Exhibition News

Chaco Kato weaves a spell.

story illustration
Published Wednesday, February 23, 2005

The work of Chaco Kato is quiet and fragile, notable for harmonising with ambient surrounds – like the breathy sound of a solo woodwind instrument. The work that is currently on show at both Dianne Tanzer’s Gallery and the 2005 Montalto Sculpture Prize takes for its inspiration the organic processes of growth and decay that take place in the humble garden bed.

Her work is inspired with the contemplation and fascination of the world at our feet, realised in fabrics and stitches. In both sites Chaco continues working with the device that she has used in previously, that of silvery threads linking elements. In some of her previous exhibitions it was simply the link that was explored with long silvery threads spread across white walls and ceilings casting shadows, so that the work itself could easily be missed and only its shadow seen. The threads of a web that attempt to link essence of a work and its existence. In current work the metaphor of a spider’s web is realised more fully as Chaco turns them into 3 dimensional constructions.

Chaco has long held an interest in the sculptural representation of organic forms and in the past often made these more abstract forms using wire frames. This created structures with negligible mass, mere outlines of abstract forms which are now clothed and built into more whimsical forms. A metropolis of onion domed buildings like a model of a postcard classic Russian city. She has built the objects from the ground up using circular cuts of cloth stitched both in concentric patterns from the edge as well as radially outward. The area between the stitching is then cut out by hand leaving the fabric looking like a leaf that has been eaten by bugs in the garden. Chaco says that she is interested in taking from nature the feel of spider webs and eaten leaves and transforming them into 3 dimensional shapes. The shapes are created by folding the material into conical or tubular forms and then dipping them in an epoxy resin. Assembling the resulting shapes into a Lilliputian metropolis – a miniature city nestled in the leaf litter and spider webs that inspired it. While many sculptures flag their presence with a dominant vertical rise, Spider’s Whisper is a prostrate ground hugging piece.

Chaco Kato

By way of explanation Chaco Kato annotates the piece (in the 2005 Montalto Sculpture Prize catalogue) that: The work spirals out and in from my everyday life. Starts in my vegie patch and traverses to and through the micro and macro cosmos in the same way as a stitch goes in and out of fabric..

To see the work nestled quietly amongst the leaf litter at Montalto immediately reveals a deliberate move from the cool abstract suited to the gallery space to an aesthetic happily embedded in the garden.

By Martin Shub, February 2005.

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