Morphing Out

17 May 2012 | 7:51 pm | Jake Millar

You’re able to see quite a range of what people took from the first artist. You’re able to clearly see it with some pairs, and with others you don’t even notice, it’s entirely in the concept,”

Take an artist, give them a theme and see what they come up with. It sounds simple enough. But when you add a second artist and ask them to reinterpret the first person's work, things start to get interesting – and even a little surprising. It's this concept that sits at the centre of Marijke Loosjes's group show at Perth's First Draft Gallery. Entitled Metamorphsis, it sees 12 artists – or six pairs – play off one another to produce work that covers everything from painting and photography to fashion design and poetry.

“It started out as just an idea I had with a friend of mine,” explains Loosjes, who chose the artists and curated the show. “So it's really just to do with the influence that artists have on one another, and I was interested in isolating that and seeing the results.”

Loosjes whittled down an initial list of possible candidates to select the dozen artists who would eventually take part. “The grounding was the theme of metamorphosis and that they could choose whatever they wanted to do around that,” she says. “And then the second artist's work was purely based on the first artist's.”

Loosjes says a lot of time was spent finding pairs of artists whose work would complement one another's well. “I was very particular with who went with who,” she says. “So I decided who I wanted to be in the exhibition and then I paired up people who I thought might work well together and who might produce interesting results.”

It was a fairly lengthy process. From initial idea to the completed exhibition, the show has been some 10 months in the making. “It took a while to organise all of the artists and then the first artist had about two months to fully develop an idea around the theme of metamorphosis,” Loosjes explains, “then once they'd finished, they contacted the second artist, who then developed their own ideas based on that.”

The show's title refers to the evolution of an artistic concept and the way it can develop when interpreted by different artists and, in particular, across a full range of artistic mediums. “You're able to see quite a range of what people took from the first artist. You're able to clearly see it with some pairs, and with others you don't even notice, it's entirely in the concept,” she says.

Loosjes studied Fine Art at Curtin University and although she has dabbled in performance and installation work in the past, she mostly focuses on photography, using both colour and black and white, and everything from 35mm film to digital. As well as curating this Perth exhibition, she also currently has a solo exhibition of her own artistic efforts being shown as part of Sydney's Head On Photo Festival. Metamorphosis is her first foray into curating and it's an impressive start, to say the least.

“I still want to continue my own photographic work, but I'd really love to study curating because I think it'd be a really interesting,” she says of her plans for the future. “I'm quite interested in studying in Berlin at the Node Centre for curating. I got told quite a lot in university that I had an eye for putting things together, and that's stayed in the back of my mind and I thought I should do something with it.”