[Photos: Document Photography]

In the Western world, “we have inexorably removed personal experience from our understanding of the universe… we have used a sieve of mathematical laws and equations to strain ourselves out of the stars.” - Jo Marchant, The Human Cosmos, pg. 263.

Although we like to convince ourselves that we understand what is happening around us, over 80% of all matter in our universe is made up of material that cannot be perceived or detected. We call this material DARK MATTER. We believe it to exist because, without it, our current models for the behaviour of stars, planets and galaxies simply wouldn’t make sense. Its gravitational effects are necessary to explain the rotation of galaxies, the motions of clusters, and the invisible structure of the entire Universe. With these concepts in mind, Michaela Gleave presents her new work, The sky continues beneath our feet. In this work, Gleave utilises Passage as a ‘portal’ to these non-ordinary states of understanding. She presents a constructed universe that glows 24/7, defying the time and space of the outside world.

In The sky continues beneath our feet, Gleave divides Passage into two parts, concealing 80% of the space with a polycarbonate stud wall, while 20% of the space remains visible. Behind the wall is Gleave’s universe: glitter, inflated star balloons, and foam coexist in a paradoxical state—shiny and spongey, granular and continuous, opaque and transparent, reflective and matte, absorbent and repellent, fragile yet durable. Gleave’s timber studded and polycarbonate wall creates a hazy 2D grid, a representation of our limited sense of dimensionality, dissecting the horizontal installation landscape and standing at odds with the rest of the space. Light filters through the wall as we peer through lenticular distortions in an attempt to glimpse, pause, rethink, and shift our assumptions on reality.

In her recent monograph titled ‘The Influence of an Idea on the physical properties of the world’, Michaela Gleave says, “I’m still seeking moments where I can find a schism in reality and explode that stable worldview to access other possibilities”. Perhaps this rupture occurs when her constructed universe bursts from the confinement of the wall and reveals materials that defy conventional logic. Here Gleave’s materials lay seemingly dormant under a focused theatre lamp, reminiscent of the properties of relativity and quantum mechanics, subtly glimmering the installation to life. Time as well seems arrested inside this space where this static assemblage continuously glows for 45 days, yet air is slowly leaking through the membrane of the stars. Over time, unattended balloons droop as they wait for Gleave to enter the space, refilling their volume with air from the outside world.

The sky continues beneath our feet by Michaela Gleave is a constellation of ideas, a material collection of a practice blazing with cosmic ambition, like the tail of a comet the artist has carted around with her. It is a constructed universe of party materials, air, light, timber, and reflections standing on a precipice between real and not real. Here, truth and fictions exist at a point in time where humanity seems to no longer believe in physical reality and is busy dissolving the world around us.

About The Artist:

Michaela Gleave is an Australian born artist based in Bediagal/Wangal country, Sydney, Australia. Gleave’s conceptual practice spans numerous mediums and platforms including digital and online works, installation, performance, photography, sculpture, and video. Her projects question the nature of reality and our innate relationship to time, matter, and space, focussing particularly on the changing intersections between art, science, and society. Gleave’s work has been presented extensively across Australia as well as in Germany, Greece, The United Kingdom, Austria, South Africa, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Iceland, the United States and Mexico. She has developed major performance and installation works for the Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney; Bristol Biennial, UK; Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth; Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney; Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane; TarraWarra Art Museum, Melbourne; Carriageworks, Sydney; and Dark Mofo Festival, Hobart among others. Gleave has been awarded residencies at the International Studio and Curatorial Program in New York City, Tokyo Wonder Site in Japan, and CSIRO Astronomy and Space Science, Australia. In 2015 Gleave won the Churchie National Emerging Art Prize. and was awarded a prestigious Creative Australia Fellowship in 2013. Permanent installations of her work have been commissioned by Bendigo Art Gallery, Victoria; Salamanca Arts Centre, Tasmania; and The Rechabite, Western Australia. Her first monograph was published by Formist Editions in 2022.

Gleave’s projects and exhibitions include Between us, Art Gallery of Western Australia, 2023; TarraWarra Biennial 2021: Slow Moving Waters, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria, 2021; Messages of Hope, Messages of Love, Art Gallery of NSW, Sydney, 2020; Vrystaat Arts Festival, South Africa, 2020; Coronal Mass, Salamanca Arts Centre, Hobart, 2019; Time, Melbourne Art Fair, Melbourne, 2018; The Score, The Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne, 2017; Bristol Biennial 2016: In Other Worlds, Bristol, UK, 2016; Aufstiege, KunstRegion Stuttgart, Germany, 2016; Trace: Performance and its Documents, Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2014; A Day is Longer than a Year, Fremantle Arts Centre, Western Australia, 2013; Our Frozen Moment, Carriageworks, Sydney, 2012; We Are Made of Stardust, Art Futures, Hong Kong Art Fair, 2012; Octopus 11: The Matter of Air, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, 2011; A Perfect Day to Chase Tornadoes (White), Kunstquartier Bethanien, Berlin, 2010; and Primavera 09, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, 2009.

[Text: Passage]

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