'SYNCHRONICITIES' - Sue Leeming and Britt Mikkelsen (Gallery B)

Synchronicities (Jung) are 'meaningful coincidences' that occur where no apparent causal relationship exists, and yet they seem profoundly related and bring guidance in our lives.

Sue Leeming experiments with the physicality of paint and process, allowing imagery to spring from process. Sue is interested in plasticity and psychological responses to both cultural and physical environments.  Her practice is based around painting and drawing and extends ideas of abstraction, landscape, identity and spirituality.

Britt Mikkelsen allows natural materials to direct her sculptural practice, as she embraces the ‘flaws’ of nature. In this series inspired by Kintsugi, the Japanese art of gilding broken vessels, Britt combines stone and plastics, the natural and the manmade.  Gilding the wounds of nature, repairing them and observing them with new eyes.

By allowing processes and nature to guide their practices, these two artists create moments of synergy in an exhibition that belies the obvious differences in their practices.

Artist/writer Mikaela Castledine has written an essay response to this exhibition below:

SYNCHRONICITIES

Sue Leeming and Britt Mikkelsen

13 November – 6 December 2019

STALA CONTEMPORARY

If there is a distinction to be made between artists who are friends and friends who are artists, then perhaps it is to do with origin stories; but if I was to make an empirical division between those of my acquaintance who fit in to one or the other loosely lassoed group, I think it would come down to whether or not I have ever seen them without art, theirs, mine or other’s in the background.

I have had long conversations with both the artists showcased in this exhibition, about family, about the environment, about relocations, dislocation, loss, love, process, damage, despair and healing but almost all of our words have been back-dropped, both metaphorically and literally, by art and so I will designate them, for the moment, as artists who are friends. The reason I make this point is firstly to disclose any conflict of interest in writing about their art. Secondly it is to illustrate how difficult it is for me to walk into this exhibition and look at each work as a single shining jewel without trying to put them into a setting of my own making and adding what I know to the context. However it seems that by choosing the title that they have, Britt Mikkelsen and Sue Leeming are actually inviting me to form my own relationships with the pieces.

The artists have named this exhibition SYNCHRONICITIES and reference the Jungian origin of the word as ‘Meaningful coincidences’ things that occur simultaneously and seem related but with no apparent causal connection. The etymological relation to words that mean to set your watches at the exact same time or to dive head first and nose pegged into deep water and emerge still twinning your movements with your partner, illustrate the difficulty of achieving deliberate coincidence and makes us believe in gods and religions or some purposeful direction to our lives and thoughts. But it is the accidental nature of these coincidences that is the part we love the most, the ‘Oh! I was just thinking of you and here you are!’ It is the chance, the serendipity of it, which delights and amazes us.

When I think of both of these artists it is always with art behind them. It is how I so often meet them, standing with a glass of wine in front of their work, where it takes just a blink and a tiny change of focus to see their art even while they talk of other things. I could close first one eye and then the other and have now art and now artist in focus but if I was to enumerate all the points of synchronicity between their lives or their work I might be missing the point.

Britt Mikkelsen has become widely known for her acrylic resin works. Belying their organic and natural appearance these works require long hours of drilling and paring back and she became distressed by the amount of waste plastic product they were contributing to the environment. In the last couple of years she has broken open her practice to encompass mediums such as large-scale aluminium sculpture, transitory cotton thread installations and now, a deep dive into the anthropocene has her investigating the impact of human living on the earth at a geological scale. Cracking open rocks and repairing them with a filling of gilded plastic objects emphasises both the persistence of plastic and our shortsightedness in not valuing it as we should.

Sue Leeming’s very recognisable style evokes sweeping abstracted landscapes, the movement of water across land, ephemeral surfaces and the bedding of sediments on the essential, unchanging substrate beneath. Describing herself as a printmaker who left her instruments behind and adapted to painting, she nevertheless applies the printmaker’s principles of layering and overlaying to create her complex pieces. My layperson’s understanding of printmaking, beyond its essential reproducibility, is that it introduces a meaningful separation between the hand and the work and while Sue’s pieces seem to strive to be uncontrolled, natural and accidental they are just as much about our place on the earth as Britt’s recuperating stones.

