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Anatomy of the formless

The most beautiful arrangement is a pile of filth disposed haphazardly, Greek philosopher Heraclitus once said.

Contemporary artist Inga Fillary shares Heraclitus's fascination with dirt, rust, human biota and other entropy and now a small selection of her work can be viewed at JB Contemporary in Lowe Street.

Dirt explores social taboos, death, abjection and exhilaration of destruction, says Fillary in an Elam School of Fine Arts webpage.

“It is concerned with the anatomy of the formless in art, with the concepts of ‘otherness' and matter out of place.”

Dirt is the cornerstone of her work, she tells the Guide.

“Dirt in all its forms and inherent meanings.”

Now completing her Masters in fine art, Fillary discovered her love of filth that had been disposed haphazardly during her study at Elam.

“Gradually, as I experimented in materials, I discovered this love of dirt and rust then moved more into exploring different materials.”

The artist makes her own rust, her own oxidised metal residue, but can't reveal how.

“If I told you I'd have to kill you,” she says, possibly considering how the decomposition could be incorporated in a new work.

“I used to collect pieces of rust then worked out a way that is completely malleable and that I can paint into my work.”

A little rust features in the works in her exhibition, Art to Match the Curtains, but in these highly textured pieces she has mostly used bitumen and clay on hessian, and in one piece, particularly oogy substances.

Such “low-hierarchy” materials are the stuff of mayhem, chaos, strife, all of which is part of life, says Fillary.

“I'm interested in the periphery of society, seeing things in a different way, seeing things out of whack.

“I'm interested in the abject, body dirt, the part of ourselves we try to distance ourselves from.”

Fillary cites as an influence the work of Alberto Burri who worked with materials such as tar, sand, zinc, pumice, aluminium dust and polyvinyl chloride glue.

The Auckland artist's palette tends more to grunge. In one piece she included shower entropy such as “hair and drain goop”.

One work in her exhibition is a worn desk drawer lined with groady, meshed fibre joint tape.

“I tend to use found objects,” she says.

“They bring with themselves a history. Remove them from utility and they become something else.”

It comes almost as a surprise to hear Fillary works in jobs that would require order, structure and dirt and dust removal mechanisms.

Along with creating art from entropy, Fillary is also a personal trainer and film set dresser and buyer.

“The two are diametrically opposed,” she says.

“As in life.”

ENTROPIC: Found objects, clay, hessian and grunge are part of Auckland-based, contemporary artist Inga Fillary's palette. A selection of her work can now be viewed at JBC Gallery, 14 Lowe Street, until September 30. Picture supplied