Anna Dudek’s sculptures are blank canvases awaiting the brushstroke of atmospheric effects. Recent bodies of work have seen the artist progressively strip away extraneous detail from her works, including colour and formal properties. Intense pigments and abrupt corners have given way to white surfaces and more organic geometries. A neutrally coloured exterior allows for the complex and changing tones of atmospheric light to be fully expressed, though some of Dudek’s sculptures layer this effect with intense blues or oranges peering out from behind, casting gradated hues outward.
Transparent Perspex sculptures with dichroic films applied to their surface are shaped as folded ellipses and placed on the floor, leaning in corners or against walls and contrasting with the right angles of the architecture in which they are situated. They are wholly artificial yet suggestive of microscopic natural elements, capturing and spreading spectral light effects in their droplet-like forms.
Dudek’s relief sculptures meanwhile explore both oblong and ovoid geometries. Works with rectangular or square forms evoke minimalist paintings, with corners appearing to have folded over from the rear of the work, advancing centrally into the viewer’s space. Ellipses allow for a less directed viewing experience, appearing to shift and peel away from the wall of their own accord.
Relying on natural light sources and scaled to make their presence known in domestic environments, Dudek’s works are minimalist interventions designed to harness and enhance incidental moments. They capture light’s liquid and breathy qualities, its temperamental nature, the way it casts hesitatingly over surfaces. The shadows created by these sculptures seem to peel open space, confounding the viewer’s understanding of the forms and shapes of their environment. While it is a concentrated experience, it is also an unpredictable one, with slowed looking allowing for surprises to occur along with a shift in atmospherics. In this way, Dudek’s practice sets up a slow dance between her works’ formal elements and the bodily presence of the viewer.
While Dudek is not jettisoning the art object entirely, her approach is to reduce sculptures to forms which are inherently meaningless, but which function as vectors of meaning between the viewer and their environment. Many of the artist’s works are conceived of during meditation, and they evoke an experience of meditation in that a meaningful experience is created out of an absence. By stripping back extraneous details, Dudek’s works leave the viewer little choice but to slow down and focus on what would otherwise be overlooked: the way light, shadow and the space in between them folds and unfolds, juts and peels, diffuses and dissipates.
Photograph by Peter Mogan
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