Despite what may have been the catalyst for this pairing of two artists, the gracefulness of their movements, the perfect timing of their ideas and their corresponding palettes, the synchronicity inherent in this exhibition is not just between them. Despite the carefully considered arrangements of the works such that each produces a harmonising note in another, the correspondence between striations and colours and sight lines across a room, the synchronicity is also not just between the works. e meaningful coincidence, the one that describes the profound relationship of synchronicity is actually to be found between each work and the viewer.

While we can understand and identify with the story of synchronicity that the artists tell, we cannot feel it ourselves and while the curation of the pieces explicitly identifies the points where the pieces meet, such overt harmony can itself be unsettling.  Luckily the delight and amazement at discovering unexpected confluences does not live only in the artists or indeed in the gallery but is ours to have; we can bring our half of the coincidence with us. If we bring sadness and loss then the complex and half concealed layering of Sue’s landscapes of the heart will console us. If we bring our anxious thoughts for the future of the planet, then Britt’s cracking apart of the very stones on which we balance can forge strength and purpose out of formless worry. If we bring a lightness of heart then the detailed minutiae of the clockwork rock mendings will make us smile and if we bring a fractured busyness then the flow and backflow of lines and curves will compose and ground us. If we bring our history, our childhoods, our own landscapes, our own foundation stones and hold them up to find the places where they overlap and mesh and match with the works in this exhibition we will experience that enviable sense of shared connection that these two artists have so clearly demonstrated.

Ideally the curation of a room full of art should be a balletic performance, rising and falling, in unison or mirroring, with pointe and counterpoint as you move about the space. This exhibition is a beautifully choreographed example of artists working separately and in different disciplines but whose work complements the other’s with a beautiful, coincidental harmony. But in addition, if you should connect with a work and take it from this setting, you will discover that each piece pirouettes a perfect duet – a synchronicity with just you.

