Drawn to the City: Bridget and Alison Currie, the Artists

Each month, Leo Greenfield sketches and profiles Adelaide characters who make this city tick. This month: Bridget and Alison Currie.

The art practices of sisters Bridget and Alison Currie seem vastly different at first glance but they are fundamentally linked through their shared interest in the physical forces of weight, mass and form.

As a sculptor, Bridget’s practice encompasses a variety of applications: writing, photography, drawing and installations. Her sculptural works are precise visual poems that “open your perception to objects”, waking the viewer up to the sheer wonder of space and the mystery of materiality.

There are multiple streams to Alison’s work as a performer who, whether as dancer, choreographer or director, sees her practice as an “exploration of space”. Alison reaches out into the unfamiliar with her performances crossing the realms of film, theatre and the gallery space.

Bridget lectures in sculpture at the University of South Australia’s City West Campus and Alison is currently in residence at the Leigh Warren Dance Hub, a space on North Terrace that supports independent dancers. Recently, the sisters collaborated on a performance, entitled Things Meeting Now, at the Art Gallery of South Australia for the Versus Rodin exhibition curated by Leigh Robb.

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Versus Rodin showed Bridget’s installation Spooky action at a distance. This piece is not simply set-design for a performance, it is something stronger, as it illustrates the concerns of both artists and how they work to construct meaning in things and movement.

In this piece, the physical objects created by Bridget intertwine with Alison’s choreography; both activate the other and hold their own weight. Things Meeting Now reconfigures the gallery space through a process of questioning the relationships between objects and people.

The bonds that bind the Curries’ work is not always about what an artwork looks like, but what meaning they can construct through their connection. For Alison, the link is “almost like physics, as both [sculpture and dance] involve the fundamentals of balance and where you place your weight”.

Visual art is more permanent while dance, in contrast, is time-based and ephemeral. Therefore documenting works can be challenging as the work can become “almost invisible”. By combining their practices, perhaps they expose the temporal nature of all art.

Collaboration exposes their comfort with each other and their work. Anxiety and uncertainty can hinder artists, but Bridget and Alison’s connection reinforces their belief in their own work. “You make the work you make,” Bridget says, and for both of them that means they are coming together in a “position of strength”.

Leo Greenfield is a freelance illustrator
leogreenfield.com

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