an elephant in the room : a painting installation at SLOT, 2015

The work was conceived specifically for the SLOT vitrine. As my work usually explore felt space in intimate and personal context, this public window space created a schism for me with the private vs the public. The geometric and organic forms manifest the flesh of seeing and being seen. The emotion of contradiction is somewhat similar to the idiom of An Elephant in the Room- the schism is something that is obvious and apparent, for some reasons, either a taboo or too difficult, it is side stepped and goes unmentioned. In this respect, it is a metaphorical idiom for the obvious going unsaid. This is my feeling about this work / project, where the personal that is unsaid, going on display in a public window.

Anie Nheu’s art is about space. Most literally in this piece it is the space between 2 pictures. This place where something isn’t, as Anie describes it, the elephant in the room.

In this piece the gallery like space around the work has been artfully “sculptured” into a form of equal importance to the objects that make up the exhibit. And it is the art of a dance. A painted colour doesn’t cover an entire surface; it leaves a colour behind that pushes the form back while correspondingly the wall pushes forward. At another moment holes cut in the work offer lagoons of white wall while off shore two islands of colour seem to have been deposited, “Spratley like”. This picture is not presented on a wall, it’s colonising the wall. Gently underlining the fact that it has taken ownership of the space. Gracefully wrapping around a corner in the wall and quietly stepping off the wall on to the floor this work has arrived in our space, subtly merging with our space as we observe its elegant form.

In her notes on the piece Anie Nheu describes her work as “identity formation” a process where the obvious can go unsaid. Here among the morphing relationships of her forms she reads the emotive content of the work. It replicates her life as a migrant. Travelling with her parents from Taiwan through the 3rd worlds to Australia. What might have been a firm foundation for most of us was fluid for Anie. Things have never been just one thing for Anie. And if we think for a moment few things are ever just one thing.

This elegantly restrained work approaches the edges of most art and fearlessly steps across them. Without hesitation it side steps the self-serving clatter or transactional enterprise, and in its place offers us poetry, reflection and silences that otherwise would remain unseen, the elephant in the room, perhaps.

text by Tony Twigg

© 2015 Anie Nheu. Images by Tony Twigg

an elephant in the room, 2015 close up - an elephant in the room