Katarina Vesterberg

Carkasse wihout motion
Galerie Brutal, Brisbane

The most interesting art takes the 'known' and shows how unknown it really is, revealing endless opportunities for re-focussed exploration. Put very simply, Katarina Vesterberg asks such questions as "how many sides has a fish?" Then, with great subtlety, she excavates the most surprising and beautiful answers in richly layered visual meditations exploring and exposing new and unexpected manifestations of 'inside' and 'outside', time and space, fact and fiction. If this sounds like a deconstructionist's dream, one could well be forgiven for thinking as much. In a very basic sense, Katarina Vesterberg's reconstructions of skeletal remains 'deconstruct' our biological and historical knowledges.

But at a more sensual, poetic level, her skeletal silhouettes of fish, birds and crocodiles float translucently on paper, wood and electric light. Strange and luminescent as any medieval manuscript, Vesterberg's fossils assume a rare incandescence, stripped as it were, to the bone, and embalmed within layers of amber pigment, or within her remarkable 'light boxes'. Sometimes images appear in or on parchment-like expanses of pale colour, offering X-ray visions interweaving archaeological accuracy and alchemical mystery. Other works grow three -dimensionally on blocks of old wood, dark as any icon, inviting the eye and finger to explore solid ridges of bone, fin and spine, as 'inside' and 'outside' are seen and sensed as tactile, sculptural artefacts whimsically recontextualised beside fragments of ancient atlases and engravings mapping and charting seas, continents, monsters and savages sensed afar, and awaiting confrontation.

Vesterberg 's images are alike in spirit: glimpses of the known and the unknown plucked from the confined space of museum vaults and archives into the open 'inner space' of paintings and light boxes tonally and electronically illuminating strange remains. Considered in terms of the minimalism of pioneer 'neon' artists such as Dan Flavin, Vesterberg's luminous retracings of creatures great and small offer a welcome return to the physical and metaphysical substance of our existence, in works which radiate intelligence, wit, conviction and imagination.

Presented in an immaculately repainted incarnation of Galerie Brutal, Carkasse Without Motion was itself a most enjoyable and memorable ‘find’,