“Undertone Overture” is the first Australian exhibition of the work of American animator and performer Jodie Mack (b. 1983).Mack’s vibrantly coloured films explore the possibilities of recycled and repurposed consumer materials such as wrapping paper, foil, ribbon and cheap fabrics, questioning ‘throwaway’ culture as they find beauty and resonance in the everyday.”Undertone Overture”, this exhibition’s titular work, extends Mack’s practice of making abstract artworks into a creative investigation of the allusive potential of textile patterns, specifically, the form of tie-dye.Mack says she is “fascinated” by tie-dye,”I’m endlessly thrilled by its effects – which are wonderfully variable and unique, not to mention frequently spectacular – but also the process. As an animator, I like getting in there with my hands, and I enjoy hand-crafting each little stage of the proceedings. I don’t find it laborious so much, as the anticipation just builds and builds for me: at the end, you know it’s all going to coordinate into something wonderful… even if the final outcome can be a little difficult to predict!”Mack is interested in tie-dye’s long relationship with beach culture. The exhibition “Undertone Overture” uses the film as a centerpiece from which to stage a reflection of Mack’s affinity for the lifestyles of the Southern Gold Coast, which she has experienced as “definitely attuned to natural health, wellness and outdoor living at a higher level”. For Mack, there are parallels with the contemporary revival of sustainable practices from American counter-cultural and folk history:”Looking past the ‘hippie’ baggage associated with tie-dye, what I see in doing tie-dye today is people returning to ancient methods of ‘resist dyeing’ – which of course in practice DOES have all these cosmic, psychedelic connotations, but which nonetheless also produces some really amazing images that suggest the subjective view of the oceans and waterways, the light at sunset, the experience of being underwater with shafts of light piercing through the waves. Each piece is unique, and it offers you a chance to give a tired old sheet or shirt a whole new lease of life. That sense of unfolding possibilities you get with the experience of light and water, whether you’re swimming, surfing, or looking at tie-dye patterns is one of the most precious things about human perception. The sense of wonderment that gets provoked is very important to me.”
Mack’s exhibition uses digital projection, tie-dye fabrics and sculptural objects to transform the interior space of The Walls into a shimmering, ethereal field of constantly shifting coloured light.
Jodie Mack received her MFA in film, video, and new media from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007 and currently teaches animation at Dartmouth College. Combining the formal techniques and structures of abstract/absolute animation with those of cinematic genres, her handmade films use collage to explore the relationship between graphic cinema and storytelling, the tension between form and meaning. Musical documentary or stroboscopic archive: her films study domestic and recycled materials to illuminate the elements shared between fine-art abstraction and mass-produced graphic design. Questioning the role of decoration in daily life, the works unleash the kinetic energy of overlooked and wasted objects. Jodie Mack is in Australia as a guest of OtherFilm www.otherfilm.org/jodie-mack/ .