Australian artist Michaela Gleave's conceptually driven practice utilises natural phenomena as well as illusion to investigate the edges of experience that frame humankind's understanding of the world. Gleave works in a wide range of media, including digital, installation, performance, photography, sculpture and video.Read More
Gleave's work is frequently embedded in scientific enquiry. Model for the end of the universe (1-4) (2012) is a set of four black and white prints of simple diagrammatic icons. In each of these images, Gleave represents a possible way the world as we know it may be destroyed. Each image is based on a simplification of scientific theory. The prints are ambiguous and not very large. They are unimposing, but represent the end of the entire galaxy. Such contrast emphasises humanity's inability to intercede in our universe's inevitable demise.
While Model for the end of the universe (1-4) alludes to the temporality of the planet, elsewhere Gleave considers the temporality of humankind. In the installation The World Arrives at Night (Star Printer) (2014), a mini PC tracks the rotation of the earth and the stars appearing over the horizon where the installation is situated. It sends the details of one of these stars per minute to print on an adjacent dot matrix printer. The fanfold printer paper cascades and forms a large pile of this data on the floor. The program operates indefinitely, recording the movement of the stars for (theoretically) the rest of time. The World Arrives at Night (Star Printer) makes clear humanity's insignificant position within a much larger universe, moving beyond our grasp, with or without us.
In many of her works Gleave makes clear that not only is humanity's time on earth fleeting, the impact we have made on the universe, too, will eventually wash away. In Snowfield (2009), using snow machines filled with cinematic snow, Gleave made snow fall for six hours on the Museum of Contemporary Art's forecourt in Circular Quay, Sydney. The snow blew over the museum, across the wharf and into the city. Aided by the warm spring weather, by the end of the day all the snow had melted away; Gleave's command over nature had disappeared. Humans are a tiny smudge on the earth's timeline.
Gleave lives and works in Sydney, Australia.
Casey Carsel | Ocula | 2018