‘Frugal’ at aMBUSH Gallery

Perhaps the most intellectually provocative exhibition to launch at aMBUSH Gallery this year, Frugal is a culturally reflective exploration of our changing attitudes toward consumption, waste and the fragility of our resources.

12 Nov 2012

Inspired by the astute and anecdotal observations of leading Australian designers Berto Pandolfo, Edward Coffey, Ben Baxter, Ruth McDermott, Phillippa Carnemolla and Christian Tietz, the works comprising Frugal offer an intriguing array of innovative and beautiful solutions to the contemporary conundrum of wastefulness. From furniture and object design to lighting and graphics, the breadth of expertise exhibited by Frugal emphasises the relevance of frugality to the design industry as a whole, its practical viability in our everyday lives and the potential to create something truly beautiful from a method inherently economical.

Co-curators Ruth McDermott and Ben Baxter hope to urge Frugal’s audiences to emulate the thoughtful attitudes of generations past toward the preciousness of resources, be they time, energy or materials. “We [are] thinking of how our grand-parents never wasted anything, often saving the paper from wrapping, putting unused screws into a collecting jar and hoarding string [and] rubbers bands,” they say of the designers’ approach to the concept.

While the idea of frugality is not a novel one, it has been some decades since its necessity seemed so urgent. As contemporary designers responding to the omniscient threat of economic and environmental precariousness, Ruth McDermott and Ben Baxter intend to demonstrate the simplicity of frugality as an accessible solution; not only to designers, but to everyone. “Somehow the idea of investing in quality and making it last for longer seems a much better idea [than conspicuous consumption]. Repairing, re-using and reimagining are the way to go.”

With works ranging from the shimmering refractions of Berto Pandolfo’s laser cut CD sculpture, to the provocative rhetoric of Edward Coffey’s sign-written tea chest boards and the feminine whimsy of Ruth McDermott’s light installation of empty perfume bottles, Frugal is a culturally-pertinent examination of the necessity for a change in our attitudes toward waste, and the beauty such a change can bring.

A printed catalogue, which includes an essay written by cultural historian Dr Prudence Black and is sponsored by the Industrial Design department of the University of Technology, Sydney, will be available on the exhibition’s opening night. The catalogue, as well as all other information about Frugal, can be found online at www.iduts.com.

Frugal opens at aMBUSH Gallery, Waterloo, on Thursday 15 November from 6-9pm. Exhibition continues Friday 16 to Sunday 18 November from 12-4pm. 

aMBUSH Gallery