PAT FOSTER AND JEN BEREAN
Gertrude Contemporary is pleased to present a new sculptural installation by Melbourne-based artists Pat Foster and Jen Berean. Employing a diverse and lateral array of media and processes, their work is primarily investigative, rigorously unpicking the hidden systems and coded materials that make up the sites and infrastructure that surrounds us.
For Double Negatives Foster and Berean will be continuing their investigations into the implications of the built environment and exploring ideas of ‘construction’ and is presented with a concurrent exhibition at Centre for Contemporary Photography.
Employing the signifier of the taped cross that marks new or unstable glass within a building site, they draw the body into this alignment, tracing moments of physical and mental collapse within public spaces.
As with much of Foster and Berean’s work this work deconstructs contemporary architecture de-emphasising the priorities of function and utility, and instead highlighting the determination of how, and by whom space is used, and for what purpose. In Double Negatives the pair start with an image of a figure collapsed, apparently inebriated, within a public space. Foster and Berean then extend this photographed moment of complete surrender into sculptural form, exploring the material and psycho-geographic possibilities for the subconscious occupation of spaces.
Employing the materials of the building site – cast concrete and roughly welded steel rods, Foster and Berean investigate the multiple ways that the body interacts with and thwarts the tightly contrived constraints of public architecture and urban furniture. Resulting in a toppling, unstable repetition of form this new work represents a skeletal and abbreviated morphing of the body into the built environment.
Pat Foster and Jen Berean have been working collaboratively since 2001 and have undertaken projects and interventions at numerous gallery and museum spaces, as well as realizing projects outside of traditional institutions. The pair has recently returned from undertaking a prestigious mentorship with Scottish artist Martin Boyce as the inaugural recipients of the Jane Scally Developing Artist Awards. Recent exhibitions include Can’t Stand Up, For Falling Down, Murray White Room, Melbourne; ART #1, Shepparton Art Gallery, Shepparton; The Problem with Stability, Pallas Contemporary Projects, Dublin; NEW09 Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne; On Public, Ryan Renshaw Gallery, Brisbane; Problem Solving: Espress Yourself, Uplands Gallery; SCAPE Biennial of Public Art, Christchurch Art Gallery; Structural Decline, Melbourne Art Fair ’08. Foster and Berean’s work has been featured in various publications, including Artlink, Photofile, Art World, Art and Australia and Frieze.