In the penultimate act of Stanley Kubrick’s classic science fiction film 2001: A Space Odyssey , the astronaut Dave Bowman travels through a star gate into a psy- chedelic hyperspace featuring stunning abstract swirls of colour, patterns and unfold- ing landscapes. Eventually he encounters seven jewel-like objects floating in darkness. Although the film offers no definitive explanation for these diamonds it’s clear to the viewer that, unlike everything else seen in the sequence, there’s a logic and intelligence behind their appearance – this is no accident of nature.
I couldn’t help but think of that sequence when looking at Jason Sims’ latest series of works. Like the geometric shapes of Kubrick’s masterpiece, there’s an expansive logic to the construction of From Where I Stand . Recently installed in the Art Gallery of South Australia, the viewer encounters three light and mirror installations that feature a construction that, when viewed in a mirror, miraculously transform into a geometric object – a diamond, a sphere and a cube. By presenting the physical works in a forced perspective and using the angled glass to transform them, their ‘completion’ exists only as an optical effect that, like Kubrick’s star gate, offers a glimpse into the expectations of what we will see, but also reveals to us how we see. As Arthur C. Clarke, the screen- writer of 2001 once famously remarked, sufficiently advanced technology will appear to us to be magic, but in the case of Sims’ sculptures, only a mirror is required.
These recent works are a development from the sculptures that Sims has been making for a number of years, wall mounted or freestanding floor pieces that, while contained within a border or frame of metal, are just as conceptually and perceptually expan- sive as the AGSA works. Sims’ Blank IV suggests a number of associations, from the geometric serial sculptures of Donald Judd, or the quasi-psychedelic mindscapes of Al Held or even, in an Australian context, some of the large-scale mid-2000s paintings by Peter Daverington. Sims’ works invite and reward an intimate encounter with the viewer, requiring an up-close inspection to get a full sense of the unfolding geometries and infinite interiors within: in Blank IV a construction of stainless steel, reflective glass, mirrors and LED lights creates an infinitely receding scaffolding and interconnected matrix that appears to exist beyond the borders of the sculpture itself while the shelf sculpture Shelf Space II works in similar fashion, creating the illusion of a receding vor- tex in the structure of the wall behind.
The science fictional concept of hyperspace – a plane behind or beyond the four di- mensional space that we perceive and exist in – is an idea that powers Sims’ sculptures, a developing series of works that give form to a provocative reconfiguring of space- time that, using the most straightforward of materials imaginable, is amazingly rich in an evocation of alternate dimensions and perceptual possibilities.
— Andrew Frost, 2015