Sam Jinks is an Australian born, hyperrealist sculptor who currently works and lives in Melbourne, his current exhibition at Karen Woodbury gallery was an eye opener. I understood that he was a sculptor, but the way in which the promo shot (of the snails, Embrace) was taken and editted had me thinking that some of the work might have been digital photography?
I was wrong.
The Embrace is definately the first piece that attracts you as you enter the space, these two gigantic snails are quietly making out, in all of their seemingly slimy, glistening glory. Then you are directed to Woman and Child which is exhibited in the far corner, the likeness of this particular piece to the work of Ron Mueck is uncanny, although here the scale employed is just short of life size (or she’s just a really petite lady I guess) another more subtle but extremely notable difference was that Jinks here has employed real human hair as opposed to Muecks’ synthetic. This addition makes the work so much more real, and eerily so, the womans’ white hair ever so slightly waves in the viewers breath, teasing the viewer to ponder whether or not this frail figure will at any moment, open her impossible eyes to reject the viewers voyeuristic gaze.
Even more interesting were the smaller figures, entitled The Devil Half Way and Butoh Dancer, both figures (or figurines possibly) are cloaked in white fabric that has the same sheen and weighty aesthetic as leather, the latter is pinned to the wall as if a crucifix with The Devil Half Way standing, hunch-backed atop plinth, holding the fabric sheet between his thumbs as if clasping an invisible nintendo controller. These figures display tiny human frames that jut and imply through their sheilding cloaks, forcing the audience to question what exactly lurks beneath – conjuring images of bald and strangely hued taxidermist models.
Jinks’ work raises many questions regarding life and death and it’s inherent and organic dichotomy, similarly to Mueck’s oeuvre, but here, more subtle nuanices linger and the shock value or oversized scale is replaced with a very strong, yet quiet undercurrent of fear, especially that of the unknown, which of course is unavoidable in any discourse pertaining to the cycle of life.