14 February 2014

Ross Manning’s Perpetual Motion Exhibition at the Milani Gallery

Words: Saskia Edwards
Images and Video: Jonathan Rae 

Descartes noted that when a stick is placed in water it appears to be bent.  But this is just an optical illusion. It’s purely a manipulation and shows the misleading nature of our senses.

Brisbane-born artist Ross Manning’s work reminded me of this idea. His works exploit the elements, which change objects from their basic base form.

Friday marked the launch of Ross’ works at Woolloongabba’s Milani Gallery.

The series is titled ‘Perpetual Motion’ and it’s somewhat about humankind’s perception of existence.

“It’s just kind of mapping out the natural world we live in and what it is to be a human and use our senses to kind of navigate through planet earth,” Ross says.

“I guess it comes back to very loosely, what it is to be human and the basis of our reality.”

Josh Milani of Milani Gallery says Ross has developed an interest in the effects of light and wind.

“His work has evolved and kind of engaged more and more with perhaps the legacy of minimalist sculpture.

“In particular, using light the work always seems to touch on phenomenology.

“So the way we think and see and the way light operates, using elements like light and wind.”

Since the inception of his artistic career Ross has exhibited at the likes of the MCA, GOMA and the Sydney Bienniale.

Josh says Ross’ reputation is gaining momentum.

“His work’s been collected by MONA down in Tasmania and various other museums – the museum of contemporary art down in Sydney.

“There’s a consensus forming around his work that he’s doing something quite interesting and new.”

Ross’ art practice has certainly developed. He used to focus on avant-garde sound art, which included his personally made instruments that were often automated.

“That then grew into a more sculptural form and the first couple of shows I had were sound sculptures,” he says.

Obviously, Ross is now focused on sculptural forms incorporating light and movement. ‘Perpetual Motion’ seems to reinforce this idea of growth. As Ross says: “It’s the idea that everything’s constantly changing and moving and constantly in flux moving from one thing to another.”

 (Pictured: The projection installation at the gallery)
 (Pictured: Sculpture pieces by Ross Manning)

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