Ranna's "Total Art" at Townsville

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The following review, "TOTAL ART AT TOWNSVILLE" by Anna Bock (Brisbane Courier Mail: , May 31, 1986.) discussed Ranna's early figurative work, and her integration of the figure, cosmology, atonal music theory, and actual musical sounds in an exhibition of figurative work.

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Copyright notice.

Townsville's [Perc Tucker Gallery director] has shown the flag with his first home-curated show of works by young artist Ranna Hale [artist's former last name; now Lachlan].

Though the public may have a bit to chew on with this uncompromising kind of art, the choice was a lucky one: it combines a consistent and demanding concept with excellent graphic draftsmanship.

The show was officially opened by Senator Margaret Reynolds, who, as former chairman of the Townsville City Council's Community and Cultural Development Committee, expressed her personal relationship to the venue, as well as to the artist. This goes back to the time when artist Ranna Hale [artist's former last name] worked as the town's community arts officer, in between her studies at the Queensland College of Art and Townsville College of TAFE.

COPYRIGHT PROTECTED Image - review photo, artist with large drawing (copyright)1986

PHOTOGRAPH FROM ADDITIONAL REVIEW by Colin Campbell, Townsville Bulletin, "The Arts", May 17, 1986, p. 18. Photo: Ranna with Shoulders, Arms, Lungs (1985) from Myth, Woman, Song 1985-86

The exhibition consists of 12 large drawings in charcoal, ink, pastels and paint on paper, and a corresponding set of 12 paintings in polytex, acrylic and metallic paint on heavy jute, as well as a smaller quartet of studies to the paintings. Common theme of all works is the female body, intersected into twelve parts, so to speak from toe to tip.

Analogue to the composition principle in atonal music, these intersections form the equivalent of a visual scale, thus providing the building material for future work.

The paintings explore the body feeling of the different body parts in the experience of the artist. A cosmological dimension is suggested by relating the body feelings to the moods of the four seasons of the year (each subdivided into three), the fours elements, and the 12 signs of the zodiac.

The drawings are based on images taken from an anatomical atlas, and on life studies, but are also abstracted and monumentalised to achieve an epic quality. Though the images also determine the forms in the paintings, the colours, textures, and (controlled) gestural movement show expressive heaviness, as if seeking a counterpart to the lofty concept.

... The visual display is accompanied by a tape of (12) natural sounds, which are set in atonal arrangements.

The integration of music and vision both in the presentation and the underlying concept follow the European tradition of Total Art, which appeared in many guises from Wagner to Beuys, currently experiencing a (frightening?) revival in young urban art practice, stimulated by new French philosophy.

It is of interest in this context that Anton Schoenberg, the inventor of Dodekaphonie, and Wassily Kandinsky corresponded over a Total Art colour system. Schoenberg himself was a hauntingly expressive painter.

The exhibit will be on display until June 14.

(By Anna Bock, in Courier Mail, Saturday May 31, 1986, Brisbane, Australia. [ABRIDGED])

Ranna's work since 2000 is at www.ranna.com

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Extended list of reviews, publications, exhibitions

catalog cover, Ranna , 2000, copyright

Catalogue, Washington D.C. 2000


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