What does silence look like? Artist Phoebe Rathmell will show us this July at Archive Space in Newtown. The 21st Century is a rowdy time and place and listening to it is exhausting. The boom never ends, everything is noise and everywhere is somewhere to listen.

Rathmell’s art hones in on the sound of silence. It’s a sound American composer and musician, John Cage, made tangible and present – a real thing to be held and treasured – in his “4’33” piece, which was intended to force audiences to listen to their daily surrounds as intently as they listen to music. What we heard was not blankness, but loaded sonic emptiness.

Rathmell does the same by creating ephemeral and sculptural installations, shaping overlooked, everyday things like dyed toothpicks with her hands in rhythmic circles on the gallery floor. Her art practice continues her meditation practice, something she’s been doing for twelve years.

Rathmell has just returned from Cut Log Art Fair in New York, exhibiting amongst the likes of Claire Healy, Sean Cordeiro and Vernon Ah Kee. She will offer audiences a view of her painstaking and meditative approach to artmaking during a performance on Saturday 20 July from 1-4pm. Opening drinks are on Wednesday July 17, 6-8pm.

LAUREN CARROLL HARRISS

Nothing Hear is currently showing at Archive Space in Newtown and runs until July 26.

Tell Us What You Think