Lightbulb moment

IT was quite literally a light bulb moment when David Kenworthy turned from artisan furniture to sculpture.

The Freo furniture maker had been working with a lot of artists and became intrigued by light art; it flicked his creative switch and his exhibitions fill a gallery space with illuminated plastic toys, such as upturned shell-shaped paddling pools.

Pulsating with light and colour they seem to shimmy across the floor like giant turtles in an underwater garden, “swimming” to reach an eclectic collection of toys on the wall.

US artist Dan Flavin was his inspiration, but Kenworthy is more about domestic objects, which help people find new meanings amongst the mundane objects of modern life.

“I like to transform rather unremarkable bric a brac and ‘low’ plastic commodities from discount stores into radiant, glowing jewels of lost childhood and playful consumption,” he says.

His works have been exhibited nationally and internationally.

He was the only Australian to join 150 artists invited to the world’s biggest light biennale, Luminale in Frankfurt in 2014.

• David Kenworthy. Photo by James Kerr

• David Kenworthy. Photo by James Kerr

The organisers of a light filled celebration of the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall, saw it and were so impressed he was invited to their party.

“I was part of that program,” Kenworthy tells the Herald, adding it was amazing “to be part of one of the biggest culturally significant events in modern history…the fall of communism in Europe”.

His latest exhibition, at Kidogo Arthouse, Blue Shell Blues is part of Fringe World.

The gallery’s white walls will be a “beach-sand” backdrop to the colourful, playful art, which will feature the music of futuristic DJ Diger Rokwell.

But there’s a serious message behind the fun, Kenworthy says.

“[The] art helps create a dialogue about the dangers of plastic in our marine environments.”

Blue Shell Blues is at Kidogo Arthouse February 2–8, 10am–5pm. Entry is free.

by JENNY D’ANGER

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