Brand’s resolved, powerful lockdown thoughts

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“You Are Doing It Again” by Zoe Brand.

craft / “You Are Doing It Again” by Zoe Brand at Craft ACT Craft + Design Centre, until August 22. Reviewed by MEREDITH HINCHLIFFE.

“HOW do you really feel?” asks Zoe Brand exhibition works to those who are unable to leave home – or maybe the studio – during the lockdown of COVID-19.

Brand works in the worlds of conceptual art and contemporary jewellery, both of which she is exhibiting in this show.

With an unexpected gap in the Craft ACT program, and knowing that Brand had work for an exhibition on the docks in Thailand, which should have been on display in Germany, the organisation invited her to create a show in eight weeks.

Fifty-seven works are hung over three screens, designed and made by Brand and her partner. Their arrangement is carefully thought out. The works can be read as one continuous sentence, as three distinct sentences, or as a separate word or statement. They might be a stream of consciousness, or a single phrase. The artist suggests viewers make up their own minds. Underlying the work there is a deadly seriousness, and Brand considers each piece carefully and deeply. The pieces could be viewed as banal, ambiguous – no two viewers will read them the same way. The language used could be seen as being personal, or universal.

Brand’s narrative begins with “It wasn’t always this way”, finishing with “I wept”. The full force of the lockdown is described by single words or phrases, hovering somewhere between the comic and the tragic. 

Brand has not used much colour in her previous works. These pieces are colourful: solid colours, or translucent and pale. The hue has meaning and adds to the text. The brightness at the edges of the clear colours enhances the work. Just as important is the font. Brand generally uses uppercase letters, to add clarity and precision.

This exhibition is perfectly resolved. As an installation it is powerful and when it is dispersed, each work will also be resolved and powerful.

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