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NEON

Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley

Art Gallery of New South Wales

Two of Australia's best-known contemporary artists Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley are set to exhibit one of their latest collaborative works using neon lights and sculpture.

An essentially 20th-century phenomenon, neon is largely associated with advertising and the glitter of big-city retail. It's also a medium Burchill and McCamley have used together extensively in the past and they are well aware of its visual impact, particularly in Sydney. Yet in contrast to the pop, bold lights of Sydney's cityscape, the artists aim to create a fragile site sensitive experience, which communicates the visual power of language, treating language as a material rather than a semiotic sign.

Language and the language of art have often been central to their work. Their neon sculptures constitute part of an ongoing series and a major new strand of their collaborative activities. The language that comprises the neon is most often sourced from literature or film. The titles, however, do not relate to the content of the film but are chosen for their poetic attitude and ability to condense many ideas into something succinct.

About their choice of title and process, Burchill and McCamley have said: While there is often an element of homage in the choices, the pieces aren't primarily meant to invoke the original work. Titles are chosen because of the tenor and sentiment that they evoke and, in a way, our selection constitutes a new type of genealogy of art. The titles we choose have a hard poetic tenor, a tenor which is carried through in the materiality of the artworks. We aim to make our works highly condensed, both materially and conceptually.

Burchill and McCamley who live and work in Melbourne both acknowledge that while neon is an older technology than digital or video it is by no means defunct. Burchill believes neon signs have a pop element that is appealing. Jennifer McCamley says to her 'Sydney is like a neon city. Itís everywhere.'

NEON - Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley

On view:25 June to 14 August 2005
Level 2 Contemporary Project Space
Art Gallery of New South Wales
Art Gallery Road, The Domain, Sydney
Telephone:(02) 9225 1744 or
recorded information (02) 9225 1790
National Toll Free 1800 679 278
Hours:10am to 5pm 7 days a week
Art After Hours until 9pm every Wednesday
Admission:Free
Media Information and Interviews:Susanne Briggs, Press Office
Telephone (02) 9225 1791 or
0412 268 320
Email susanneb@ag.nsw.gov.au
Images available on request

IMAGE CREDIT: Janet Burchill and Jennifer McCamley SAFE, (detail) 2005 neon, electric cables, fittings and transformer Courtesy of the artists and Anna Schwartz Gallery.