If you haven’t ever come across Bob Graham, and his ‘children’s’ book called The Silver Button, head to your nearest bookshop or get your keyboard fingers going on an online order.
Read it; sit back and smile. By celebrating a single moment, and observing our apparently-ordinary actions in this instant, Graham delights us…. A child plays with her grandmother in a park, a bird finds a worm, a baby performs a momentous action…
I’ll spoil your discovery if I say more about Bob Graham’s characters.
What I will say is that artist Fiona Pole might just as well be walking the streets of his created city, with her similar enthusiasm and aptitude for the details which connect moments in our lives.
This exhibition launches a collaborative project between Fiona and Julia Meintjes Fine Art: This day. About 2 metres of wall shimmers with the history of a moment, in 152 images she has meticulously created on small metal plates. The simplicity of each image belies the fact that the detail in each is imperative: each person an individual, each image a link in a chain which encourages viewers to stop, observe, remember, feel – and find connections in our simultaneously quiet and pulsing world. It’s as if the people in Fiona’s etchings on paper, also on the exhibition, are walking towards the loose web of This day’s point in time, soon to find a plant they recognize; someone they know, a thought they can retrieve.
Fiona’s keen treasuring of human contact is enthused by Jessica Bosworth-Smith, amplified with her catalogues of corals, tigers and flowers. Domestic in their friendliness, these energetic images of wonder at Nature’s variety demand that we celebrate details of the earth. People have connections with others through social activities, moments and memories, and the pressure to return to our ‘busy pre-pandemic lives’ is there, but many are reveling in more solitude than they ever imagined they would choose. Jessica’s images are bursting with life-affirming, imaginative ‘companions’. Though fragile, they are not flippant participants; look: they do call for care.
The celestial web of still night skies, pulled into grids of peace by Wendy Vincent, seem to ask us to pause in the moment – in ‘This day’. Their network of energy lines are stopped only by the edges of the Wendy’s canvases. Created when she was researching Aboriginal images of dreaming, subtle differences in the hand-made spots emerge and fade into floating darkness. These paintings, juxtaposed with Fiona’s and Jessica’s images, are technical masterpieces of design, while reminding us to nurture the trails and journeys of our connectedness with each other and cherish our natural world.