Matthew Day Perez’s newest installation asks the viewer to consider where glass comes from. Does it inexplicably spring to life? Grow from a river of molten material? How is it made? Exploiting craft and a general unknowingness, Grow employs traditional glass making techniques and mixed mediums to mediate the relationship between utilitarian glass objects utilized everyday, and the process employed to make them.
Grow consists of two components. In one corner of the installation a video projection depicts a molten landscape, a garden of glowing material. At various moments within the video loop, glass vessels and vases inexplicably grow, just as a flower blooms, or a blade of grass thrusts upward through a mound of dirt; pitchers, cups, mugs, and wine glasses mature and are plucked from a glowing plot of soil. Opposite the video, situated in the center of the room, a glowing chamber houses a crucible of molten glass. The electric kiln is outfitted with a clear quartz lid allowing the viewer to witness the elements flicker on and off supplying the energy necessary to maintain a liquid consistency. This unit is a green house, an incubator, a nursery of sorts from which the molten material is transformed into useful and pragmatic objects depicted within the video.
The coalescing of these two components propose a suspicious and slightly misleading scenario where glass is not manufactured in the most conventional sense but is generated or “grown.” It begs the viewer to slow down and ponder where things, products, and in this instance glass, comes from.
Artists: Brenda L. Croft, Lyndy Delian, Tjanara Jali Talbot, Jonathan Jones, Gary Lee, Jenni Kemarre Martinello, Rachel Perkins, Kerry Reed Gilbert and James Tylor
First Light is an exhibition of work by Indigenous Australian artists conceived as part of a special program for the Canberra Centenary. First Light focuses on artistic practices guided by light, from natural light to the many kinds of artificial light or effects available to contemporary artists. These artworks shed light on the past century in the national capital from an Indigenous perspective. In acknowledging Indigenous sovereignty and the ongoing effects of colonialism, the show examines relationships of light and shadow, of day and night, of black and white, of colonized and colonizers. The works highlight a continuing relationship with light and the ways cultures and traditions have adapted to changing notions of light. First Light also reflects the influence of the city in shaping the artists and their works and the artist’s contribution to shaping understandings of the city and region. From a diversity of Australian Indigenous nations, the artists hold a connection to the ACT through their artistic and cultural practices.
Jonathan Jones, Unititled (sticks) 2008-2013, fluorescent tubes and fittings, tarpaulin, electric cables, dimensions variable, installation view, photo Brenton McGeachie
The CCAS Members Show provides all members with the opportunity to show their work at Gorman Art Centre. Each show has a theme to which members can respond and there are prizes for the best interpretations. CCAS invites a local arts figure to judge the entries each year and for 2013 it is Terence Maloon and the theme is Canberra. The title is a quotation from Prime Minister Robert Menzies described Monaro Mall as '…wonderful, immoral, tempting and terribly satisfactory’ in his speech at the opening on 6 March 1963. An estimated 15,000 Canberrans flocked to the mall on the first day alone and it became an integral part of the nation’s capital as the city grew rapidly throughout the 1960s.
Erik Krebs-Schade won first prize for 2013 while Jodie Cunningham was runner up.
Science Fiction provides an overarching framework for Monster and Kynic, two exhibitions that explore notions of scientific reality and its mutations within popular consciousness and media. Science Fiction brings together Erica Seccombe and Benjamin Forster, two artists who employ bona fide scientific methodologies for work that examines the tensions between science and its suspect appearances in popular culture. Both to some extent work in the “god” zone, albeit with tongues in cheek, using science to suggest the construction of creatures that exist outside the “natural world” and thus have the potential to wreak havoc upon humanity. They draw upon the familiar, common garden organisms and the family pet to produce alien objects and ideas. Their works critique and even mock the idea of artists being scientists and vice versa; blending empirical method with fantastic imagination their work reflects a divergent yet electrifying relationship between science and art.
