Artist in Residence and during her stay she became fascinated by the stock of ‘source material’ she discovered in the hotel’s commercial kitchen. Kindly, the head chef gifted many redundant items of cookware over to the artist to give them new life. From the stove top to the gallery wall these once familiar utilitarian objects were subsequently transformed into powerful abstract forms often with somewhat jewel-like and precious demeanours.
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins is located at Collins Place, the first I.M. Pei (1917-2019) building in the Southern Hemisphere. It was designed in the early 1970s and opened to much fanfare in 1981. The geography of Melbourne’s CBD is famed enough that it is now referred to as the Hoddle Grid after the 19th century surveyor Robert Hoddle (1794-1881) who laid its foundations. This strict rectangular grid scheme has been maligned for so long in this country that even Australia’s earliest modernist ambitions, by way of Walter Burley Griffin (the architect of Canberra), sought to build towards the meandering quality of the landscape even in the 20th century’s early decades. Pei’s approach is less of a departure as it is a re-interpretation, with the Chinese-American architect rotating the building 45 degrees, creating negative triangular spaces around the building’s base.
Donna’s quadrilateral forms have long opted for the same approach, with the new pieces made for Atrium directly responding directly to Pei’s architecture. The objects of the highly organised and standardised assemblages of anodised aluminium invokes a materiality the artist has long cited as a shared materiality between the space program and the domestic; a wonder material of modernism that bridges and confuses the highly ambitious with the mundane.
Donna Marcus is based in Brisbane where she is an Adjunct at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. Check out more of the artist’s work at:
Donna Marcus is represented by Gallery Sally Dan-Cuthbert, Sydney. www.gallerysallydancuthbert.com