In Hope in the Wilderness artist Sam Jinks is transfixed by the mysteries of destiny and the instability that governs lives, crafting sculptural works that reflect our own era of doubt and alarm. This is an exhibition beautiful and blistering in equal parts, full of objects that are haunted by decay, but are also pervaded by the possibility of renewal. While many of the sculptures deal in physicality, with mercurial precision - saggy skin, sinewy bodies, skulls newly stripped of flesh - they are not without questions of the mind. Permeating each of these works are ideas about faith’s fragility and how consciousness may transcend the limitations of the body.
To think about death and decay is often disregarded as a morbid inclination or an indulgence in doom. But Jink’s work refutes this narrative. Instead, these pieces of corporeal debris and decline offer comfort, a kind of consolation. In times of darkness and deprivation, in the ashes of the deceased, creation continues. Take the work Beast of the Isle of Bags where the remnants of a rabbit, a skull, is housing two snails, who are possibly deriving sustenance from its marrow. Sculptured with care and rigour, these mollusks offer a lesson in primordial resilience—how it might be good to move slowly in the world and retreat when needed.
Then there is Jink’s tableau of innocence and experience: a newborn baby, freshly out of the womb, who is being clutched by an elderly figure. It is impossible not to gaze at the person’s hands - mottled with purple, creased with lines, rendered frail - that seem to bare the marks of every movement and ache of a long existence. This work is a dual celebration: of new life, soft and fleetingly undisturbed. And of the life that has come before it, coarsened and weakened by time, coming to its inevitable end.
Sullivan+Strumpf acknowledge the Indigenous People of this land, the traditional custodians on whose Country we work, live and learn. We pay respect to Elders, past and present, and recognise their continued connection to culture, land, waters and community.