Veronica Cay

the games that play us and dancing on the moon

March 21 - April 5 2020

Art expression is a way of attempting to fathom the myriad chaotic inputs entering our consciousness from the everyday world and beyond. Perception, memory and experience may entwine in subsequent scenarios that defy a wholly logical explanation. Veronica Cay describes her collage works and ceramic sculptures as abstract vehicles to encourage reflection upon the human condition. Elucidating the title of her current exhibition, 'the games that play us and dancing on the moon', she tells how the altering of a familiar phrase ‘the games we play' to ‘the games that play us' connotes the powerful effect words can have on our viewing of a situation: ‘Currently it is becoming increasingly difficult to navigate for the truth of what is happening around us. Given the endless white noise bombarding the senses from so many sources, we may as well be dancing on the moon!'

Of the canvas sharing the same title, Veronica imparts, ‘This piece had so many iterations along the way but it was always two figures engaged in some kind of ambiguous relationship. The figure on the left could be dancing on the moon, a hybrid survivor form, or perhaps just a person with a mask on the back of his head - the joker of the pack? The other figure looks lost, as if watching the more active participant and waiting for direction.' The dominance of this character is emphasised by its appearance in three-dimensional space as a ceramic sculpture.

The canvas family heirlooms - suspend belief, abandon reason again features two figures in enigmatic kinship set against a rich but loosely patterned backdrop. Here Veronica portrays the ‘embraced' woman as a vessel, a receptacle to be filled and emptied, or a depository of experience. This particular female reoccurs in the sculpture, Millicent, albeit with a somewhat more dissident persona. Metaphorical implications aside, Veronica explains that her concept of the figure as a vessel arose during life drawing classes. The arduous rendition of a long pose, that followed the more enjoyable spontaneity of quick sketching, seemed to take on the quality of the still life genre for her. It was as if the model had become a vessel on display.

Many of Veronica's canvases collaged in those life drawings exemplify these notions. Typifying the oeuvre is the work, millie's collection. ‘Millie had a strange and eclectic assortment of memorabilia, mainly from post WWII,' reflects Veronica. ‘It is important to keep memories and not discard them.' Here recollections and keepsakes have been symbolically retained within collaged heads fashioned to resemble beaker-like vessels. Atop a sloping red and green wooden table receptacles, figurines and vases juggle for space. From one, a bunch of flowers emanates above the pensive visage. Veronica divulges that these represent the plastic flowers popular during that era, as was the chequered lino floor. A jug's ornamentation echoes the designs on a vintage, silk dress remnant.

Other works are less grounded. The imagery fluctuates like memories surfacing and subsiding. In tables turn the figures overlap, recede and advance against a flattened tablecloth-like surface. The image's patterned border acknowledges Veronica's former involvement with textiles and quilt making. A schematic family grouping peers out from the foreground, incongruous in its spatial relationship to the larger, more detailed figures. There is a subtle reference to the ‘multiple hats' a woman must wear when a nurturer. Veronica tells that the overt black outlined shape of a jug with its collaged piece of embroidered fabric are a play on the positive and negative forces at hand.

The only canvas in the exhibition without collaged figures and the vessel symbolism is when the truth doesn't make a noise. An assemblage of women, mostly seated, are projected against a heavily textured and layered whiteness. They signify a metaphysical state of being that is immune to the cacophony and busyness of day-to-day strivings. Veronica refers to them as ‘observers of history'. Independent and impartial, their gaze also falls upon the viewer...

‘I am not looking for a pretty conclusion,' Veronica cautions. ‘I want to leave a little bit of mystery and have the works open to various interpretations. Everyone's life experiences are so different. I always think it is wonderful if the viewer can take something from a piece that has personal relevance and it becomes a scaffold for greater understanding.'

JACQUELINE HOUGHTON

 


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