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Review in Huxley

Of Structure and Freedom, Umbrella Studio

by Sarah Mathiesen

The latest exhibition to open in the main space at Umbrella Studio contemporary arts is the result of a very long conversation between two old friends.

Of Structure and Freedom looks at the impermanence that lies between order and disorder, through works by Arryn Snowball and Christian Flynn that both contrast and complement one another. Arryn’s work comprises two large scale pieces made up of many smaller panels – both monochromatic and repetitive, though one features a changing abstract shape, and the other distorts words so that the brain registers them as patterns and shapes before it does letters. Christian’s work also employs abstract shape through a series of 30 small pieces, packed with fluorescent colour and juxtaposing sharp and fluid lines.

Arryn said the themes of movement and time were common anchors in both his and Christian’s work, as well is the formal elements that make up a picture.

“You can see in Christian’s work – they’re little works that are quite colourful and incredibly dynamic within the space of the picture – forces pushing and pulling against each other and so they end up as something that’s really captivating, like little gems. While in the works I have in this show, they’re black and white and it’s more about pattern and repetition and a sense of movement and change. So with the text it’s sort of abstracting it to the point to the letters become like stars or something,” said Arryn.

“It becomes about pattern and rhythm – picking up the rhythm in the different shapes, of the spaces between the letters or for example where the blank space is between the image.”

Totaling 269 individual sheets of paper between the two artists’ work, Of Structure and Freedom is the biggest paper exhibition Umbrella Studio has ever hosted.

“It took a little while to go and work out exactly how we were going to lay it out, but using that contrast between the different sizes I think has started up a nice conversation between the three sets of work you can see from [the main space],” said Christian. “You go from big to huge to diminutive – but then it’s one nice line piercing the room. I think using your eye formally works, it balances out quite nicely in a way.”That contrast in size a colour between Arryn and Christian’s work also serves to highlight the similar shapes that are seen throughout the exhibition. “That comes from our shared interest of the last 120 years of arts – at least, a specific type of art – and you end up with these similar shapes getting echoed,”said Christian. “But there is more of a fluidity I think to Arryn’s work, where I find mine to be a little bit more crystalline. They’re hard images, you feel like they might be concrete where as with Arryn’s they move and they dance. Even though the shapes may be the same, there’s something temporary and it moves along; whereas the objects that you see in mine, you could almost reach in there, grab them and sort of turn them around and they’d be hard, made out of metal and stone.”

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