Taking the common garden slater Porcellio scaber as her point of departure Erica Seccombe, in collaboration with Professor Tim Senden and Dr Ajay Limaye (ANU Department of Applied Mathematics and Vizlab), applied the notion of relativity to suggest that under magnification of the most extreme kind, this benign little creature takes on alien proportions. Using the latest technologies available to science, the ANU Department of Applied Mathematics has developed 3D Microcomputed X-ray Tomography (XCT) that enables scientists to see the material structure of an object as a virtual model. Seccombe has used the resulting volumetric data and digital visualisation processes to produce an exhibition of printed three-dimensional creatures and parts thereof, that are able to inspire fear and awe in an “alien” inspired nursery. Blurring the borders of film and scientific data the exhibition also includes a 3-D cinematic screening of the amplified isopod so that it appears significantly larger than life.
Adapted from catalogue essay by David BrokerErica Seccombe Monster (Sattva), 2013, 3D data projection, installation view
Artists: Julia Boyd, Jacqueline Bradley, Chris Carmody, Karena Keys, Trish Roan, Adam Veikkanen and Fiona Veikkanen
Backburning is an exhibition about how we perceive materials and the world around us. The seven artists included, who have all had work in CCAS’ Blaze exhibitions during the past seven years, share an appreciation for seemingly mundane materials and objects, and make them come alive in the context of the systems, spaces, and infinite universe in which they operate.
Originally intended to showcase CCAS Studio Residents’ work, Blaze has expanded to become an ACT emerging artist showcase. Over 45 fantastic artists have featured in Blaze exhibitions. Most are still practicing artists, and many are still based in Canberra as of this, our centenary year. This retrospective of the Blaze exhibitions focuses on the strongest thread running through them, spun by the artists who use everyday materials to create astonishing and enlightening work. For these artists everyday experiences and taken-for-granted objects provide ample impetus for creating art. In their work the mundane reveals the infinite and the ordinary becomes extraordinary.
Excerpts from the catalogue essay by Annika Harding.
Image: Universal Breakfast, 2013, wood, bronze, steel, silverware, ceramic, card, plastic and paper; 130cm x 130 cm x 70cm; photo Brenton McGeachie
Artists: Timothy Dwyer, Nicci Haynes, Gregory Hodge, Rosalind Lemoh, Brendan Murphy, Patsy Payne, Clare Thackway, Frank Thirion, Daniel Vukovljak, Jonathan Webster and Jo Wu
As Canberra’s first 100 years draws to a close several of the centenary curators - Alexander Boynes, David Broker, Anni Doyle Wawrzynczack, Janice Falsone and Annika Harding - continue to live in Canberra where they are able to consider its future from within. All five are thoroughly immersed in Canberra’s visual arts community and equally reluctant to say what the future might hold. Through CCAS and the Studio Residency Program, Australian National Capital Artists Studios and Gallery, arts writing and criticism they contribute as artists, administrators, commentators, advocates and supporters. As a curatorium, they bring comprehensive first-hand knowledge to the final exhibition of 2013 and each has selected two artists who delineate something of the future. Coincidentally, a number of the works selected for Future Proof have a futuristic feel in the sense of being appropriately apocalyptic, but more importantly, they represent artists whose practices have become inextricably integrated with their daily lives. As with the curators, the boundaries between art and life appear to have dissolved and in this way the future is not only set, but also assured.
Nicci Haynes, Body Language, 2013, posters and projection, dimensions variable; photo Brenton McGeachie
Artists: Alison Alder, Alex Asch, Robert Boynes, Ham Darroch, Julian Laffan, Raquel Ormella, John Reid, Toni Robertson and Bernie Slater.
Politics is the sole reason for Canberra’s existence. Canberra was never the first choice for Australia’s capital but a political compromise between the power brokers in Sydney and Melbourne. In this arena Walter Burley Griffin Gave us a city planned with political power at its heart. Capitalizing on the strength of symmetry, the city was created with circles, hexagons and a self-reinforcing power structure, the triangle. Australia’s political heart aligns with the region’s topographical landmarks, and avenues radiate outwards, connecting Canberra to the rest of the world.
