Past Artist In Residence
The Australian artist, Robert Pulie, is well known for his paintings, sculpture and installation work. By extending the process of play into the gallery space through the installation process, Pulie is able to enable further connections to be made with the viewer through a more immediate engagement with the objects. For example, Transcontinental Interiority (1996), consisting of 24 cut-out wooden busts on stands, includes installation instructions to place the busts in three concentric circles, creating a kind of political hierarchy. Each bust is an individual ‘portrait,’ made distinct by different hairstyles, skin colors, clothing and accessories, yet with no clear indicators as to social position. The arrangement of the busts is left up to whoever installs the work, creating a game involving personal prejudice and taste. As the viewer walks around the work, the relationships between the figures shift and they are left to ponder why decisions were made, and what their decisions might be. Pulie’s work engenders the performance of the spectator; it considers the act of viewing significant. It allows the act of viewing to become the work of art in which the audience is suddenly thrown center stage, becoming signs whose performance must be considered significant.