Naomi London

Naomi London’s art practice engages the viewer’s imagination in play, wonder and sensual delight. Often working with materials and objects that are synthetic or commercial in nature – plastics, toys, felt and decorative textiles – she creates art that revels in colour, texture, and pattern. Central to London’s process is a willingness to depart from a purely aesthetic approach that constitutes the viewer as a passive observer. Instead, her art coaxes viewers out of their isolation; it negotiates common ground and accommodates participation.The art’s reciprocal disposition is evident in early works in which she collaborated in the making of oddly designed garments, to the more recent colossal lettering that functioned as a hybrid invention between furniture and sculpture. But London’s art is deceptively disarming. Notwithstanding her exploration of the nature of happiness, the art often exhibits disquieting notes as well. Consistently present in her production are signs of a preoccupation with estrangement and frustrated purpose. The nervous tension is noticeable in recent drawings dealing with animals as subjects. As amusing as they are to us, dinosaurs and kangaroos are awkward anomalies of nature. And toy birds, when suspended upside in mid air, are useless and inert. Perhaps most telling are the images of the artist, dressed in a white body suit, handling brightly coloured, mysteriously shaped soft woven forms. The objects seem a cross between a laboratory model and a child’s toy. While visually attractive, their meaning balances in semiotic limbo. This incongruity, characteristic of much of London’s art, is as curiously disconcerting as it is approachable.

Anna Maria.Carlevaris