Flight of Fancy - Emily Gardener : Emily Gardener. 16 MARCH - 3 APRIL, 2003

An exotic flock of Pink Flamingos has taken to the walls at HSP! Emily Gardener’s unique imagery is crafted from the humble nylon stocking. Ripped open from the numerous pink and green Pacific Brand Hosiery boxes that were donated to the artist, the stockings are stretched over the pinned outlines of birds and foliage.
This show is exciting, bold and fun! Gardener uses all aspects of the stockings: laddering, seams, stitching in the toes and the double layering of the crutch, to describe in detail tutu-like plummage and spindly legs. Posturing in their lurid bright pink costume the birds are at once comical and fetishistic. It is an intriguing installation that alludes to the art nouveau movement and Japanese screens in the use of flat stylised imagery and the patterning affect of the various shapes.

Gardener has captured groups in flight and others that perch and pose amongst the trees. She has also framed the entry into the installation with a symmetrical double pair of Flamingoes at the door to the second gallery space. With beaks in the air, these four proudly introduce the rest of the troupe.Expertly manipulated, it is hard to imagine that these stockings were once leg and feet shapes. Gardener transforms hosiery into a convincing medium that is both playful and descriptive. It is a confident show that will make you smile, even if you didn’t get to the glamorous pink bubbly cocktail party opening night!

Julia Holderness