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  • Trent Parke and Justine Varga in ‘Defining Place/Space: Contemporary Photography from Australia’ at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego

    Trent Parke and Justine Varga are now showing in Defining Place/Space: Contemporary Photography from Australia at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego.

    ‘Defining Place/Space’ represents the current state of contemporary photography in Australia through the work of thirteen artists. The exhibiting artists were nominated by esteemed Australian curators of photography, and ultimately selected by MOPA’s Chief Curator Deborah Klochko.

    Exhibition runs until September 22.

    Image: Justine Varga in Defining Place/Space: Contemporary Photography from Australia at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, 2019.

    Image: Trent Parke in Defining Place/Space: Contemporary Photography from Australia at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego, 2019.

  • Tony Garifalakis in ‘The National’ at the Art Gallery of New South Wales

    Tony Garifalakis is now showing in The National 2019: New Australian Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

    The National is a celebration of contemporary Australian art. The second of three biennial survey exhibitions, it showcases work being made across the country by artists of different generations and cultural backgrounds. Through ambitious new and commissioned projects, the 70 artists featured across three venues respond to the times in which they live, presenting observations that are provocative, political, and poetic. The National is a partnership between the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. This year, it has been curated by Isobel Parker Philip (AGNSW), Daniel Mudie Cunningham (Carriageworks), and Clothilde Bullen (MCA), and Anna Davis (MCA). Working in close dialogue, they have developed three distinct presentations of new Australian art that together highlight many of the ideas and concerns motivating artists in Australia today.

    Macushla Robinson has examined the new works in the exhibition:

    A series of abstract images, float-mounted on corkboard, hang on a timber veneer wall. You wouldn’t know it by looking at them, but they were born out of the pages of POMANTƩO (Romantso), a Greek romance magazine popular in the 1970s. We buy magazines for pleasure and consume them in idle time. We put them in stacks in the corners of our houses. They are not highly prized collectibles and neither are they entirely disposable. These particular magazines were written in the Greek language and read in Australia, and as such they represent both an unattainable fantasy and a comforting, familiar consumable. I imagine someone reading them in a living room panelled with timber veneer, thick carpet you can still smell, a boxy television, and an orange lampshade. The home, like the magazines, would be at once aspirational and comfortable.

    Read the full essay here.

    Exhibition runs until June 23.

    Image: Tony Garifalakis, Untitled, 2018-19, from Garage Romance, unique inkjet print on Ilford smooth cotton paper, corkboard, and hand-stained Tasmanian oak, 36.1 x 30.3 x 4 cm (framed).

  • Julia Robinson in ‘The National’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia

    Julia Robinson is now showing in The National 2019: New Australian Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia.

    The National is a celebration of contemporary Australian art. The second of three biennial survey exhibitions, it showcases work being made across the country by artists of different generations and cultural backgrounds. Through ambitious new and commissioned projects, the 70 artists featured across three venues respond to the times in which they live, presenting observations that are provocative, political, and poetic. The National is a partnership between the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Carriageworks, and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. This year, it has been curated by Isobel Parker Philip (AGNSW), Daniel Mudie Cunningham (Carriageworks), and Clothilde Bullen (MCA), and Anna Davis (MCA). Working in close dialogue, they have developed three distinct presentations of new Australian art that together highlight many of the ideas and concerns motivating artists in Australia today.

    Jenna McKenzie has examined the new works in the exhibition:

    Cold, dusty skin swells, ballooning outwards from the perfectly round aperture of a gourd. Tongue or tendril, shoot or sprig, a shock of blue-smocked fabric emanates from an amniotic abyss. Coiled and wrapped, clothed and dressed, silks the shade of a tender bruise adorn the fantastical forms of Julia Robinson’s new work. These otherworldly objects emerge from the suspended animation of their wall fittings. An exotic banquet of surfaces is offered to the viewer, ranging from perfectly smooth metals (polished brass, steel, and gold) and intricately smocked, slashed or jack-plated silks, to the raw, untreated surface of the gourds. Together, they mutate, hatch, split and pierce, invoking the transitional state of metamorphosis.
    Exploration of transformative states is an intrinsic part of the Adelaide-based artist’s practice. Robinson, who works in the fields of sculpture and installation, has an enduring fascination with sex and death. Drawing on a multitude of sources including myth, superstition, folklore, and calendric celebrations rooted in the changing of the seasons, her work reflects an interest in how humans address existence and mortality through ritual.

    For The National 2019 Robinson returns to this fertility motif – slicing, dressing, piercing, and gold-plating the gourd, traversing the dichotomies of interior and exterior. She describes this new body of work as “a dialogue with Hieronymus Bosch about ritual, growth and fecundity by way of his remarkable painting The Garden of Earthly Delights (c.1504).”
    For Robinson, Bosch’s garden is alive with the processes of fertilisation, germination, and ripening. In his hands, the Garden of Eden becomes a site for metamorphoses, redolent with the mutating, hatching, splitting of the plant world.

