• Justine Varga, WINNER OF The Dobell Drawing Prize 2019

    Congratulations to Justine Varga who has been announced as the winner of The Dobell Drawing Prize for 2019. This new biennial prize and exhibition is presented by the National Art School in association with the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation. The Prize is an open call to all artists and aims to explore the enduring importance of drawing and the breadth and dynamism of contemporary approaches to drawing.

    Of the work, Justine states: ‘Photogenic Drawing (2018) is an artwork that ruptures any clear distinction between photography and drawing. The negative from which Photogenic Drawing has been derived was drawn on and daubed with pigment during its long exposure. When that negative is printed large-scale in the darkroom, these inscriptions are revealed to intermingle with the distinctive signature of my fingertips, a trace of touching that is generally forbidden in the production of photographs. This mode of working is, in part, due to my grounding in the logic of drawing while I was at art school. But it also recalls similarly drawn photographic prints made in the 19th century by artists like Camille Corot and Charles-Francois Daubigny, and in the 20th by Pablo Picasso and Len Lye. I have always seen my photography in these terms, as a drawing with light, or more literally as a light-sensitive substrate on which I make marks or allow the world to leave its own marks. This print is therefore the making visible of a drawing practice that is at once physical and chemical, autobiographical and contingent, painterly and photographic.’

    The Dobell Drawing Prize is now showing at the National Art School and runs until 25 May 2019.

    Press Coverage

    Art Guide


    Image: Justine Varga, Photogenic Drawing, 2018, chromogenic photograph, 151.5 x 120 cm, edition of 5
  • ‘Living Rocks’ an Official Collateral Event at La Biennale di Venezia​ 2019

    Hugo Michell Gallery is thrilled to announce South Australian collaboration, Living Rocks: A Fragment of the Universe has been selected as one of only 21 Official Collateral Events of the 58th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia 2019.

    Curated by Dr Lisa Slade, Living Rocks is a South Australian collaboration between James Darling & Lesley Forwood, Jumpgate VR, composer Paul Stanhope, and the Australian String Quartet. The Art Gallery of South Australia is the Official Promoter of Living Rocks.

    Living Rocks, the only Australian project selected addresses the question: what was our planet three billion years ago? It celebrates the cosmic imperative of microbes in action through the universe, most notably their survival by way of the great events of extinction that have happened or are still to come on our planet.

    In Living Rocks, water floods the Magazzini del Sale, the historic stone salt storehouses of Venice that have stood the test of many an inundation. From an extensive pool emerge thrombolites that have been crafted, not by unimaginable time and the force of nature, but by the artists who employ the distinctive roots of an arid land eucalypt to create living rocks.

    The installation connects the present day to the beginning of life. It is a memory of our origin and a prophesy of our future.”  – JAMES DARLING

    Show your support for this South Australian first with a donation to the project. Donations are tax deductible through the Australian Cultural Fund.

    Image: James Darling & Lesley Forwood, Living Rocks: A Fragment of the Universe, 2018, Adelaide, digital video (20-minute loop), 1.5 tonnes Mallee root & 4,000 litres of water, 1612 x 464 cm; Installation view at Hugo Michell Gallery, 2018.
  • Hugo Michell Gallery Open: Ildiko Kovacs | Gerry Wedd

    Hugo Michell Gallery invites you to the opening of Ildiko Kovacs’ ‘Both Ways’ and Gerry Wedd’s ‘Pot Songs’.

    ldiko Kovacs’ abstract works revel in the rich and sumptuous possibilities of paint and its ability to evoke different thoughts, emotions, and sensations. Across the course of her career, Kovacs has created paintings that are intuitive and raw, the result of a process of experimentation, and of applying and removing pigment until a sense of cohesion is achieved. Working directly…without a preconceived outcome, painting for Kovacs is process-driven and instinctive – an “intuitive line of thought or belief”. Her practice over 40 years has been shaped by a series of artistic shifts and developments that, as she says, are “somehow always connected with what is happening in my life.”
    – Megan Robson

    Kovacs’ early career ‘void’ paintings were succeeded by her experimentations with reintroducing forms to the pictorial space. These abstracted forms coalesced into lines, structured and fluid. In recent years, Kovacs has worked with wide, rolling lines that twist, turn, curve, and loop over themselves. In ‘Both Ways’, Kovacs presents four such works. In contrast, Kovacs also presents ply-mounted works on card in which her gestural line narrows, sharpens, and becomes almost sculptural, carving through the two-dimensional space. In both styles, Kovacs draws on abstract expressionism’s focus on process and gesture in mark-making, as she builds up, excavates, and builds again thick layers of lines and shapes which follow the movements of her body as she works. From the process-based similarities and the drastically different styles of the works in ‘Both Ways’ emerges a dialogue about line and gesture, colour and movement, and internal and external landscapes.

