Dan Monceaux and Emma Monceaux’s latest artworks reflect their attention to existential threats, the environment and the surveillance state. The creative husband and wife team have two new works currently showing at Gallery 1855 in Tea Tree Gully, South Australia in the group exhibition “I see you, you see me”. Dan also recently delivered a spoken word piece at Truth to Power Cafe, a special one-off theatrical event held at the Adelaide Festival Centre on September 17, 2021.
Suspended from the ceiling in one of Gallery 1855’s three main rooms is “Icy, I sea, I see” by Dan Monceaux. The sculpture is made from recycled polystyrene foam packaging, which has been reshaped using glue and hot wire into a semblance of an iceberg. The iceberg is “split” by a large, round perspex disc, which evokes the surface of the ocean while acting as a mirror in which a curious observer can see their own reflection. The work is suspended from the ceiling by fishing line and chain. Dan’s artist statement reads:
“Since 1990, Australia has consistently ranked among the top 8 per-capita greenhouse gas-emitting nations. Pieces of plastic in the world’s oceans are on track to outnumber fish by 2050. Ice is melting, seas are rising, mass extinction is occurring. Humanity needs to reflect on its past and rapidly shape a survivable future.“
Emma Monceaux’s untitled artwork at Gallery 1855 is an arrangement of two fused glass circles, placed on a recycled mirror. The piece evokes an unblinking eye, and is a response to the unwanted attention of the Surveillance State that this husband and wife pair have endured for over five consecutive years.
Dan Monceaux recently addressed this same subject more directly with spoken word piece, as a guest participant in Truth to Power Cafe. Conceived and directed by Jeremy Goldstein, the Truth to Power Cafe invites participants to answer the question: “Who has power over you and what would you say to them?” The pair has experienced the combined chronic and acute stresses of being held against their will under total surveillance for over five years. In his speech, Monceaux declared the Surveillance State “an abomination… a rogue force… reckless, cruel, unaccountable” after listing some of the many ways its apparatus and personnel have interfered with his life. The performance was well-attended and received by the audience and Dan is considering developing his piece further for presentation in another format.
Both Dan and Emma are developing a reputation for stretching the boundaries of group exhibitions between occasional dedicated ForceofNature.eco exhibitions. In the case of “I see you, you see me” at Gallery 1855, the pair responded to a call for portraiture. Both artists remain attentive to social and environmental justice issues and often reflect these in their artwork which vary in media and form, and range from representational to abstract.
Dan and Emma Monceaux’s next public exhibition will be as contributing artists in “Inspired by Trees”; a group exhibition curated for the Burnside Civic Centre by Pepper Street Art Centre.
The group art exhibition “I see you, you see me” is on at Gallery 1855 until October 2, 2021. The gallery is free to enter, wheelchair accessible and is open from 12 noon until 5pm, Wednesday to Sunday. The gallery is set among the gum trees at 2 Haines Road, Tea Tree Gully, South Australia.