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Unity 2016

Solo exhibition, Bett Gallery, North Hobart, Tasmania, 29 April - 16 May 2016

Inlaid Wooden Panels x 11
Stained and varnished marine ply, stainless steel
Each 103 x 80 cm
Satin black box frames

Inkjet prints on Hahnemuhle paper x 10
8 prints: 140 x 90 cm; 2 prints: 146 x 90 cm

Sculpture: Tree
Stained and varnished marine ply, sound track and speaker
Paul Roberts
Construction: Murray Antill
240 (h) x 120 (w) x 60 (d) cm

With very special thanks to everyone who made this project possible:

Phoebe Adams, Murray Antill, Phil Blacklow, Jess Curtis, Gerrard Dixon, Sara Lindsay, Paul Roberts and Gerard Willems

Unity can only be manifested by the Binary. Unity itself and the idea of Unity are already two.

Albert Pike, Morals and dogma of the ancient and accepted Scottish rite of Freemasonry, 1944






Unity is a visual exploration of two numbers – zero and one – that make up binary code and are the basis for all digital information. Binary code is a system for representation of reality that uses two symbols that are opposite. It represents words, images, music, everything we engage with digitally. The exhibition is inspired by the minimal beauty of these two symbols that seem in opposition to each other, but through unification become more than the sum of their parts. It aims to evoke a sense of mystery, and to reflect on the transformation of the written word from analogue to digital. It juxtaposes a series of opposites: numbers and letters, philosophy and mathematics, nature and culture, the organic and inorganic, and the old and the new. 

The work consists of 3 elements. The wooden panels combine timber and highly polished stainless steel, two opposing elements from the natural world. The wood references the organic world and the concept of the tree of knowledge. Its dark, grainy surface contrasts with that of the smooth, mirrored finish of the steel, which references the inorganic world and that of industry. These materials are opposites, but here they are unified, one embedded within the other.

The digital prints offer a counterpoint to the wooden panels – they incorporate binary text and words that are imposed over an early book of English grammar and logarithmic tables from an engineering text. They juxtapose the analogue with the digital, grammatical correctness with mathematical accuracy, and the old with the new.

The heart of Unity is a large scale sculpture inspired by the monolith in Stanley Kubrick’s 2001. In the film, the mysterious black oblong structure appears at crucial moments of history, marking a shift in the development of human consciousness. Like Kubrick’s monolith, this structure is also dark and represents an unknown force, but unlike the monolith in the film, it is constructed from wood. Like the yin and yang of the I Ching, it features a giant ‘zero’ on one side, and a giant ‘one’ on the other. The monolith hums, croaks and groans, suggesting a transformation is taking place within its very structure.

Unity 2016
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Unity sound track - Paul Roberts
00:00 / 00:00
Downloads & Links

The Catalogue

Article by Gabrielle Rish in The Mercury. 

Article by Gabrielle Rish in Australian Art Collector.

View all the work on the Bett Gallery website.

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