23 January to 24 February 2007

Allison Hrabluik
Two Portraits and a Landscape

Diaz Contemporary presents the first solo exhibition of Allison Hrabluik with the gallery. An emerging artist actively exhibiting in Europe and Canada, Hrabluik will be showing new video, sculpture, and wall works for Two Portraits and a Landscape.

Using a technique wherein she videotapes a scene, prints stills, cuts out individual elements, then reanimates them using stop-motion animation and detailed scale models of prop elements, Allison Hrabluik has created a haunting new video work, Rossendale. Projected on the gallery wall, this video portrays a farmer, who, garbed in a work snowsuit, purposefully works with an assortment of odd fantabulations. These machines are inventions he has assembled in answer to the specific needs of his farming activities, and function as manifestations of aspects of his persona otherwise invisible to us. Projected in the gallery space, the whiteness Hrabluik uses to represent the prairie winter and the confines of the farmer’s workshop seeps out to join with the neutral gallery walls; an analogy becomes palpable between this farmer’s work and that of an artist in their studio.

Across the gallery a knobbly, knotted tree stands: shimmering before the viewer’s eyes, it resolves itself as a life-size recreation fashioned from papier maché and collaged prints of tree surfaces. Comprised solely of a trunk and the gnarled nubbins of branch bases, the sculpture shows a tree that has been shorn down again and again, leaving swollen nodes from which branches will stubbornly return. This Flemish Tree stands stanchion-like, an intrepid soldier still on guard from an antediluvian directive, giving the sense of a haunting and mute anthropomorphised figure. Adjacent to this hang two large framed pieces the artist refers to as storyboards. These shadowboxes hold dozens of disparate images—watercolours and digital prints. Together they form the suggestion of a fantastical narrative structure, or harvested elements of an imagined landscape.

Hrabluik’s Two Portraits and a Landscape plays with the literal and figurative language of art making tropes to suggest amalgamated narratives and representations hewn from disparate territories—the hinterlands of wintery fields, the storied Flemish landscape, and the exteriorised products of our own psyches.