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"Encounters" at Heathcote Gallery
Encounter Exhiition - Words by Sue Girak (PhD)


‘When material leads to art’

Art exhibition by Nidia Hansen


Heathcote Museum and Gallery  -  Opening 28th February 2014

Exhibition 1st March – 6th April, 2014


         The potential of materials and the possibilities of what they hold is what Sue finds intriguing with Nidia Hansen's encounters of wood based materials.  Process and materiality define Nidia's current exhibition, aptly named Encounters.  These encounters are an organic process and it is most definitely the materials that lead the way.  Nidia's empathy with the materials is obvious in her artworks as she doesn't force herself on to them; rather she listens carefully and enters into a dialogue with them.  The intervention is minimal yet the limitless options and permutations as techniques such as folding, crushing, bending and threading have created a wonderful collection of three dimensional structures.

        Sue has observed Nidia in her studio, and has noticed the way she handles each medium with reverence.  The connection and receptivity to the properties of each material with each is obvious.  As a materials-led practitioner process and experimentation an important part of her art-making experience, which is evident in the gallery space in the front room devoted to materials-led practice where explorations and process have been disseminated.  For far too long process has been absent from the gallery experience and artworks appear as if they have been conjured by some magical process yet Nidia has chosen to reveal her aesthetic research with her viewers.  As if it were a museum space, the first room of this gallery is a replica of Nidia’s her studio space in her home.  In this space wood veneer, canvas and paper encounters show how Nidia the basic qualities of these materials are interrupted in a minimalistic way, transforming them into organic shapes, geometric patterns or architectural objects.  Drawn to the sculpture Encounters, Sue can visualise it on a larger scale.  Just as she can easily imagine other material explorations such as Shelter, Implosion and Nesting, reminiscent of Richard Serra’s free standing forms, as maquettes for architectural structures standing in public spaces.  What an exciting prospect!

The sense of impermanence is evident in Nidia’s artworks; through the use of non-traditional materials and lack of functionality this opens a window to an environmental approach as well to endless possibilities in her art practice. This impermanence also reflects Nidia’s open mind to the mechanics and laws of the universe, allowing these materials and objects to play as a temporary aesthetic been in the cycle of creation and destruction. 


About Sue Girak

Sue Girak is a PhD graduate from Edith Cowan University.  Through her materials-led practice her research shows how art-making, in particular creative reuse, plays an important part in facilitating positive shifts in environmentally sustainable attitudes and behaviours. Her materials are sourced from REmida WA, a creative reuse centre in Perth.  REmida is a virtual treasure trove of clean, unused discards sourced from local manufacturers and businesses, which Sue is drawn to because of the potential the discard holds.  The aim of her materials-led research is to encourage others to view these discards not as rubbish headed for landfill but as valuable resources.

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