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Tracy Luff

Tracy Luff’s work fits within a lineage of sculptors who pursue that point between balance and flight, where the precise distribution of weight spatially activates a sculpture. One only has to picture the elegant needle works of George Rickey and Richard Serra’s standing steel curtains to understand that creative engineering can imbue a form with an energy so potent that is undeniably felt by its audience. In a similar way, experiencing the installations of Tracy Luff one is transported to a place of wonderment. We find ourselves asking, could this really
be cardboard?

Moving in and around Luff’s rising column installation, our slow realisation of their substance comes as a surprise. The exhibition’s title says it all: Slowly Quietly Surely. Luff draws from the colloquialism of her Malaysian heritage, sedikit sedikit lama lama jadi bukit, literally translated, ‘little bit little bit, long time become hill’. It is a metaphor she extends to her sculptures and, furthermore, to the relationships between people and place, gradually building and finding their own form. It is an individual evolution.

Constructed from hundreds of handcut cardboard discs, rising individual forms are suggestive of termite mounds, stalagmites or saplings reaching for light. The relationship of the elements is deeply gestural, each slightly ajar and stacked along an axis in a rotary action, charged on repetition. They are emphatically sure – confident.

The making of these works is caught between states of random and control; it is a timescape that has a synergy with the sedimentary formation of the landscape.They are solid without being bulky, bursting with flight and entering the metaphysical. It is a play captured in the rhythm of the cuts, emphasised by black calligraphic washes and cardboard’s variegated fluting scooping light.

The second series, ‘Waiting’, continues these ideas. Cocoon-like pods are suspended along the gallery wall, their pregnant bellies embody a certainty for new life. As Luff describes, ‘Think of a seed waiting to germinate or a cocoon. We can’t see what is happening and then there is a beautiful butterfly. It is a slow reveal, a bit like the translation of cardboard into one of my sculptures’.

Take your time. The quiet forms of Tracy Luff are sure to seduce you through their materiality and beauty.

Gina Fairley
, Arts Writer, June 2010

For further information, please email ng@ngart.com.au

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