For the Bulletin
Unique, intriguing, spiritual; just some of the adjectives that can be applied to the exhibition, Relics & Reliquaries, currently on display in the Gallery at Centre 64. Kimberley sculptor Rob Toller and Nelson painter Michael Graham have combined forces to create an installation in the gallery that turns the space into something distinctly other-worldly.
Toller’s metal and mixed media sculptures, in the past almost entirely abstract, occasionally suggesting but never literally depicting natural or figurative forms, have taken a new departure for this exhibition. From exploring wood, metal, stone and other materials to see what they can do, how they can combine to create interesting and dynamic shapes, Toller has used these raw materials to create religiously and culturally symbolic sculptures, from shrines and monuments to guardians of the underworld and bells that reverberate a somber toll throughout the gallery. Some rise upwards from the floor, others hang down from above. Some are small and intimate, others are large and bold. Relics of the past – rusty machinery, the bark of fallen trees, stones worn smooth by ancient seas – these cast-off materials take on new life in Toller’s intriguing sculptures.
The gallery walls almost vibrate with the patterns and colours of these large abstract designs. The viewer can read into them all sorts of possible shapes and forms. Some seem almost three dimensional. And by some strange alchemy, known only to these two artistic wizards, the paintings and sculptures complement each other in creating a setting that makes the most of the gallery’s own striking architecture, a setting that feels almost medieval despite its contemporariness.
Relics & Reliquaries continues in the Gallery at Centre 64 until Saturday, October 22. It can be viewed between 1 and 5 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays, and admission is free.