VCA Art student murals enliven 11 Barry Street

April 17 / 192

Agnes Whalan and her work are shown in this edition's banner and thumbnail. Elias Toner and his work above.
Agnes Whalan and her work are shown in this edition's banner and thumbnail. Elias Toner and his work above.

New murals created by VCA art students are enlivening the elevator lobbies of the home of University Services at 11 Barry Street in Carlton.

The works are large-scale projects that allow staff to reflect on colour, light, and the elements that make up their working days, and the campus as a whole.

The works are large-scale projects that allow staff to reflect on colour, light, and the elements that make up their working days, and the campus as a whole.

Student Agnes Whalan says her work reflects the presence of machines in the Barry Street building, from dishwashers to toilets and electricity conductors, as well as the parking ticket machines from the street below. The work intricately winds about the elevators, which are therefore also visually incorporated into the overall project.

“But there’s life in the building, so I also included some more organic elements, like melted candles, running water and electricity flow, to animate the machines and show them as part of the human as well as physical world, and how they interact with each other in surprising ways.”

Final year student Elias Toner spent nearly 80 hours creating his piece, including design and installation, which is comprised of paint and small pieces of whiteboard tape.

“My idea was to populate the building with reminders for the people who work here that they’re part of the University. Working in Barry Street, I think the staff can be quite separated from the wider uni community, because you don’t see students around,” he says. “I wanted to make sure there was an encounter between the office people, and students.”

Elias says he chose the area near the elevators to create the work because it’s a space where people can constantly engage with it, and also chose the third level because it’s where the architects are located.

“I wanted to use that type of language to speak to them. I have a long history of architects in my family, and I’m quite interested in the forms and the translation of a three-dimensional space into two-dimensional space.

“Initially I thought I’d work with the plans for the Barry Street building, and I started sketching, finding figures and forms that I liked from the plan.

“Architectural drawings are interesting because they show walls and doorways, but life happens in between, in the spaces, in areas that aren’t mapped and drawn, but are still there.  So I decided to use the plans but not show the building. I used structures from Parkville, and modified them to be present in the mural, to show how as students, we go through uni and we’re very focussed on our studies and making our art, but changes are constantly happening around us – and many of them come from University Services.

“I also wanted to incorporate a floaty kind of line, to counter the rigidity of straight lines. It’s like the energy that activates the spaces and represents those things that happen ‘in between’.”

Be sure to check the murals out next time you visit Barry Street!

 

 

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