    Since the 1980s, Kovacs has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally, and has the recipient of major awards including the Bulgari Art Award in 2015. Her work is held in major national and international collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Artbank, and the World Bank.

    Gerry Wedd is a South Australian artist known for his ceramics as well as his long-term contribution to the iconic Mambo brand, beginning in the late ’80s and ending in 2006. Wry and witty, his classical ceramic forms draw on surf culture, politics, and cult music in their surface decoration. Blue and white willow pattern plates might sport the face of Paul Kelly or Dolly Parton, or barrelling surf à la Hokusai.
    – Varia Karipoff

    In ‘Pot Songs’, Wedd presents a series of ceramic works he views as fan art, or suburban folk art, in that they are homages to their subjects. Wedd sees the works as covers – as tributes of a sort, but more importantly, as reinterpretations, that, like musical covers, focus on the lyric content, melodic aspect, or rhythm of the original. Wedd pays homage to the sources of the images, text, and lyrics that adorn his vessels, but also pays homage to the canon of his chosen medium, as he engages with and subverts its traditions.

    Wedd has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, including at the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Havana Biennial, the JamFactory, and the Ian Potter Museum of Art. He has been the recipient of several major awards, and is held in private and major public collections across the country, including the National Gallery of Australia and the Powerhouse Museum.

    Please join us in celebrating the launch of these two incredible exhibitions!

    Hugo Michell Gallery acknowledges the Kaurna people as the traditional custodians of the Adelaide region, and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.

    Image: Ildiko Kovacs, Falling in, 2019, oil on ply, 160 x 160 cm

    Image: Gerry Wedd, Kitchen Man (after The Reels), 2019, glazed ceramic, cobalt underglaze, slip, 35 x 21 cm

  • Julia Robinson Joins Hugo Michell Gallery as a Represented Artist

    Hugo Michell Gallery welcomes the addition of Julia Robinson to our represented artists!

    Julia Robinson is a South Australian visual artist whose work reflects an interest in religion, the afterlife, death, and how humans address these concerns through ritual. Drawing on established belief systems and a multitude of sources including myths, fairy tales, and European superstition and folklore, Robinson examines our discomfort with sex and with the finality of death. Blurring the boundaries that separate the man-made, the natural, and the spiritualistic, Robinson’s impish sculptures and installations surprise and intrigue. Recent works draw on depictions of harvest, fertility, and resurrection rituals in folk horror films, such as The Wicker Man (1973) and Wake Wood (2011).

    Julia has exhibited widely across Australia, and has been the recipient of a number of grants and awards. Upcoming exhibitions include The National 2019: New Australian Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Recent exhibitions include: Open House, a touring exhibition and the Tamworth Textile Triennial; Versus Rodin: Bodies across space and time at the Art Gallery of South Australia; Long Ballads at Ideas Platform Artspace; Sensual Nature at the Fremantle Arts Centre; Structure for navigating an unknown afterlife at Art Pod; and Psychache at Holy Rollers Studio. Julia is currently lecturing at Adelaide Central School of Art. Her work is held in the collections of the Art Gallery of South Australia and Artbank, and in private collections across Australia.

    Image: Julia Robinson, Rutting Creature 2, 2015, flywire, fibreglass, fabric, thread, buttons, timber, chrome plated bells, ribbon, plaster, and foam padding, 190 x 150 x 110 cm approx. Installation view at CACSA in One to Rot and One to Grow, 2015.

  • Hugo Michell Gallery Open: Justine Varga | Kate Just

    Hugo Michell Gallery invites you to the opening of Justine Varga’s ‘Areola’ and Kate Just’s ‘From China with Love’.

    Justine Varga’s artistic practice demonstrates a sustained interrogation of what we assume photographs to be, and what we expect them to do. Utilising physical manipulations of the material surfaces she works with, Varga touches, smears and inverts negatives, she layers and overlaps exposures, she retains the visual residue of their processes of becoming.

    Etymologically speaking, the word areola has its roots in Latin, originally referring to a small, open space. Areola also refers to those ‘small spaces between lines or cracks on a leaf or an insect’s wing’.

