Facilitated by nationally and internationally renowned curator, writer, artist and Creative Director of Not Yet It’s Difficult, David Pledger, Strange Attractor: make-think- speak is a two week choreographic development platform for choreographic and interdisciplinary artists.
Gorman Arts Centre becomes a hotbed of creative ideas and energy with eight local and interstate artists engaging in artistic research, critical dialogue, exchange and collaboration. Artists will be challenged to reinvent and/or refine their creative methodology, develop a language when speaking about their practice and define what it is they are making and saying through their art.
The Strange Attractor artists are: Liz Lea and Alison Plevey (ACT), Shona Erskine (WA), Loren Kronemyer, Daisy Saunders (WA), Matthew Shilcock (SA), Alice Dixon (VIC) and William McBride (VIC).
Strange Attractor: make – think – speak is supported by Arts ACT, Ainslie and Gorman Arts Centres, QL2 Dance and Canberra Contemporary Art Space.
Image courtesy of Lorna Sim
Obnoxious Ladies in the Australian Landscape brings together work by Emma Beer, Jacqueline Bradley, Anna Davern, Lucy Forsberg, Alex Pye and Camille Serisier, a group of women with new perspectives on the landscape and their position in it.
Australian art history frequently references male depictions of harsh and unforgiving lands to be conquered or celebrated as a great untouchable beauty often leaving out women’s experience altogether. This exhibition takes a new approach through cities, suburbs and sad country towns through the eyes of women who make work that is both unapologetic and humorous, disrupting the usual story of landscape.
Image: Camille Serisier, Ken Done It!, photo print; 165 x 120 cm; photography by Brenton McGeachie
The “Great Australian Dream” is a national reverie from which we have not entirely awoken. At its most vivid in 1950s and 1960s it flourished in a time of full employment, burgeoning wealth and the sub-urbanisation of Australian cities. Central to the nation’s aspiration was the idea that success and security could be measured through the ownership of a quarter acre block and detached house with garden, barbecue, hills hoist and later, from the 1970s, a swimming pool. Artists, writers and film-makers, however, were suspicious, and the dream was ridiculed and parodied in paintings of John Brack, Nino Culotta’s They’re a Weird Mob (1957) and Robyn Boyd’s critique of Australian architecture, The Australian Ugliness (1960). Howard Arkley (1951-1999), perhaps the most enthusiastic creator of suburban iconography, occupied a period between “the dream” and its imminent demise. If Arkley’s work was at all critical, his critique was tempered by ambivalence; occasional disdain but mostly nostalgia and romance.Thoroughly Modern brings together a new generation of artists after Howard Arkley, who with Modernist art, design and architecture as their tools, revisit and reinterpret the utopian dreams of post-war Australia.
Artists:Janet Angus, Grant Hill, Alex Lewis, Matthew de Moiser, Stephanie Wilson, Danny Wild
Image: Stephanie Wilson, Palm Down, oil on canvas, 107 x 122cm; photo courtesy of the artist; photography by Brenton McGeachie
Stephanie Wilson is represented by Martin Browne Contemporary, Sydney
Matthew de Moiser Home Sweet Home courtesy of the artist and Noella Lopez Gallery
A real sum is a sum of people
Blaze is the CCAS annual group show dedicated to emerging artists in the ACT; for 2016 it includes the work of 8 artists: Joel Arthur, Reid Bedlington, Christopher Burton, Hayley Lander, Dierdre Pearce, Millan Pintos-Lopez, Kael Stasce and Julia Thwaites. For its 10th anniversary edition Blaze has a subtitle, A real sum is a sum of people, which broadly refers to the concept of community and its different readings. On one hand, it indicates a possible way to interpret the rich, vibrant artistic scene of the ACT; on the other, it encourages the artists to engage with a wide idea, and to go beyond their usual practices and conceptual challenges. Photography by Brenton McGeachie
Woomera-born Yhonnie Scarce, a descendant of the Kokatha people from the Lake Eyre region and the Nukunu from around Port Lincoln, majored in glass making at the South Australian School of Art. She uses the medium of glass to explore the treatment of Aboriginal Australians in both historic and contemporary contexts.
Aesthetically beautiful, politically motivated and personally driven, Yhonnie Scarce’s delicately crafted glass work explores the continuing effects of colonisation on Australia’s First People. With its laboratory setting, her work Weak In Colour But Strong In Blood (2013–14), references the medico-scientific eugenic practices of the early 1900s, particularly those performed by the Australian anthropologist and ethnologist Norman Tindale, including on Scarce’s own family members.
Symbolic of Aboriginal people, different fruit skins are squashed into beakers, and the younger, lighter-coloured ones are segregated and separated into other trays ready to be sent to nice new white homes. Then there are the broken black bush plums, disfigured and discarded. Scarce reminds us of the harrowing ordeals that occurred in rooms like these all those years ago. This type of inhumane research resulted in dangerous forms of stereotyping that continue to shape attitudes around Aboriginally.
Scarce’s heritage stems from the Nukunu people, whose land stretches from Port Pirie to Port Lincoln along the coastal region of South Australia; and the Kokatha Mula, who called the expanse of the pristine Mallee country from outback Ceduna to the Eyre Peninsula home. Her heritage is deeply imbued in her work, and she often creates a dialogue about her own family and their personal histories. Courageously, she expresses the social and political patterns found in historical and contemporary Australian culture, while pointing out the breakdown of Indigenous social structures. By presenting such strong messages of survival and culture, Scarce boldly exposes histories lost, forgotten, hidden or ignored.
