Regional NSW 1994

FROM INSIDE THE OBSERVATORY: TOM ARTHUR, CHARLES COOPER, JANET LAURENCE, BRONWYN OLIVER, LAURENS TAN, NOELENE LUCAS. Wollongong City Gallery and tour of Orange, Tamworth and Gold Coast Regional Galleries NSW 1994.

FROM INSIDE THE OBSERVATORY 1994.Charles Cooper provided the initial impetus for this exhibition. His profound delight in the metaphor of the observatory derives in part from the distinction between looking and seeing, the transformation from a passive process, merely seeing, to an active seeking and creative understanding. It also derives from an awareness that the act of observing entails, paradoxically, the necessity of obscuring to enable a focused perception.

Cooper’s work displays an enjoyment of the Eureka! effect, that of discovering previously not understood relationships by a process of thought, memory and observation. He takes the readilv understood icons of an automobile society, its  road signs and indicators, its cross roads and its patterns of travel and confronts the viewer with an invitation to position them self at a new kind of intersection, allowing their perception to discover a correct visual alignment.

In this way his work addresses the possibility of seeing something far beyond the obvious.When positioned correctly, one can see the painterly surface of the moon, or is it the representation of an alternative universe? By re-siting the common place icons of a motor vehicle society he renders them almost emblematic of a kind of tribalism. This contextual and intellectual shift allows him to present these products of Fordist culture as shields or decorative objects which deflect us from a better set of possibilities. We have then to approach the intersection from an archaeological understanding, rather than merely as a chronological map of the juncture at which those that drive cross the path of those that walk.

The piece therefore allows the viewer to examine and experience the relationship between interference and perception. His work explores our mental connection with changing patterns. Its base lies in a holographic rather than a computer analogy of the human mind. Like Calvino” his work is focused upon and highlights the incessant pragmatic interferences that reality continually offers up. This piece of art could lead to doppler like shifts which aim at affecting our mental processes and planetary view points.