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Chloe Cogle | Miles Hall | Christopher Handran | Ross Manning

30 April – 30 May 2009

A new truth to materials is an exhibition featuring the work of Chloe Cogle, Miles Hall, Chris Handran and Ross Manning that reconsiders the concept of ‘truth to materials’ in relation to contemporary art and practice.

Originally developed by nineteenth-century art and social critic John Ruskin, the concept encouraged artists to bring out the intrinsic qualities of materials and reveal the construction of their art so to oppose the extravagant attitudes of capitalist society of the time. Criticism of ‘truth to materials’ stemmed largely from the various interpretations of the concept that evolved with modern art. What began as a way to bring the ‘power and charm of art within the reach of the humble and the poor'[1] became closely associated with an index of quality founded on formal simplicity and purity of medium—exactly what has been disregarded by contemporary artists who advocate that art is for ‘everyone’ and aim to blur the boundaries between mediums altogether.

A new truth to materials attempts to show how young and emerging artists continue to respond sensitively to materials and choose not to greatly manipulate, alter or disguise the objects and media they employ. Featuring a range of work that demonstrate a considered approach to both natural and manufactured materials, this exhibition lays bare the inner workings of contemporary art and practices that bring a new life to an old concept.

[1] John Ruskin quoted in Rosenberg, John D., ed. The Genius of John Ruskin: Selections from his Writings. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1998, p.227.

Exhibition Catalogue | Essay by Raymonde Rajkowski