After spending much of her youth on Norfolk Island, Margarita Sampson now lives and works in Newtown, Sydney. Despite now residing in a major city her affinity with nature, and particularly the sea, is still a tangible and evocative element in her work. We had the pleasure of attending the opening reception of Margarita’s first solo exhibition in Sydney in over 10 years, ‘Infectious Desires’ at Stanley Street Gallery, in Darlinghurst. Margarita’s work is both challenging and humorous, beautiful and bizarre, and even a little titillating. Stanley Street Gallery describes her new body of work as “based on the idea of a mythical Salon – a domestic interior where the very fabric of the objects have become animated, infectious with ideas, the desire for growth and expansion. Grounded in an upbringing where the natural world encompassed the human, Sampson turns the tables, so to speak, on our idea of domestic safety- the room as an ordered shelter from chaos. In her Salon series, the chaos has come to live in the very fabric of our furnishings – chairs grow rudimentary twins while their upholstery spills into reef-like forms. Holes eat through stuffing, forms mutate and are caught in the act of changing – often works are poised at a junction of collapse or expansion.”
As I walked through the gallery it was impossible not to reach out, touch, and stroke Margarita’s soft textile underwater eco-systems. Thank goodness this is permitted by the artist and I wasn’t the only one doing it! There was a tangible allure to put your finger into a crevice or mound and see if it would be swallowed up, along with an uneasy feeling that if I looked away for too long, the abundant growths would expand further and overwhelm the exhibition space!
Margarita uses found chairs; carving and sculpting the wood. She then spends months sewing various tactile fabrics and beading, feathers and crystals to create incredible organic colonies which are then upholstered onto the chairs, bringing every day objects to surreal life.
The sculptural works are supported by a limited edition of giclee prints of the work in collaboration with photographer John McRae.
25 February – 14 March 2015
Stanley Street Gallery
‘Anemone Incursions: Pussy Galore’, 2012
‘Anemone Incursions: Florence / Kiss Kiss’, 2013
‘Baby Jane (whatever happened to)’, 2013
‘Anemone Incursions: Zsa Zsa’, 2011
‘Anemone Incursions: Marlon’, 2015
‘Anemone Incursions: Bev & Eli’, 2014
‘Anemone Incursions: Klaus’, 2011