Saved Blue bundle     

Saved (Blue Bundle), 2012, found plastics, wire   

Walking, collecting and aesthetics intersect in the practice of many artists, offering a way to engage with place and landscape that materially connects the personal with the public. Such an approach also allows an artist to tread lightly, as the artwork generally reconfigures what is already there rather than adding yet another commodity to a congested world.

There is a kind of humility to this way of working, a recognition both of the creativity inherent in the everyday, and of the value of the small gesture that can subtly, but sometimes powerfully, change one’s take on things.

 In her new series, Saved, Rox De Luca may have abandoned her signature paintbrush, but she continues to ‘paint’, this time with found objects. Artists who work with found objects always impose criteria on their process of selection, however aesthetically ‘indifferent’ the founding figure of the readymade, Marcel Duchamp, may have claimed to be. In De Luca’s case, the parameters are both social and formal: she scours her local beach — Sydney’s iconic Bondi — for plastic traces which she then assembles in long ropes using the tools of a jeweller. De Luca is guided primarily by colour in her compositional choices; she sorts through the shards of objects long deprived of their functional integrity, unrecognisable even, but whose colour remains as vivid and semiotically charged as ever. Sprouting off the wall or coiling on the floor, the works are installed to heighten their potential for transformation and endless accretion. Celebratory garlands (a mermaid’s necklace?), or chains ready to strangle unsuspecting marine life?

The works read like rosaries that count out either the pleasures of summer days or the sins of environmental neglect.

De Luca’s practice has consistently addressed the experience of place — the legacy of her family’s migration, the dislocating interstices between languages, the will to make an unfamiliar place one’s own. This series of works continues De Luca’s self-reflexive consideration of her specific, embodied location, but also offers insights on the potential place of the artist in contemporary times, lovingly and discreetly tending to our vulnerable common heritage.

Jacqueline Milner, 2012

 Saved detail pink 

Above: detail, Saved (Pink), photo: Penny Clay       Below: detail, Saved Cassata, photo: Penny Clay