Please join us for an Artist Talk & to celebrate this exhibition on Saturday 3 December from 1-3pm. RSVP to email@example.com by Tuesday 29 November.
Catalogue essay by Phe Luxford 2016
Contemplation of the night sky – all that dark space, those diamonds of light and the endless unknown – offers an opportunity for sublime re-evaluation. In such a state the concrete certainty of the terrestrial world succumbs to a feeling of deep vertigo, the sheer vastness of what lies beyond casting us out, small and vulnerable, into a series of tenuous, yet highly choreographed galactic movements. Astral bodies glide through a vast sea of darkness, like the workings of some unfathomable, timeless clock. From our earthbound position all we can do is draw lines between our starry points of reference, find patterns in their repeating orbits and use their locations as a means to gauge our own bearings. Formulating connections between the spatial zones of ‘out there’ and ‘right here’ creates a kind of threshold experience, capable of both expanding and collapsing the present.
Through the series of works created for Dark Matter Dion Horstmans presents a playful re-assembling of this theoretical contemplation, turning over the puzzling lines and shapes that inform our understanding of the cosmos. Diamonds, triangles and squares are simultaneously folded in on each other and stretched out to their furthest limits, in an attempt to articulate ideas of the infinite, endless and elusive.
Captivated by the act of repetitive pattern making, Horstmans ceaselessly twists and shifts his points of reference, playing with ideas of scale and creating new translations through a process of facsimile. As his imagined connections, alignments, eclipses and elevations move from the two dimensional into three dimensional forms, the artist/viewer is presented with a series of perceptual encounters which challenge our spatial logic. Shiny black lines and the dark shadows they cast fuse together, negative spaces become sculptural, and the tangible transforms into the temporal. The light and space of the perceptible world itself becomes part of a greater cosmographical encounter.
Horstmans sites his Pacific Islander ancestry as an important influence on his practice, from their ancient sky-lore and complex navigational systems, to the highly graphic patterning found in Meeting House panels and the designs of Tapa barkcloth fabrics. Unlike the fluid, curving forms of much Pacific Islander art, these patterns, found throughout Oceania, are boldly geometric in their design and utilise an interconnected series of triangles, zig-zags and cross hatch lines to translate and represent metaphorical concepts of life and afterlife.
Similarly, the geometric structures of Polynesian ocean maps, or stick charts, assembled from bound plant fronds, use line and angles to read space, sky and sea. Used to depict ocean currents around atolls and islands, these fascinating objects are both aesthetically beautiful and utterly compelling in their expert functionality. Both of these cultural elements gesture toward an abstract representation of the tangible world, as well as toward a deeply symbolic interpretation of the infinite. Together their influences crystallise Horstmans’ vision, giving depth to the dynamic, abstract steel forms for which he is best known.
In a sense Dark Matter springs from a series of fragments; of cultures, beliefs and geometries. Generated from the simple iteration of a singular form, diamond, triangle or square, Horstmans’ efforts suggest that, through the act of resolute construction, some new intermediary zone might be formed, as a means to tether the earthbound to the celestial.
After an initial career within the film industry Horstmans chose to pursue a creative path in 2006. His dedication to artistic practice has resulted in a number of successful solo exhibitions in Melbourne, Sydney and Asia, as well as participation in several festivals and group exhibitions, including the Vivid Festival, Sculpture by the Sea, Artisans in the Park, Sydney Botanical Gardens and several curated shows at the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre.
He has completed numerous commercial commissions, including major public art commissions such as Super Sonic for Collins Square, Melbourne with Hassell/Walker, Elektromaster for Central Park in Sydney and Prismatic for the Ibis Hotel in Brisbane. Horstmans participated in the 2012 L’Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival Windows by Design and has had his work featured in Vogue Living, Harpers Bazaar, and The Age (melbourne) magazines.
Horstmans work is represented in numerous national and international collections including Artbank and The Justin Art House Museum. He has been exhibiting with FLG since 2009. Dark Matter will be his sixth solo with the gallery.