Caoife Power, Nikolaus Dolman, Jackson Farley
Curated by Alanna Irwin
‘Möbius Dick’ takes its title from a Futurama episode where the Planet Express crew confront a space whale that feeds on obsession. Drawing from this absurd encounter, this exhibition playfully unpacks our obsession with the rhythms of visual culture. The works of Caoife Power, Nikolaus Dolman, and Jackson Farley disrupt the limitations of the surface in unexpected and caricatured ways, where images are compressed, collaged, cut-up, abstracted and displaced. This recalls our attitude to digital images, which we consume like a Möbius strip: that baffling, continuous surface with only one side and one edge. The artists craft absurd interventions that comment on this constant loop and consistently bend the rules in search of an alternative edge.
What do we miss in an image by looking at the world from one perspective? Power asks us this question through her painting series ‘On the Surface of Things’, which makes malleable the limits of the frame through a ‘cut and paste’ aesthetic. Bringing together unexplained voids and densely-layered, gestural marks, her works challenge the way we read landscape as familiar and easily mapped. These painterly fragments echo across mediums and across the room in the work of Dolman and Farley. Dolman’s collages hint at mass consumption and the way that we are naturalised to a serial barrage of images through the news, advertising and glossy magazines. He isolates and repeats select images, ultimately taking pleasure in the patterns of cut-out lips and the doe-eyed masculinity of Sylvester Stallone. Alongside this, Farley flays open the historical feedback loop of gendered stereotypes with his expansive, winding line work. These caricatures extend across space and towards a screen, where we see both the comic and sobering aspects of absurdity in his video work, acting as a portal or an echo chamber of toxic manhood.
‘Möbius Dick’ is ludicrous and visually rich. Even more so, it raises questions about gender roles, repeating narratives, and human single-mindedness in the face of infinite possibilities. The artworks revel in disruptions; faces warp, surfaces scatter and masculinity becomes unbound, prompting us to look from multiple perspectives.
Image Nikolaus Dolman, Untitled (Keyboard warriors), 2014, Found images, archival glue on Sylvester Stallone, 87.5 x 60cm. Image courtesy of the artist.