Old-school material-formalism and collage techniques seem to intuit the new physics in Louise Paramor’s work, whereby discarded junk or obsolete materials find a state of grace in such ageless concepts of harmony, balance, and elegant, preternatural math.
Though it can seem haphazard, fortuitous or even random, Paramor’s work subtly (but purposefully) finds a right fit between things where opposing or competing forces are arrested in equanimity. Stuff finally settles into her arrangements. Sure, it may teeter, tip, sway or rock for a while, but Paramor ultimately finds a still-point in the constant, universal and chaotic motion of all things.
Her sculptures often use recycled or found materials, harnessing the innate qualities to her sculptural or formal concerns. Bottle-stacks, raise the balanced robust cylindrical forms from backyard ubiquity to a rarer moment of precarious elegance.
Abstract paintings from accidental spills or random pours are arrested from obscure incidental sources – the underside of glass, her studio floor – to reveal the unsung battle for peace along the edges of colour and shape.
The discarded scraps of cut paper from figurative collages, exhibited in a pile on the studio floor, or lightly touched in new abstract works on paper, highlight the good fortune in things that flutter to earth.
Coiled wire or scrunched up cellophane are let loose spilling and unfurling across the floor, an explosion of stored or potential energy in a live, loving struggle with fixed surfaces and gravity.
The results quiver and shake with each footfall. Loops of wire or string stretched tight have the feel of a sketch, indeed drawing may be the work’s best description, since there is just enough control over material to suggest a shape and compose a formal relation, sometimes a word, a basic symbol, as if the artist’s powers of arrangement must struggle to cross this liminal threshold into language, and only then does the material speak legibly.
In other more elaborate cut-paper works, decorative motifs are held in a temporary ascendency – wobbling and swaying – over the intrinsic, reflexive recoil of matter put to a purpose. Other ‘chandelier’ works hang like Foucualt’s pendulum, testament to the spinning, rotating, centrifugal forces harmonized in an up-scaled fan or Christmas decoration.
While Paramor interacts with these predetermined material qualities, she frees pent-up forces as much as directs them to a conclusion, and an intuitive sense of gravity belies nearly all her work, as if everything fell (or collapsed with fatigue) to find itself awake in some optimum new arrangement.
There is minimum control over the unfurling paper or spring, or the pooling paint, hands only just directing the stored energy towards shapes and patterns and colour, echoes of an industrial spool, a fold, or poured liquid. Indeed, there is rarely a counterforce to gravity in these arrangements; just an occasional bolt, a bit of glue.
Her ad infinitum stacks of found industrial and assorted plastic materials seem to exhaust the possibilities for free standing, balanced composition, whether in a forest clearing, a tennis court, a gallery, alongside a freeway, in a shopping centre or on a beach. Indeed, they can appear anywhere at varying scales. While they can seem topsy turvy, with certain elements appearing upside-down, typically, the careful distribution of weight and clever cantilevering of hollow forms, strikes us as correct, or upright.
Where one element is placed within another it is rarely forced or jammed, rather slotted at most, which gives all the work a relenting, sometimes even peaceable, feel; palpably, Paramor is ultimately working with fundamental forces rather than against them, and their provisional combination has been agreed to some extent through a kind of collaboration between her materials and physics.
In sum total these assemblages express an order arising within chaos, as if the earth was really spinning and rotating like a barrel, and these high-keyed plastic components – tumbling and jumbling within – finally, gracefully, fatefully, are paused in their new striking arrays.
It’s why her work strikes a positive, uplifting note, conveys an optimism a little out-of-step with our tumultuous times – might even suggest the hand of God moving her own – in an old-fashioned sense of entirely appropriate design.