AN EMPTY EXCHANGE
EXHIBITED AT FELTSPACE
AN EMPTY EXCHANGE
CURATED BY CHIRANJIKA GRASBY
NICOLE CLIFT, NICHOLAS HANISCH, CHARLOTTE TATTON, AND RENÈE PASTORE
A reflection on the common plastic milk crate, briefed by its evolution, versatility, form, and function. Featuring works by Nicole Clift, Nicholas Hanisch, Charlotte Tatton, and Renèe Pastore, and curated by Chiranjika Grasby.
Claimed as an Australian invention, the plastic milk crate was described by its creator as “purely utilitarian” – yet nowadays this mass produced item is present in every alleyway, hospitality staff room, vinyl record store, and common share house across the country. What is it about something so structured, and initially niche in its creation, that has opened so many opportunities for reuse and upcycling? Do we simply have an innate trait for resourcefulness that gravitates towards any milk crate we encounter, do our eyes appreciate the mathematical grid of its skeleton, or is there something deeper to be said about the form and function of crates that renders it simultaneously an everyday item and pleasing sculptural art piece?
‘An Empty Exchange’ challenges a collection of artists to explore these questions, bringing their own personal narratives and retrospective commentary to FELT’s Front Gallery. The harsh plastic of crates are reimagined by Charlotte Tatton as soft delicate embroideries, threaded by hand and framed like precious antiquities. Hung across from them are Nicole Clift’s spectrum of colours, gridded ‘crate rainbows’, painted onto canvas with exact precision. Dotted across the gallery are sculptural forms from Nicholas Hanisch and Renee Pastore. Hanisch’s porcelain ‘objects of purpose’ sit atop plinths, sturdy yet small, created for a world scaled down from our own. Towering around them are Pastore’s milk crate assemblages, juxtaposing their harsh edges with luxe satin ribbons and layers of textural dripping paint. These varied interpretations of common crates present us with new ways to appreciate their silent factory-made forms, evolving and unfolding the ordinary.