30 JULY – 24 AUG 2014
Gallery 9 welcomes back Sydney-based artist Belem Lett for his second solo show, Island Fever.
As with Lett’s previous work, visualisations of virtual spaces and cartographic illustrations merge, and are rendered as abstract forms, shimmering and floating on layered grounds. Departing, for now, from the GPS maps of his personal urban meanderings as seen in Far From Nowhere (2013), Lett has looked to the maps of this island nation and their historical and contemporary geographic recordings to investigate new abstract forms with his distinctive brushwork.
Dr Martin Woods, curator of maps at the National Library of Australia searched far and wide to uncover unique and previously unseen maps of the Australian coastline for Mapping Our World: Terra Incognita to Australia (2013/14). The exhibition presented a plethora of discoveries from Indigenous Australian star mapping recorded on barks, to ancient Roman imaginings of an unknown continent and more familiar French and British charts from the colonial age. Inspired by a similarly diverse range of maps stretching from early Dutch exploration until now, Lett’s new works reference compositional elements of traditional map making. Their abstract forms reflect on the imperfect, undefined historically shifting nature of coastlines. The colours that mark out these forms harness layers of repetition and distortion to symbolise delineated, imagined representations of Australia as an island. In Lett’s words, Island Fever plays on “the notion of the island itself [being] stretched, twisted and distorted” to break from its familiar symbolic form, open to new interpretation.
Belem Lett graduated with a BFA (Hons. Class 1) in 2008 and completed an MFA by research at the College of Fine Arts (COFA), UNSW in 2013. In 2010 he was awarded the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship and has been the recipient of the COFA, UNSW Travel Grant to undertake a residency at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris during which he also staged a solo show. Lett’s recent exhibitions include solo shows at Firstdraft and MOP projects in Sydney, and group exhibitions at Sawtooth ARI in Launceston, The Digital Art Centre in Taipei, Taiwan, Rear View in Melbourne, Wellington St Projects, Campbelltown Regional Gallery, Delmar Gallery, Gallery 9 and the Papermill in Sydney. Lett is also a Founding Member and Director at Wellington St Projects, Sydney.