The design could be mistaken as a socialist dream made into reality, with public housing in every suburb, encouraging equality, and incorporating the landscape as the playground for city dwellers. Mt. Pleasant is one of the best vantage points to appreciate how truly political the landscape of Canberra is. From this vantage point one can see the obvious formation of the political triangle dissecting Lake Burley Griffin and within it, gifts and monuments: the Captain James Cook Memorial Fountain, The National Carillion (a French instrument), the Australian-American War Memorial and in the distance, the Russian inspired Telstra Tower.
The artists featured in The Triangle are local residents, or have called Canberra home in the last 40 years, and stand in witness to the contemporary political art scene.
Excerpt from catalogue essay by Alexander Boynes
John Reid, Untitled (Collage of Australian banknotes), 1982 - ongoing, Australian banknotes, glue, museum board, cedar moulding, 300cm x 500cm; photo Brenton McGeachie
CCAS is partnering with ANCA (Australian National Capital Artists) for Blaze#7 the annual exhibition of emerging ACT artists. Blaze is one of the years’ most popular shows with some amazing new talent involved. Curators Jan Falsone (ANCA) and David Broker (CCAS) are working with Hannah Bath, Julia Boyd, Elly Freer, Holly Granville-Edge, Ruby Green, Patrick Larmour, Trish Roan, Roman Stachurski and Steph Wilson to produce and exhibition that pushes traditional media in ways that are more often than not amusing. This is a group who take commonplace, sometimes kitsch, objects to be used ironically as materials for works in ways that will surprise audiences.
Steph Wilson, The Hyperdome, 2012, oil on canvas and mixed media, dimensions variable; photo Brenton McGeachie
Artists: Roger Benjamin, Tony Clark, Daniel Flood, Claire Freer, Clint Hurrell, Antony Moulis, Jonathan Nicols and Bruce Reynolds
Imprint - Growing Up Planned presents new works by a group of eight artists, architects and academics who have all shared the experience of being born or spending a period of their early childhood in Canberra during a very significant time of the city’s development. Then, like many of their generation, all of the participants in this exhibition, left a city that was still in many ways a small town and made their adult lives elsewhere, although all have maintained contact with the city through friends and family. The occasion of Canberra 100 has offered the opportunity to address the city, many for the first time in their professional practice. Here they interrogate how their unconditioned experiences during the city’s most confident period of development continue to impact on their current practice. Their works offer insights into, and in some cases a critique of, the contemporary city and its place within national cultural identity.
Adapted from catalogue essay by Virginia Rigney
Anthony Moulis (L-R) House for the Hermit, House of Athena, House of the Oracle, 2013, digital prints and cardboard model, dimensions variable, installation view; photo Brenton McGeachie
Artists: Alison Alder, Vivienne Binns, Jacqueline Bradley, Mariana del Castillo, Fiona Davies, Cherylynn Holmes, Stephanie Jones, Mandy Martin, Brenda Runnegar, Erica Seccombe, Jane Barney, Rachel Bowak, Julie Bradley, Julia Church, Anna Eggert, Catriona Holyoake, Deborah Kelly, Ex de Medici, Bronwen Sandland and Ruth Waller.
Beginning in 1981, successive waves of women artists associated with the Canberra Contemporary Art Space have expressed the changing nature of feminist concerns. Bad Girls brings this thirty-year journey to today’s audience via historic and contemporary artworks from artists who continue to create at the forefront of rapidly changing social and political dynamics. Bad Girls are everywhere. They’re our grandmothers, mothers, sisters, daughters and aunts; they’re single, straight, gay and married; for all or some of their life they’ve been artists; they’ve painted, printed, postered, sculpted and photographed subjects that reflect their own secret desires, burning issues and universal feminist concerns with energy, insight, humour, pathos, hope and righteous anger. Bad Girls are our heroines. In this exhibition we celebrate their journey in art and, through their journey, the changing face of feminist concerns over three decades.
Excerpt from catalogue essay by Anni Doyle Wawrzynczak; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.