Having 700 kilograms of dysfunctional Fun Foam delivered to your door is not everyone’s cup of tea, but it has become the centerpiece for a new exhibition at Wollongong Art Gallery beginning Wednesday.
Sensorium aims to bring art to everybody of all varying abilities, including the visually impaired and people in a wheelchair.
Redfern artist Rosie Deacon created the colourful touch panels on the wall and multi-coloured sculptures out of a craft material for children because it was going to be thrown out.
“My studio neighbour’s girlfriend works at this toy distribution factory in Tempe and brought in a tube of it and said would you like to use this,” she said. “It looks cool, I like the texture. I always like to use fun materials.”
The process based artist grew up in country NSW making “country crafts”. She admits she doesn’t create with a strong concept in mind, she just creates.
“I love playing with material, and I make a lot of objects … I love making in big immersive environments.”
The sculpture artist also regularly runs workshops for people with varying abilities because she enjoys making it accessible to everyone.
“Just having any kind of feeling towards art, something different, something out of the norm that hits them straight away,” she said. “A lot of people I can feel when they walk into the space [the works are] so unexpected, interesting to touch, and excites them.”
Illawarra artist Margie Rahmann is also part of the sensory exhibition with a sea based installation. Her work includes ropes from Port Kembla, shells to hear the ocean, odd smelling crustaceans and also plastics to make an environmental statement.
Pia Van Gelder is the most abstract from the exhibition with her sensory room testing several senses at once.
Janet Tavener’s pieces form a large banquet table and to the eye seem like odd combinations of food brought together to make cakes. However don’t be fooled by how real the prawns may look, as they’re simply sugar paste. You can smell the strawberries but they may not be sweet, and you can leave the exhibition with a lolly-bag in hand to test your taste-buds.
Sensorium officially opens Wednesday from 12pm. Tours with Auslan interpreters may be organised, call the gallery to book 4227 8507.
It runs until February 2016.