Image: Weak in Colour but Strong in Blood (installation detail), 2015, Blown glass and found components, dimensions variable; photograph by Brenton McGeachie.
Yhonnie Scarce is represented by This Is No Fantasy + Dianne Tanzer Gallery.
Collage is not only a highly developed art form it is also an established past time, as in the art of decoupage. In Out of the Corner of Your Eye, Jane Barney takes her practice to a new level, animating and presenting her assemblages in cheap digital frames. These works presented in the black box of CCAS CUBEspace situate the domestic loading of digital frames amongst the hi-tech motivations of conceptual video art. But they do not quite make it ... there is a naïve charm to these moving juxtapositions and, while Barney is never decorating or illustrating, the hand of home-made decisively occupies her work. Cutting and pasting with scissors and cursor, however digital the end product, it never loses sight of its hand-made origins.
Image: A spin-off, 2015, video still
Lonnie Hutchinson is a Aotearoa / New Zealand artist of Māori (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Kuri ki Ngāi Tahu) Samoan and European descent.
Hutchinson works in a range of artistic media, including film, performance, painting, sculpture and installation art. She frequently draws upon feminism, historical narratives and her Māori and Pacific Island heritage to inform her work. Hutchinson said of her work
"Intrinsic to each series within my art practice, I honour tribal whakapapa or genealogy. In doing so, I move more freely between the genealogy of past, present and future to produce works that are linked to memories of recent and ancient past, that are tangible and intangible...I make works that talk about those spaces in-between, those spiritual spaces."
Image: She could taste salt on her lips, 2015, installation image
Not necessarily a coherent or even factual portrait, the agglomeration gladly swells our preconceptions of the personae of the artist as self aware rather than self obsessed. crowEST instinctively heads towards discomfort or absurdity, recognising it as a generative tool for inspiration. She sets up ideas as armature that allows for the work to come into being raw, rather than emulating contemporary forms of slickness. It is all puttied together really, as one big agglomeration. This shonky, mock-modernist apparatus, however propositional, has at its core a strength that comes from the uncompromising intent of the artist herself, a truly driven need to make and a refusal to accept the limitations of a certain kind of self, artistic or otherwise.
Image: sarah crowEST, installation view, 2007.
Looking at the Harris Hobbs collection for the first time in its "natural home environment", one is overwhelmed by a sense of obsession and excess. To say that every square inch of space in their home is dominated by art is a modest exaggeration and works of every shape, size, colour and medium occupy bedrooms, bathrooms, lounge, dining room and kitchen. Unlike many collectors, investment and décor are not the primary concerns for Harris and Hobbs. Although there are many works with ample potential for fine interior decoration and would cause the average investor to salivate, Harris and Hobbs use their collection differently. They collect because they love art and, having visited their home, it becomes clear that art enhances their lifestyle by providing a harmonious blend of comfort, beauty and stimulation. As we look at elements of their collection in the gallery, it is important to remember that the atmosphere of the home cannot be reproduced. Toni Bailey and David Broker have selected a number of works that represent some of the more adventurous moments in the collection. These are the works that artists sell to private collectors and as a result tend to disappear into the ether. In the original context of the collection however, each piece is part of an architectural environment that Harris and Hobbs have created with a highly refined sense of design, space and light that might serve as a metaphor for the role that art and culture play in society at large. That is, when it is appreciated and supported.
Image: installation detail.
"The opening moments of Emma White’s video Instructions for a still life (snowclone) 2007 are accompanied by the subtitle ‘Think about real things’. As the video proceeds, the hand held camera pans across a table of objects: a packet of round stickers is positioned in front of a mug; this mug, with the letter ‘E’ emblazoned upon it, sits to the left of a post-it-note that is peeling off the table. It is a jumble of bits and pieces. Yet, as the camera slowly pans, your eyes begin to consider the subtitle’s suggestion. ‘Pay attention, look harder’ – instructs the subtitle and the sense that the real and the illusory are intermingled amongst the table’s objects soon develops. A pencil reveals itself to be as flat as a pancake. The texture and imperfection of the mug presented in the video is not as one might remember from their own mug that holds their morning coffee. In fact, Instructions for a still life (snowclone) presents a complex still life of mass-produced objects coupled with obsessively labour-intensive replicas. White’s finely sculpted fimo replicas encourage the eyes to follow a trail of imitation and reproduction, as White creates her own version of everyday objects. White’s sculptural replicas reward the viewer who takes a moment to look more closely. Beyond this though, Instructions for a still life (snowclone) actively describes and teases out the dynamics of looking. The playful subtitles become an active voice, articulating the way that our eyes carve out a sense of the things around us. Indeed there are small clues littered throughout the still life objects that hint at the need for keen observation; from the note on one postit-note that reads ‘take time’, to the note pad filled with doodles of reading glasses. All these elements encourage a simple action: to look and look again."
Words by Liang Luscombe and Patrice Sharkey from Liang Luscombe's website.
Image: Emma White, Instructions for a still life (snowclone) DVD still, 2007.