Gemma Smith/Stelian Tchapkanski

I’m quite familiar with Smiths hard-edge, gem like semi transparent prisms, they were at this year’s Melbourne Art Fair and I believe she had a show at Gertrude Contemporary a year or so back. Graduating from Sydney’s College of the Arts in ’99 with a focus on abstraction the 31 year old artist moved from geometric,abstracted paintings to her current multi-faceted ‘folding sculptures’.

Originally working with lightweight aircraft plywood, then acrylic and now with the new radiant pieces a form of plexiglass, her pieces stand alone, seemingly barely balanced emitting reflection as if a giant hollow diamond.Referred to as ‘translucent boulders’ the works present the viewer with a ‘simple’ yet, ethereal illusion of an object which develops questions regarding matter and perception.

The over-sized glass and acrylic warm yet minimal crystals remind me of my dear friend Stelian’s designs. Embracing a similar ‘Origami’ aesthetic yet approaching it through a more practical, design driven and might I say masculine prism.

Here is his final piece for the Bachelor of Industrial Design at Monash in 2008, a partially electronic push-bike that not only has a compartment to neatly store work dress but also a removable power generator that can be charged through stationary exercise.

Body in progress

And more recently, Stelian won the 2010 Melbourne Fringe Festival best sustainable design award with MLBRN a chair made from recycled Victorian Ash and parts of car doors.

It is interesting to consider how two creatives can investigate a similar aesthetic and produce such utterly separate and different works, both complimentary of course.


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