SARAH GOFFMAN
MAXIMALIST TOKONOMA
4–21 DECEMBER 2013

Gallery 9 is pleased to present an exhibition of recent work by Sarah Goffman.

Over the past few years Goffman’s practice has centered upon the creation of decorative objects, hand-fashioned from trash. The principle of conversion she is interested in is the revaluing of the discards of contemporary consumerist culture. In the production of her work, it is the well-understood notion of supply and demand in our global economy that Goffman explores deeply to identify what may best be deemed as ‘junk’ as a catalyst for creation.

Goffman describes her work as a “fusion of Asian and Australian sensibilities which ultimately pride themselves in being derivative of a Silk Road ethos, taking found objects or discarded materials and transforming them into precious and beautiful things.” For over 20 years she has been working with plastic; collecting packaging and re-purposing all manner of discarded plastic materials. Again in her exhibition at Gallery 9, a variety of such repurposed plastic objects will again engage a discussion about consumerism, its waste and the value of decorative objects as art.

Also in this exhibition will be watercolour copies of sixteen bath salts packages the artist collected whilst on residency in Japan.  Each sachet was collected based on the aesthetics of its packaging, without knowledge of their specific contents. Naturally, the purpose of each was to add a beautiful colour and fragrance to bath water before being discarded but Goffman insists that they could not be disposed of as they seemed too valuable and so, replicas were painted. These form part of a series of painted packaging works over the past ten years, which document various packaging that has been ephemerally possessed and enjoyed. It is a process of souveniring the discarded, and also the conversion of what is intended to be consumer waste into art.

Since 2009 Goffman has been working extensively in Japan, undertaking research into the culturally distinct use of consumer objects and space there. Firstly at the Australia Council Tokyo Studio, then in 2011 at Tokyo Wondersite (with Asialink) and later as a participant in Life 3, curated by Bec Dean at BankArt Yokohama, Goffman has been immersed by Japanese culture and its unique consumerism and also working with contemporary artists. Goffman has responded to these experiences and has recreated environments that are seminal to the Japanese way of life, for example in Wabi-Sabi, the ceremony room which is based on her personal experience studying with a traditional tea master. Other exhibitions which have commented on her personal exchanges with Japanese customs include Trashcan Dreams at Performance Space in 2010, Fatty and Slender at ICAN, and more recently Plastici at Penrith Regional Gallery and Lewers Bequest.

Sarah Goffman (b. 1966) lives and works in Sydney and is currently completing doctoral studies in Creative Arts at the University of Wollongong. Recent exhibitions featuring her work include Cementa 13, Kandos, NSW, 2013; Micro Parks, Performance Space, Sydney, 2013; Everything Falls Apart Part I, Artspace, Sydney, 2012; Cryptophilistinism, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, 2009; I’m worst at what I do best, Parramatta Artists Studios, 2009; Someone Shows Something To Someone, Canberra Contemporary Art Space, 2006; Situation, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2005.