Reviewed by Odette McCarthy
I will first define myself as an incredibly artistically unbeknownst person. As a former creative art student, I love abstract 3D works, and was thus delighted to be invited to Shane Forrest’s 25 years exhibition. I pretty much turned up knowing nothing, as I love leaving art to my own subjective opinion before acknowledging the background or the inspiration.
Forrest had displayed literally 25 years’ worth of his different works. I viewed the Poster works he began with, which I found difficult to interpret or to find meaning within. Then again, was meaning meant to be obtained from these works? If you want to view this show with no prior perceived perspicacity’s then don’t read, just go see!! (worth it k).
Forrest became familiar with working with unremarkable, discarded and mainly reclaimed materials in his work, that represent living. Homes are a large part of life. Forrest has depicted real estate throughout his works. The collection titled ‘Open Houses’ appealed to me. I did not suspect the particulars that I uncovered within the works. The sharp-edged shapes of the houses contrasted with the notion of ‘home’. These exposed the inner layout of these ‘open houses’. This was, however, contrasted with the middle-aged man and woman having openly observable sex depicted within these artistic works. These both shocked and amused me. It was like slight erotic art mixed with property development. I respected the titles of these pieces, as they include what I personally understood to be sexually descriptive words that relate to the houses, such as ‘Delightful’, ‘Semi’, ‘Delight’, ‘Adjoining’, ‘Meat Tray’. I may have been alone in this connection and understanding, but these associations made me enjoy the pieces even more.
I circled the small exhibition 3 times, weaving myself in and out of a packed room of people from apparently all forms of life. I was really trying to take in everything from both a subjective and objective point of view. And every time I circled, I found myself interpreting Forrest’s works differently, or perceiving more than what I had the time before. I love this about art.
Strikingly to me, I liked one explosive piece most, titled ‘Aldi at 4am’. I really loved the pieces in the set of works entitled ‘Explosions’, which consisted of surreal 3D representations. ‘Aldi at 4am’ made me laugh, as it seemed like a piece that a nighttime shift Aldi employee may create. I wondered about Forrest’s lifetime and jobs. This piece used Aldi catalogue and product packaging stimuli to create a contained box exploding with chaos.
The collection ‘Porous Suburb’ is taken from real estate promotions Forrest has found stuffed into his letterbox. Flyers have been ripped, collaged and layered to depict the less than perfect substance behind seemingly faultless households. I really like this idea as it is realistic and relatable, however I had not read the background summary before viewing and could not pull any meaning from the piece than a layered house. The summary revealed that these pieces revealed the now unattainable dream of home ownership for residents wanting to settle in the Sydney. This idea is close to me, and I think young people’s hearts, as housing prices continue to increase, and salaries don’t increase at the same rate.
Forrest’s Urban Figures, or as I label them, Different People-y Pieces, were interesting. I love 3D art and each of these were characteristically and materialistically interpreted figures of humankind. I enjoyed viewing the different visual translations of similar forms, some more than others, as I did not understand the meaning of some of these. Still enjoyed the visuals.
Forrest’s latest works, ‘Gifts’, were my least favourite, even though I really appreciate 3D art. I could not understand a deeper meaning other than ‘Unwrap me to obtain my inner contents!’ Now that I write this, I realize it could relate to people’s personalities or inner layers beyond the physical.
I really wish there had been an explanation or a blurb for each piece of artwork. I like to view things before I read about them, but not all were explained, so a lot was up to my imagination or subjectification (which is primary in art). The lack of descriptions did annoy me, but some of the explanations changed my perception of the art piece. Perhaps the lack of blurb was a tactic?
Overall, I think Forrest’s works appeal to a range of ages, as shown through the viewers I saw today. Prices not too extreme too. Although I did not make any purchases, had I a supply of money plus a home to decorate, I MAY have considered.