    Made without a camera to act as intermediary, these images are manifestations of physical contact, visual traces of skin on skin. As she presses the pigment-smeared flesh of her hand onto the negative’s surface, Varga repudiates the lens’s definitive frame. Exploiting the tension between negative and positive, Varga’s tactile manipulations of her materials make evident the physicality of her process…Stripping the mechanistic reproductive power of the camera from the process of making a photographic object, Varga posits instead a method of bodily creation. The spatial and conceptual distance between maker and object is collapsed. Particles of skin and saliva mark the photographic skin, the body of the artist pervading the body of work. Stretching the picture’s frame beyond its conventional limits, these works complicate the certitude of the border which they both occupy and expand.
    —Kirsty Baker

    Kate Just is an established artist who works with sculpture, installation, neon, textiles, and photography to produce artworks that promote feminist representations of the body and experience. Just is well-known for using textile crafts including knitting as both narrative devices and unwitting political tools. In addition to her highly-crafted solo artworks, Just often works socially and collaboratively within communities to tackle significant social issues including sexual harassment and violence against women.

    ‘From China With Love’ is a series of hand-sewn textile hangings and a photograph produced during a residency at Red Gate in Beijing in 2018. ‘From China With Love’ is inspired by images and ideas of love, relationships, and feminism in China.

    Please join us in celebrating these two incredible exhibitions and the launch of our 2019 exhibition program!

    Hugo Michell Gallery acknowledges the Kaurna people as the traditional custodians of the Adelaide region, and that their cultural and heritage beliefs are still as important to the living Kaurna people today.

    Image: Justine Varga, Lattice, 2017-18, c type photograph, 112 x 127 cm, edition of 5

    Image: Kate Just, Double Happiness (Queer Love), 2019, hand- and machine-stitched brocade fabric and timber, 187 x 145 cm, installation dimensions variable.

  • Happy Holidays

    Hugo Michell Gallery would like to thank you for your support throughout the year. Wishing you good health, prosperity and a fun-filled summer!

    Save the date: Thursday 7 February 2019

    Justine Varga | Areola
    Kate Just | From China with Love

    Gallery Closure dates:
    Closed: 12 December – Available by appointment until 21 December
    Open: 7 February – Available by appointment from 15 January

    Image: Trent Parke, Scream, 2008, from The Christmas Tree Bucket, pigment print, 72 x 90 or 32 x 40 cm, edition of 8

  • Hugo Michell Gallery Celebrates 10 years

    Established in 2008, Hugo Michell Gallery is celebrating its tenth year of operation in 2018. To celebrate this anniversary, Gallery Director Hugo Michell has invited represented artists to exhibit in the final exhibition of the year, DECADE. 

    Of the significant milestone, Hugo states:

    I am incredibly humbled to be celebrating the tenth year of Hugo Michell Gallery. In a tough climate we have been lucky to grow each year, building our client base and our relationships with artists. I feel extremely lucky to work with the group of artists we do, and am in awe of all of their achievements. I am so grateful for the support of our wonderful clients. We are so fortunate to have great relationships with the talented curators at state galleries and institutions throughout Australia. The team at Hugo Michell Gallery love what we do, are passionate about the Australian contemporary art scene, and look to the future with enthusiasm.

    Featuring works by Narelle Autio, David Booth [Ghostpatrol], Sally Bourke, Nadine Christensen, James Dodd, Tony Garifalakis, Lucas Grogan, Ildiko Kovacs, Janet Laurence, Richard Lewer, William Mackinnon, Fiona McMonagle, Nana Ohnesorge, Trent Parke, Elvis Richardson, Lisa Roet, Paul Sloan, Tim Sterling, Justine Varga, Sera Waters, Amy Joy Watson, and Paul Yore.

    Please join us in attending DECADE which will open to the public from Tuesday November 20 til December 12.

    Press Coverage
    The Adelaide Review
    ABC Adelaide
    Art Guide

  • Janet Laurence Survey Exhibition Announced at MCA

    The Museum of Contemporary Art has announced their 2019 program which includes the first major survey of esteemed artist Janet Laurence title After Nature. Presenting work from Laurence’s expansive career, the exhibition will feature a range of work from sculpture, installation, photography and video.

    For over 30 years, Laurence has explored the interconnection of all living things – animal, plant, mineral – through a multi-disciplinary approach. She has employed diverse materials to explore the natural world in all its beauty and complexity, and to highlight the environmental challenges it faces today: the era of the Anthropocene.

    Janet Laurence: After Nature includes key works from the artist’s career, with loans from public institutions around Australia and the MCA Collection work Cellular Gardens (where breathing begins) (2005). They encompass her alchemical works of the early 1990s that use metal plates, minerals, organic substances and lightboxes, through to her installations of the 2000s and beyond, incorporating plant and animal specimens within transparent vitrines and ‘wunderkammer’ environments. Laurence’s works reflect on the fragility of the natural world, its plight and potential restoration.

    Central to the exhibition is a major new MCA commission, entitled Theatre of Trees, which brings together the last decade of Laurence’s research into plants, their medicinal and healing powers, and trees.

    This exhibition has evolved from two decades of collaboration between Janet Laurence and MCA Chief Curator Rachel Kent, who curated Laurence’s exhibition Muses at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, the University of Melbourne in 2000.

