Collusion will not disappoint followers of the artist’s seminal sculptural work nor will it fail to intrigue those unfamiliar with her oeuvre
For Collusion, Briant continues her long-time exploration of the relationality of objects, masterfully seeking, sorting and arranging Wunderkammer-like works that are as geometrically referent as they are intuitively precise. Briant’s aesthetic precision has 3-dimensional objects in such successful communication—a perfectly chaotic patterning that is as legible as it is unpredictable— that they teeter on the edge of dimensional collapse. Think of the resolute flattening of abstraction; a Mondrian or a Miro caught between the real and the virtual through that tense play of edges, colours, shapes. Briant however is more interested in the transition; the works reject the resolute to instead resolve before us. We are led from the immediate present in 'Weather of the Day, 2021' through to the infinite of 'Whenever Weather, 2021'; virtuality as reality, chasing Xeno’s impossible arrow.
At its best, collage gives us an awareness not only of the space of the thing, but of the thing in space. It is one thing to hold something, and quite another to be aware of the possibility or the denial of holding. Briant’s seamless transitioning between the graspable and the grasping captures not only the artist but also the viewer in wonderment for the memory of the object, celebration of its timelessness and grief for its loss. Henri Bergson described the peculiar notion that the idea of nothing is more than the idea of the thing, since it must contain the notion of the thing that is no longer inhabiting the space that is now nothing. Briant is brilliant with objects—with shape, with colour, with all of life’s hard edges—but she is equally brilliant with these things as they travel from past to present to future, softly pulling, fading, coupling, holding.
Irene Briant has held more than 15 solo exhibitions in Tasmania and nationally. She has been selected to exhibit in numerous group exhibitions throughout Australia and internationally, including Queen Victoria Museum Launceston, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Hobart, Art Gallery of NSW and in Thailand, The Philippines, and Singapore. Her work is held in many national and private collections including Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery Hobart, Parliament House Canberra, Canberra Museum and Gallery and Artbank Sydney.