Mikaela Castledine


Artists

Artworks

SUE LEEMING  - ADJUSTMENT

SUE LEEMING - ADJUSTMENT

oil and ink on canvas 2019, 100 x 100cm

$2,000.00
SUE LEEMING - ADAPTATION

SUE LEEMING - ADAPTATION

oil and ink on canvas 2019, 45 x 55cm

$900.00
SUE LEEMING - ALIGNMENT

SUE LEEMING - ALIGNMENT

oil and ink on canvas 2019, 100 x 100cm

$2,000.00
SUE LEEMING - ANTICIPATION

SUE LEEMING - ANTICIPATION

oil and ink on canvas 2019, 80 x 80cm

$1,600.00
SUE LEEMING - EMERGENCE

SUE LEEMING - EMERGENCE

oil and ink on linen 2019, 60 x 60cm

$1,000.00
SUE LEEMING - FORBEARANCE

SUE LEEMING - FORBEARANCE

oil and ink on canvas 2019, 100 x 100cm

$2,000.00
SUE LEEMING - FOREIGN BODIES

SUE LEEMING - FOREIGN BODIES

oil  on canvas 2019, 80 x 80cm

$1,600.00
SUE LEEMING - IMPENDING

SUE LEEMING - IMPENDING

oil and ink on board 2019, 41 x 51cm

$900.00
SUE LEEMING - IMPERCEPTION

SUE LEEMING - IMPERCEPTION

oil and ink on canvas 2019, 80 x 80cm

$1,600.00
SUE LEEMING - MORNING

SUE LEEMING - MORNING

oil and ink on board 2019, 28 x 35.5cm

$575.00
SUE LEEMING - PECULIARITIES

SUE LEEMING - PECULIARITIES

oil and ink on canvas 2019, 80 x 80cm

$1,600.00
SUE LEEMING - RISING LIGHT

SUE LEEMING - RISING LIGHT

oil and ink on canvas 2019, 45 x 55cm

$900.00
SUE LEEMING - SOLICITUDE

SUE LEEMING - SOLICITUDE

oil and ink on canvas 2019, 80 x 80cm

$1,600.00
SUE LEEMING - STILLED

SUE LEEMING - STILLED

oil and ink on board 2019, 31 x 31cm

$550.00
SUE LEEMING - STRANGE TIMES

SUE LEEMING - STRANGE TIMES

oil and ink on board 2019, 46 x 61cm

$1,100.00
SUE LEEMING - SUBVERSION

SUE LEEMING - SUBVERSION

oil and ink on canvas 2019, 45 x 55cm

$900.00
BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene Study I

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene Study I

stone, found objects 2019, 3 x 8 x 6cm

$300.00
BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene Study II

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene Study II

stone, found objects 2019, 3 x 4 x 6cm

$250.00
BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene Study III

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene Study III

stone, found objects 2019, 2 x 10 x 5cm

$300.00
BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene Study V

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene Study V

stone, found objects 2019, 3 x 7 x 7cm

$300.00
BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene Study VI

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene Study VI

stone, found objects 2019, 4 x 10 x 9cm

$300.00
BRITT MIKKELSEN - Conglomerate

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Conglomerate

stone, found objects, steel, resin, gold leaf 2019, 13 x 21 x 13cm

$600.00
BRITT MIKKELSEN - Fissure

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Fissure

stone, found objects, steel, resin,gold leaf 2019, 56 x 32 x 20cm

$2,800.00
BRITT MIKKELSEN - Igneous I

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Igneous I

stone, found objects, resin, gold leaf 2019, 30 x 22 x 26cm

$1,600.00
BRITT MIKKELSEN - Igneous II

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Igneous II

stone, found objects, steel, resin, gold leaf 2019, 36 x 18 x 13cm

$1,800.00
BRITT MIKKELSEN - Remnant

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Remnant

stone, found objects, resin, gold leaf 2019, 27 x 18 x 9cm

$975.00
BRITT MIKKELSEN - Sample I

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Sample I

stone, found objects, steel, resin, silver leaf 2019, 48 x 10 x 10cm

$2,100.00
BRITT MIKKELSEN - Sedimentary II

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Sedimentary II

stone, found objects, steel, resin, gold leaf 2019, 34 x 19 x 9cm

$1,800.00
BRITT MIKKELSEN - Transect

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Transect

stone, found objects, resin 2019, 13 x 12 x 23cm

$900.00
BRITT MIKKELSEN - Worth Less

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Worth Less

stone, found objects, resin, gold leaf 2019, 25 x 26 x 20cm

$2,000.00
SUE LEEMING - HAPPY DAYS

SUE LEEMING - HAPPY DAYS

oil and ink on board 2019 (framed), 28 x 35.5cm

$575.00
SUE LEEMING - AWAITING

SUE LEEMING - AWAITING
sold

ink on board 2019 (framed), 28 x 35.5cm

SUE LEEMING - FRAGILE LAND

SUE LEEMING - FRAGILE LAND
sold

oil and ink on ply 2019, 100 x 100cm

SUE LEEMING - IMPERMANENCE

SUE LEEMING - IMPERMANENCE
sold

oil and ink on canvas 2019, 45 x 55cm

SUE LEEMING - IMPOSSIBILITIES

SUE LEEMING - IMPOSSIBILITIES
sold

oil and ink on board 2019, 46 x 61cm

SUE LEEMING - LOW-LYING

SUE LEEMING - LOW-LYING
sold

oil and ink on board 2019 (framed), 20.5 x 26cm

SUE LEEMING - MOMENTS

SUE LEEMING - MOMENTS
sold

oil on board 2019 (framed), 20.5 x 26cm

SUE LEEMING - RESOLUTIONS

SUE LEEMING - RESOLUTIONS
sold

oil and ink on board 2019 (framed), 20.5 x 26cm

SUE LEEMING - SETTLEMENT

SUE LEEMING - SETTLEMENT
sold

oil and ink on canvas 2019, 45 x 55cm

SUE LEEMING - SUBDUED

SUE LEEMING - SUBDUED
sold

oil and ink on canvas 2019, 80 x 80cm *ACQUIRED BY THE CITY OF BELMONT COLLECTION*

SUE LEEMING - WANTING

SUE LEEMING - WANTING
sold

oil on board 2019 (framed), 20.5 x 26cm

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene
sold

stone, found objects, resin 2019, 30 x 28 x 21cm

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene Study IV

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene Study IV
sold

stone, found objects 2019, 8 x 7 x 3cm

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene Study VII

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Anthropocene Study VII
sold

stone, found objects 2019, 4 x 6 x 5cm

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Schism

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Schism
sold

stone, found objects, resin 2019, 24 x 17 x 23cm

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Tectonia

BRITT MIKKELSEN - Tectonia
sold

stone, found objects, resin 2019, 38 x 16 x 17cm

STALA CONTEMPORARY

12 Cleaver St, WEST PERTH WA 6005

GALLERY HOURS (During Exhibitions):
Wednesday - Saturday 10am - 4pm
Or by appointment

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