Free Jazz

Anne-Marie May

07.07.2023 - 05.08.2023

Free Jazz presents three brightly coloured acrylic models by Anne-Marie May. Continuing May’s longstanding interest in the light transmitting quality of acrylic, her Free Jazz series endeavours to intuitively find a rhythmic arrangement between formal elements, colour and shape. Curated by Emma Nixon

Luminous in their bright shades of pinks, reds, purples, greys and yellows – Anne-Marie May’s FREE JAZZ wall sculptures are explorations of undulating forms, overlapping colours and refracted light. Conceived as models for larger sculptures, the FREE JAZZ series sits within her long-term experimentation with acrylic, which began in 2006. Chosen for its light transmitting quality, May heats and manipulates the flat acrylic sheets into shape during the process of making. Where the heat has surged or billowed, the shapes are organic and impulsive, but there are tighter parts too, in which components nestling together create curves that feel deliberate and more fixed.

Referencing ‘Free Jazz’ music from the 1960’s (an experimental approach to jazz improvisation), May is interested in the temporal and spontaneous. During the heating process, she has just two or three minutes where the acrylic material is malleable enough to wrestle into voluptuous forms, before it cools down and returns to its’ rigid state.

Originally influenced by the structures and geometries in coral fragments found while travelling in northern Australia, these works explore the relationship between the natural world and the manmade. Emphasising light and colour as physical phenomena, the sharply cut edges of the sculptures appear illuminated, even more florescent than their bodies. This amplified intensity of colour creates lines evocative of currents of electricity which dance around in the light. The intersection and overlap of transparent fragments cause new colours to appear, especially as your body moves around the works – new perspectives and layers revealing themselves to you. Glowing shadows emerge behind the sculptures, like a yellow traffic-light that slows you down or a pink sunset on a white wall.

May’s compositional process is intuitive, and she endeavours to find rhythmic arrangements between formal elements. Her abstract forms bloom like petals, and like nature, they are a thing of awe and beauty.

Emma Nixon, 2023

Anne-Marie May is a contemporary artist who works across sculpture, installation, design and textiles to explore spatial, perceptual and chromatic relationships. Making and materiality are central to May’s practice, and a long-standing interest in architecture and craft informs her experimentation with process and the production of objects. Through a multifaceted and intuitive process of reworking materials her practice seeks to create both spatial and conceptual connections between an artwork and its architectural location. May attained her Doctor of Philosophy, Fine Art, Monash University, Melbourne in 2020.

First exhibiting in 1988 at Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne, she has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Australian galleries and museums. Institutional solo and survey exhibitions, Inside Out: Space and Process, McClelland Gallery, 2020, Anne-Marie May Heide II, Heide Museum of Modern Art, 2004. May’s work is held in public collections nationally and internationally, including the Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Auckland, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth.

Widely known for her large scale, brightly coloured suspended sculptures, which hover within a public architectural space, these works are viewable from many different vantage points, rotating of their own accord and extending the experience of the artwork beyond its usual boundaries. Recent examples include at Shepparton Art Museum, 2021-22, Melbourne Recital Centre, 2018 and  Monash University, Melbourne 2015.

Join our mailing list:

Friday & Saturday 12-5
or by appointment

1/10-12 Moreland Road
Brunswick East, VIC 3057