SPROUT: The Adelaide College of the Arts (AC Arts) visual arts graduate exhibition opens on the 7th of December at AC Arts. Jorji Gardener, exhibitor, artist and landscape practitioner (and the subject of one of our artist spotlights) walks us through what to expect and shared some thoughts and reflections leading up to the opening.
We caught Jorji for a coffee on a balmy afternoon at AC arts to talk about the exhibition and found ourselves energised by the activity inside. Around us was a comfortable density of staff, visitors and students socialising intently. Either the energy was spurred on by end of year activities, or the Adelaide College of the Arts had long ago successfully cultivated (before it was cool) a convivial, inclusive co-working space. Having held off pursuing the arts for 10 years, Jorji was quick to praise the support provided by the teaching staff as well as other students – students in particular being available at odd hours of the day and providing candid feedback as peers while being aware of the processes informing the work that aren’t always evident in the final output.
Untitled Works by Ty Brookhart
The interdisciplinary nature of work at AC Arts is enabled by the course structure. Following a couple of undergraduate years studying traditional arts disciplines, a student entering their third year of study is free to move between studios and, as such a variety of influences can be seen in the final outcome. Drawing on my own experience, the same can be said of many creative educations, but the point of difference seems to be that students start with specialised training and eventually branch out to interdisciplinary practice. Specialisations which include but are not limited to drawing, painting, photography, jewellery making and sculpture, skew towards educating students in multiple methods of making, empowering them to think with their hands early and intuitively in the creative process.
This isn’t to say that there isn’t an analytical component – supplementary courses are provided in collaboration with Flinders University, covering (and again, not limited to) art history, archaeology and politics. The majority of the exhibited work reflects timely concerns with fluidity, identity and inequality, viewed through personal lenses and idiosyncrasies. Jorji’s own work, Pattern Language is as much a statement highlighting the loss of connection to community and the environment and its fragility as it is a celebration of the complexity of the namesake natural ‘patterns’ of native plant life. Although AC arts is creative enabler, Jorji herself is a lifelong creator and would create regardless – and it is this premonition that ‘you’ve always had an artist within you’ that everyone at AC arts shares and celebrates in the exhibition.
From Presence to Absence by Laura Garcia