Review: Hard Age New Edge

Susan Jacobs

Hard Age New Edge

Sarah Scout

30 July  - 21 August 2010


Depak Chopra meets Robert Morris in one of the strangest shows you’re going to see this year. With equal amounts of Minimalist and Conceptual Art formed nous, Jacobs takes on the readymades of the ubiquitous New Age shop and associated culture to melt, smelt and warp wizards, daggers, goblets and other ‘magical’ objects into sections of found natural materials. Bits of obliterated wizard and bismuth pock the surface of a chunk of laneway bluestone. A pewter goblet has been melted around a machined wooden volume that rests on a crude wooden shelf, propped up by a wooden pole that doesn’t quite connect to a pointy-hatted wizard figurine on the floor, that would otherwise make the balancing act whole. Hanging uselessly from the wall a gnarled tree branch has been beautifully stained and altered with gunmetal polished handgrips(?) carved into its surface. Maybe it’s a wizard’s staff. Maybe not. Down on the floor some pewter daggers are recast as a double-headed snake sliding through a delicately balanced wooden block. Over in the corner, a miniature metal cube hovers and trembles, suspended midair by mysterious magnetic forces.


In the office area of Sarah Scout are more surprises if you’ve followed and pinned Jacobs’ for her heavily site specific encounters of previous shows. Here is a line up of box frames on the wall. These definitely aren’t pictures, but neither are they sculptures. Maybe something more like the beautiful remnants of failed alchemical experiments this delicate display of small objects, sediments and curiosities. As with the constructions in the main room there’s no denying a degree of play and humour to this, but it seems to me there’s, more than anything else, a strong sense of discovery. The studio (and any object that can be conjured therein) is also now a site worthy of investigation. Indeed, with this whole show you get the idea that for Jacobs maybe this was the next logical step, the radical step. While there is still plenty of attention to, and play between artist, site and viewer here (right down to an impossible to follow room-sheet), work predicated purely on the site can also end up being dictated by it. The studio can provide the escape, a place of different aspects. And even if it’s just for the space of this show, for Jacobs it appears there’s a ‘New Edge’ in this. As for the New Age, I’ve never had much faith in the transformative power of pewter wizards. 


Craig Easton August 2010



hard age new edge (holding up) 2010       hard age new edge (snake) 2010


hard age new edge (soft geometry) 2010       hard age new edge 2010




By Craig Easton

Craig Easton

Craig Easton is a Melbourne based artist, sometimes lecturer, and very occasional writer.