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Kara Burrowes - Collection*banal

Words by Reuben Woods - 9 September 2019
Kara Burrowes - Collection*banalKara Burrowes - Collection*banalKara Burrowes - Collection*banal

When we speak about urban art, we often refer to the visual letterform language of signature graffiti, or the playful iconography of post-graffiti street art. We have something of a preconceived idea of the reference. However, the expansion of urban art ensures that we can now include the practice of artists who not only work in the urban space, but work with the detritus, ephemera and experience of urban space. Kara Burrowes is one such artist. Burrowes has been attracted to the intricacies and intrigue of our surrounding cityscape for several years, reassembling, recontextualising and re-presenting urban elements through craft, photography, painting and sculptural constructions. COLLECTION*banal is a selection of her recent work, transforming the ordinary into the fascinating and beautiful.

The work included in COLLECTION*banal is the result of exploration, documentation and reconsideration of the overlooked urban environment, where the Christchurch earthquakes are a formative, but no longer driving influence, instead overtaken by the state of flux, decay and abandonment found within the cityscape. Salvaged wood pieces are reconfigured into patchworks reminiscent of aerial snapshots of maze-like urban terrains. Topographical compositions, some burnt to the point of dissolution, reward inspection, suggesting navigation and immersion within miniature favelas. Elements of gold and layers of paint add to the visual attraction. Discarded paint-can lids, sealed in glossy resin, are imbued with new a lease of life, as if now shiny medallions. Photographs, printed on diverse surfaces, focus on the close-up detail of urban surfaces, where glass windows, corrugated iron, and wood, in some cases adorned with dripping aerosol paint, become abstract compositions, requiring double-takes to clarify the information presented, much like a glance down an empty alleyway where the eye is caught by some indecipherable form. Graffiti inspires embroidered discs surrounded by black board, as if a petri-dish of growing culture, layered with texture. In each case, the distinction between the original forms, photographs, and unique creations is difficult to locate. In her work, Burrowes attempts to capture or recreate the irrelevant or mundane, celebrating the nostalgic value found within the urban landscape. The stories behind the objects, including those told by the worn and damaged forms, become a vital element in reflecting upon the objects presented in COLLECTION*banal

See more of Kara's work here...