TOUCH AND GO
30 Jul - 31 Aug 2014
"NICHOLAS FOLLAND" by Lisa Slade, 2014
Nicholas Folland’s studio, a former corner shop in suburban Adelaide, is a place of play and speculation where objects have agency. It is also his home. Folland’s early training in interior architecture at Adelaide College of Advanced Educationmay well have influenced his way of working – a propositional, site-specific methodology where images and objects have underlying energy. Folland transforms the everyday, the overlooked and the no longer fashionable, making material metaphors that speak to our history, our identity and to our conquests and failures.
Domestic crystalware, including decanters, bowls, goblets, tumblers and vases (abandoned or forgotten gifts once exchanged at engagement parties, weddings and anniversaries) is one of Folland’s enduring materials. Repurposed to remake the genre of landscape in works such as Floeat Samstag Museum of Art in 2009 and Untitled (Jump Up)in the 2012 Adelaide Biennial, the crystalware also functions asmini museum cases, imprisoning ships at sea in their perilous journeys in Folland’s ongoing series of miniature boats in bottles.
With its fragile physicality and potential danger, glass is an apposite medium for Folland. It enables him to communicate poetically the dangers of encounter, whether physical or personal. Glass is also a material of contradiction, inversion and opposition. Born of fire, it resembles ice and while molten in origin, it is cold to the touch. Ice is also one of Folland’smaterial signatures. Used as an emblemof a climatic extreme and endurance, ice made itsfirst appearance as an artistic medium in 2003 withI think I was asleep…, made initially for the Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia(CACSA) and later included in the National Gallery of Victoria's2004:Australian Culture Now.
Recently, Folland has created a series of mounted taxidermied deer, riffing on the trophy-hunting tradition of mounting one’s kill. By conjoining each beast with a crystal chandelier, Folland performs a coronation, bestowing on the creature a vitality and dignity it has lost. Folland has not only honed an understanding of materials and their capacity to speak, but he also apprehends their potential to possess a life of their own.