    Janet Laurence 
    After Nature
    1 March – 10 June 2019

    MCA: Gallery Level 1

    Press Coverage:
    UNSW Newsroom
    Sydney Morning Herald

  • Hugo Michell Gallery Open: William Mackinnon | Min Wong

    Hugo Michell Gallery invites you to the opening of William Mackinnon’s ‘The Lucky Country?’ and Min Wong’s ‘Born to give not to get’.

    Spending two years between 2008 and 2010 in the Kimberley and Central Australia, William Mackinnon states that the timing of this experience helped him to ‘find his own voice as an artist’.

    Having previously spent over a decade within an educational and institutional setting, studying at the University of Melbourne (2000), Chelsea School of Art and Design (2006) and completing his Masters at the Victorian College of the Arts (2008). It was the Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship (2008), which afforded him the opportunity to spend time away from formal education.

    Mackinnon began the two-year Marten Bequest Travelling Scholarship, by spending twelve months in the Kimberley region of Western Australia firstly as artist in residence at Mangkaja Arts, Fitzroy Crossing. In 2010 he moved to Central Australia working as a field officer for Papunya Tula Artists. Before this time, Mackinnon was working, learning, collecting, growing up, building an extensive language and refining his skill. Keen to explore and experience a wider Australia, Mackinnon began this self-directed time with senior Indigenous artists to further an understanding and appreciation of Country and culture.

    In his latest series ‘The Lucky Country?’ Mackinnon revisits this significant period of time after a number of years living abroad. An extended period of absence has allowed him an interval to reflect and reconnect with lessons lived with for a decade.

    Min Wong appropriates material culture from 1970’s to revisit this significant era of spiritual countercultures and the mash up of Eastern and Western mysticism. Writer Eric Davis describes this phenomena as the ‘modern esoteric’, a combination of anthropology and mystical pulp, between cultural criticism and extraordinary experience. More recent tendencies of contemporary spirituality is the self-help and therapeutic culture spawned from the ideology of the ‘New Age’ and its dogma practice that spiritual enlightenment comes from the self rather than the radical collective. By looking back to investigate utopian elements of previous eras, Min’s practice seeks to explore ways of understanding the contemporary esoteric and examine the illusory hopes, desire, failure and authentic search for meaning in the contemporary dystopic.

    ‘Born to give not to get’ examines the commodification of the spiritual self through high performing branding and prescriptive spiritual accessories such as yoga, activewear and affirmative phrases. The installation sits inside an ‘interior’, referencing gym equipment and athletic apparatus’ appropriating tropes of the self care industry. In its genuine state, self-care can be a defiant act for social justice, a holistic approach that includes emotional, mental and spiritual fulfillment that also supports the utopian collective. This exhibition examines this contemporary dilemma.

    Please join us on Thursday the 18th in celebrating these two incredible exhibitions!

    See the Facebook event here.

    Image: William Mackinnon, The Lucky Country?, 2018, acrylic, oil and enamel on linen, 201 x 300 cm

    Image: Min Wong, Dont lose the grip, 2018, digital print on mirror stainless steel, 100 x 100 cm

  • Tony Garifalakis in ‘The National 2019: New Australian Art’

    The National 2019: New Australian Art will be launching the second of three ambitions survey exhibitions across multiple sites on March 29, 2019. The 2019 exhibition is curated by each venue comprising of AGNSW Curator of Photographs, Isobel Parker Philip; Carriageworks Senior Curator of Visual Arts, Daniel Mudie Cunningham; and MCA Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collections and Exhibitions, Clothilde Bullen alongside MCA Curator, Anna Davis.

    As in its first year, the exhibition showcases new and commissioned work by contemporary Australian artists encompassing a diverse range of media including painting, video, photography, sculpture, installation, drawing and performance. The National 2019 will continue the project’s curatorial ambitions as a large-scale survey of contemporary Australian art in the form of three distinct exhibitions that explore overlapping themes including hierarchy and power, dystopic futures, and ritual and improvisation.

    Tony Garifalakis will exhibit at the Art Gallery of New South Wales alongside 23 other artists in an presentation that Isobel Parker Philip describes to “reveal how Australian artists are responding with subtlety and intensity to the times they live in, through artworks that are intricate, complex and often charged with a sense of precariousness.”

    Art Gallery of New South Wales: 29 March – 21 July 2019
    Carriageworks: 29 March – 23 June 2019
    Museum of Contemporary Art Australia: 29 March – 23 June 2019

    For full details about The National visit here.

    Image: Tony Garifalakis, Untitled #1, 2014, from Mob Rule (Family), enamel on type C print, 60 x 40 cm, unique ed. of 2