Review: Graham Day Guerra at Wardlow Studio

Graham Day Guerra at Wardlow Studio, July 10 2008

Guerra uses software to create 3d models of conglomerate figures resumbling some combination of a Bellmer doll and a Chapman brothers' sculpture. These models form the basis for skillfully executed drawings.

Multi limbed figures hover above sports stadia.  These hybrid creatures have superbly toned, athletic bodies.  They rise into the air - an ascension - their forms picked out by banks of flood lighting and observed by an implied crowd in unseen grandstands. This is a secular ascension, no less fantastic for that. It is impossible to view the transfiguration of athletic bodies into something greater than a mortal without thinking about Riefenstahl and the 1936 olympics. The work abounds with historical reference. Saluting hands allude to David's Oath of the Horatii and the Tennis Court oath, and the overall compostion draws on various paintings of the Ascension, and most particularly Raphael's last masterpice, the Transfiguration.
Graham Day Guerra, "Alpha and omega", 2008, charcoal and graphite on paper, 44x 57"

Elsewhere, skulls are fused and morphed into some kind of eye teasing shape from Riemannian gemometry. Jake Chapman, discussing the neurologist Paul Mobius characterised his ideas thus:  "Using the topographical figure of the mobius strip [Mobius] described the cutaneous and subcutaneous membranes circulating the body as a single continuous plane. While this spatiality dissolves the interiority and the exteriority it also democratizes the anatomy thereby disinvesting the brain of its sovereignty." In Guerra's drawings, the mind is similarly disenfranchised, taking second place to the interlocking complexities of the topography of the physical material, the bone of the skull.

Guerra is based in New York and is currently about 6 weeks into a 3 month residency at Wardlow studios. Wardlow studios will be showing Guerra's work again in a couple of months. Stay tuned for details.

By Sam Leach

Sam Leach

Leach is an artist living and working in Melbourne. He was born in Adelaide in 1973 and moved to Melbourne in the early 90s. Leach completed his honours degree in painting at RMIT in 2004 and is currently doing his masters. In 2006 Leach won the Metro5 prize and the Geelong contemporary art prize. This year he was a finalist in the Archibald. Leach shows at Nellie Castan gallery in Melbourne (show coming up in June) and Sullivan and Strumpf gallery in Sydney