    Read the full essay here.

    Exhibition runs until June 23.

    Image: Julia Robinson in The National at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 2019. Photograph: Zan Wimberley.

  • Sera Waters ‘Going Round in Squares’ at Ararat Gallery TAMA

    Sera Waters’ Going Round in Squares is now showing at Ararat Gallery TAMA.

    The artworks of Going Round in Squares explore ideas around the grids and boundary lines which have governed life in Australia since colonisation. Roads, fence lines, walls, furniture, and even social boundaries reinforce ways of being I have come to call a ‘geometric discipline’. Textile practice especially, performed atop the gridded warp and weft of fabric, is a form of discipline that has historically shaped women’s lives, their education, and opportunities. As women have traditionally been the makers of homes, my artworks re-work textile traditions to explore the disciplining roles of neatness, order, pattern, binding, and containment, all ideas associated with the domestic.
    Each artwork of this exhibition carries a narrative grown from evidence left behind by my ancestors who settled (invaded) and made their many homes in South Australia and Victoria from 1838 onwards. They left behind their particular geometric legacies and altered regions irrevocably in the form of clearing land and the importation of non-native species. Undoubtedly their making of homes un-homed others.

    By re-working domestic materials and traditions, I mine them for knowledge and to break out of restrictive habits, and re-direct these traditions into new trajectories which recognise our ongoing colonising modes in order to shift them for future generations.

    Exhibition runs until June 30.

    Image: Sera Waters, Boundary Wreath, 2017, found woollen needleworks, wool, velveteen, beanfill, and hooks, 210 x 130 cm.

    Sera Waters Illusions of History

    Image: Sera Waters, A Stumped Embrace (Rare Pair), 2016, cotton, felt, string, raffia, stockings, negligees, wool, and crewel, 68 x 90 cm.

  • Paul Yore and Tony Garifalakis in ‘National Anthem’ at Buxton Contemporary

    National Anthem, featuring Tony Garifalakis and Paul Yore, and curated by Kate Just, is now showing at Buxton Contemporary.

    Presenting a cacophonous array of artistic voices and perspectives, National Anthem brings together 24 artists, from a range of generations, who critically address Australian national identity. Built around key works in the Michael Buxton Collection, together with works sourced from beyond the collection, this project reflects on the ways that the desire for a singular national identity often excludes Indigenous histories and denies the multiplicity of voices, cultures and experiences that enrich, contest, and enhance Australian life.
    Channelling humour and satire and engaging in tactics such as play, intervention and confrontation, the artists in National Anthem seek self-determination and collectively hold a mirror up to contemporary Australia, prompting new representations of who we are or who we might aspire to become.

    Exhibition runs until July 7.

    Image: Paul Yore, THIS MOMENT IS CRITICAL (detail), 2014, mixed media textile; found objects/material, beads, buttons, sequins, felt, wool, and cotton thread, 290 x 250 cm.

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

  • Paul Yore Selected for ‘Dark Mofo’ 2019

    Paul Yore has been selected to feature in this year’s Dark Mofo!
    Yore will take over the Black Temple Gallery, DarkLab’s deconsecrated church, with soft sculptural pop-art collages and needlepoint tapestry. Yore will transform the space into It’s All Wrong But It’s Alright, a technicolour chapel in which to worship Dolly Parton, Justin Bieber, and other icons of love, sex, and the excessive.
    Dark Mofo 2019 runs from June 6 to 23.
    The full program will be announced on Friday April 12.
    Presale tickets are available Monday April 15.
    General tickets go on sale Tuesday April 16.
    For tickets and more information visit Dark Mofo.

    Image: Paul Yore, Fuck the Pope, 2013, wool needlepoint with wooden frame and found objects, dimensions variable.

  • Janet Laurence ‘After Nature’ Survey Exhibition at MCA

    After Nature, the first major survey of Janet Laurence’s career, is now showing at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Presenting work from Laurence’s expansive career, the exhibition will features 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

    Key Links:
    Purchase Catalogue
    Read the Curatorial Essay by MCA Chief Curator Rachel Kent
    MCA behind-the-scenes short film

    Press Coverage:
    Talking with Trees event series listed in UNSW Newsroom
    Review in The Age
    Review in The Australian
    Review in Art Guide
    Review in Art Almanac
    Review in the Sydney Morning Herald

    Image: Janet Laurence’s ‘After Nature’ at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 2019. Photograph: Zan Wemberley.

  • 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

    ArtsHub

    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