Saint Cloche Gallery
Paddington, Sydney, Australia
August 11-September 1, 2015
Playful, bold and exuberant, Black Line Boogie presents a collection of black and white artworks that celebrate the power of line and spontaneous mark-making. There are works on paper and canvas, and functional and sculptural ceramics, all of which make high-drama mileage from simple means to create a dynamic immersive black line environment.
Longtime friends and creative colleagues, van de Wiel and Howlin had each been, independently and quite coincidentally, pursuing a visual arts practice in which black line plays a major role.
It was only when the idea of exhibiting together was suggested, that this resonance leapt out as a joyously uniting theme. Black Line Boogie captures their shared feeling of play, a black-line frenzy.
The collected works bounce off and respond to each other in a fanciful kind of dance.
For Mary van de Wiel, black line takes center stage in all her work. As an artist, brand storyteller, designer and radio show host, she has worn many hats but it all comes from the same creative pipeline.
She sees grit, drama and true color in 100% black and white. Maybe that’s what living in Brooklyn does to a girl?
It’s been 20 years since she’s last worn color.
In Black Line Boogie, she explores creativity, re-invention and the freedom to draw ourselves into new stories and feelings. A new way of being.
Always the incurable doodler, she put aside her sketch books three years ago and began to scale her work big, bold and impulsive. It started with black house paint on a wall in Mexico, exploded floor to ceiling in Manhattan and now trails over every Sydney opportunity. From murals to gallery windows to three-legged stools, fabric, chairs — wherever there’s an chance to play. This is van de Wiel’s first exhibition in Sydney.
Her exuberance as a design thinker was well-known in Australia before she moved her business to New York in 2000. Van de Wiel now paints her way back and forth across the Pacific.
Jan Howlin came to black line some years ago when she began exploring it as a means of dramatizing and accentuating the volume and curvature of her hand-built functional ceramic forms.
By staining clay black and sandwiching it together with a plain clay body she created a material that contained line-work as an inherent element, and she enjoyed the graphic simplicity and unpredictability that resulted. Her more recent sculptural work also relies on black line to accentuate form and volume, but it is achieved through different means. This finer, looser line-work creates a vitrified finish and a textured surface that traps glaze or pigments. At the same time it adds vigour to the figures she creates and life to the ideas behind them.
In bringing the work of van de Wiel and Howlin together, Black Line Boogie presents a dynamic, hand-drawn,
hand-made environment, a buzzing fusion of black and white that brims with energy and delight.