In 1987 James Rowell graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the VCA, but got sick of being told that the piece of paper represented only a bachelor of apathy. He responded by beginning a series of works about science, which have only been brought to completion in the last couple of years.
Included in Sciency Paintings are a variety of works featuring electrical circuits, equipment used in empirical chemistry, biological displays and iron load stones that are used for investigating the properties of electricity. The strongest attribute of the pictures, aesthetically speaking, is the use of strong vibrant colours that have been achieved through the very careful and regulated use of tone, where tone is colour and colour is tone. Once again, Rowell has broken down the images into dots to give all the works something in common that is universal.
Image: James Rowell Pyrex Beaker 2018, acrylic on canvas
Incidental Damage is a collection of recent intaglio prints by 2018 CCAS Resident, Joshua Sleeman-Taylor.
Incidental Damage explores the tensions created when experimenting with unpredictable printmaking techniques, purposefully diminishing his own control of the outcome and surrendering agency to the process. In the process, an aluminium plate is pinned to a wooden board and on its surface a design is drawn with permanent marker. The marker easily glides across the surface of the plate leaving thick lines of ink, which scratches off easily. Small imperfections in its coverage allow acid to bite the metal beneath, and selected lines are engraved with a dry-point tool, a physically demanding medium. When printed these lines agglutinate together, breaking and swelling unpredictably.
Sleeman-Taylor uses images sourced online and live poses as inspiration to create amorphous amalgamations of the human form. The figures do not represent any one individual, rather, they are the basis for works that generate an intense sense of empathy and vulnerability. These figures are cumbersome, exposed and vulnerable. Unwieldy forms that deny the privilege of comfort and evoke a reflexive sense of sympathy. Each figure is characterised by damage sustained when transferred to and from the metal plate.
Image: Joshua Sleeman-Taylor F4 'Temorary' 2019
920.01.SHA is a lifelong, non-figurative self-portrait using index cards and the Dewey Decimal Classification System, by ACT artist Shags. This work distills the artist’s life into a book title for each year, which allude to bigger stories and touch on the idea that no-one ever fully knows another person, we all just fill in the gaps.
1. Biography, genealogy, insignia: Philosophy and theory
Made possible by the generous Canberra Contemporary Art Space Emerging Artists' Residency Award from the 2017 ANU School of Art & Design Emerging Artist Support Scheme
Image: Shags Self portrait (1970 - ____) (detail 20/50 so far) 2018 – , inkjet print on index cards, dimensions variable