SHOWS THAT MATTER: A FriendsWithYou Fairytale at Sydney's Mclemoi Gallery

SHOWS THAT MATTER: A FriendsWithYou Fairytale at Sydney's Mclemoi Gallery

WHAT: “Inner Vision in Between,” FriendsWithYou’s first Australian solo exhibition,

WHEN: February 16 – April 11



The work of Miami based art collaborative FriendsWithYou is proof that the old adage “less is more” can be applied to artistic practice to produce refreshing and exhilarating works of art. Sydney’s Mclemoi Gallery are currently hosting FriendsWithYou’s first Australia solo exhibition, “Inner Vision in Between,” which features a fantastic range of large-scale sculptural pieces as well as a range of limited edition works made especially for the show.           

One of the world’s most progressive and innovative visual art collaboratives, FriendsWithYou artists Samuel Borkson (Sam) and Arturo Sandoval III (Tury) are best known for their playful yet masterful large-scale, space-defining installations and quirky anime-style character creations. Continuing their global journey spreading the positive message of Magic, Luck, and Friendship™, Sam and Turi have relinquished some amazing works into the care of Mclemoi Gallery for the benefit of the Australian public.

The most engaging works in the show are undoubtedly the laser-cut MDF sculptures which have a strong physical presence that defines the space in which they are placed. Visually simple yet conceptually complex, the focus of these pieces is not so much the physicality of the works themselves but the way in which people interact with the shapes, textures, colours, and forms. The striking wall-mounted sculpture “I Melt For You,” for instance, appears at first glance to consist of several puzzle-like pieces when in fact it is one solid piece. What is initially perceived as embodying characteristics of a child’s toy instantly becomes an entirely different object. The shape itself is also open to interpretation, one minute appearing like an ice cream, the next as a face.

Consisting of a series of black and white vertical stripes interrupted by three black stripes that form a smiley face, the massive wall-mounted sculpture “The Portal” embodies the FriendsWithYou mission statement: to affect world culture by cultivating special moments of spiritual awareness and powerful, joyous interaction. The surface of “The Portal” is covered in a special pigment that reflects light but appears as a matte finish. This simple characteristic gives the work incredible presence. Once again, however, there is a surprise in store with this work for viewers who take the time to meditate in its presence. Stare at the work for long enough and a shadow-like heart shape emerges from the edges of the smiley face.

One of the simplest yet most appealing works in the exhibition is the unique multiple “Cloud Heart,” a vacuum formed acrylic face that is the epitome of restraint and elegance. Purified to the point of perfection, “Cloud Heart” is an expression of peace, tranquillity, purity, and transcendency that is responsive enough to elicit a reaction but repressive enough to allow the viewer to endow the object with their own unique characteristics. It’s incredibly well priced too, as are all the works in the show.

It is clear from the “Inner Vision in Between” how much thought and effort goes into the conceptualisation and creation of each FriendsWithYou object.  By relying on simple forms, colours, textures, and shapes, FriendsWithYou have assigned themselves the unenviable task of producing precariously balanced objects using minimalist materials and techniques  – so far, they have proven up to the task.

“Inner Vision in Between” is at Mclemoi Gallery until April 11.