The romantic stereotype of the impoverished, introverted artist, working solo in their garret rang strangely true in 2020 but this was no matter of choice … As COVID-19 exposed the developing cracks in every culture and society, preying upon the vulnerable, artists with their already fragile lifestyles suddenly found themselves in a particularly precarious position. Unlike other industries the arts and practitioners who have received little to zero support from Government, were literally, left to their own devices. With programs torn asunder by lockdowns, closures and plummeting incomes, art galleries have been required to rethink the way they program and the ways they are able to work with artists and audiences. International and interstate program have become almost impossible as travel restrictions and sudden border closures continue to plague a globalised cultural sector.
As we enter into 2021 by which time the crisis is far from over it is not even possible to consider an exhibition that has not somehow been impacted by the crisis. Homebound takes a somewhat positive view attempting to activate a zone of positivity in the long aftermath of a twilit twelve months. It is an exhibition of artists from or connected to the Canberra region who over the past year have produced work largely in isolation from arts infrastructure and support systems, such as galleries, museums and universities; dislocated from audiences or forced to communicate through digital media. Homebound takes a group of artists and asks what actually happened during this bizarre period in which many artists could do nothing except make art by whatever means available. Contemplating the “new normal” and what it means to the progress of culture we also consider the changing relationship between artist and gallery where, by necessity the focus moves to the local area in an attempt launch a recovery by bringing artists back into the fold and rebuilding fractured communities.
Homebound references two major thematics in the year that almost wasn’t, to be confined to home and to return home, to find shelter in a storm.
Artists: Joel Arthur, Emma Beer, Rory Gillen, Aidan Hartshorne, Rosalind Lemoh, Natalie Mather, Robbie Karmel. Curator: David Broker
Image: Joel Arthur, A Forest, oil and acrylic on polyester, 2020. 150 x 180cm. Credit: Brenton McGreachie
An unsolicited proposal originates from a private entity (either for profit or not-for-profit) that does not fit into existing procurement processes and is submitted without formally being requested by the government.*
Artists create unsolicited proposals throughout their practice; unbidden, they explore and present new ways of looking, and speculate about our past, present and future. These explorations revitalise mediums and materials, draw our attention to histories that have been overlooked, and speak to a new future in the grips of climate change.
The Unsolicited Proposals Unit is an exhibition that brings together works by seven artists from South Australia and the ACT, to be presented at Canberra Contemporary Art Space. Curated by Eleanor Scicchitano, the exhibition takes the work of the Unsolicited Proposals Team, who are part of the South Australian Government Treasury and Finance Department, using their guidelines as a framework through which to present and discuss the exhibition works. Artists: Roy Ananda (SA), Bernadette Klavins (SA), Margaret Richards (SA), Jacqueline Bradley (ACT), Raquel Ormella (ACT), James Tylor (SA and ACT) and Saskia Haalebos (ACT).
*Source: Guidelines for the assessment of Unsolicited Proposals, September 2018 https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/business-and-trade/doing-business-with-government/unsolicited-proposals
The Unsolicited Proposals Unit is generously supported by the South Australian Government through the Department of Premier and Cabinet.
Image: Margaret Richards Tjukula Tjuta (2020) acrylic on Belgian linen 241x198 cm Courtesy: the artist and APY Gallery, Adelaide
DESIGN CANBERRA FESTIVAL @ CCAS
HOME:MADE features a curated selection of new furniture, homewares and jewellery by some of the most exciting early-career designers and makers from across Australia.
HOME:MADE is a signature exhibition for DESIGN Canberra presented by Craft ACT: Craft + Design Centre. In 2020, we will present this showcase exhibition in association with the Australian Craft + Design Centre network.
René Linssen (Craft ACT) / Krystal Hurst (Craft ACT) / Hannah Gason (Craft ACT) / Chloe Coldsmith (Australian Design Centre) / Timothy Robertson (Australian Design Centre) / Zoe Grigoris (Guildhouse/Jam Factory) / Danielle Barrie (Guildhouse/Jam Factory) / Jordan Leeflang (Guildhouse/Jam Factory) / Calum Hurley (Guildhouse/Jam Factory) / Samantha Dennis (Design Tasmania) / Scott van Tuil (Design Tasmania) / Chi Yusuf (Sturt) / Kazu Quill (Sturt) / Jenna Lee (Craft Victoria) / Kristin Burgham (Craft Victoria) / Peta Berghofer (Artisan) / Minqi Gu (Artisan) / Eunice Napanangka Jack (Ikuntji Artists) / Mavis Marks (Ikuntji Artists) / Keturah Zimran (Ikuntji Artists)
Image: René Linssen Sola Coffee Table 2020, photo Brenton Colley
DESIGN CANBERRA FESTIVAL @ CCAS
Local photographer Davey Barber (5 Foot Photography) has set out to explore and photograph the very place that raised him, the Canberra suburbs of yesterday, today and tomorrow for his debut exhibition This is Suburbia.
Commissioned by Craft ACT for the 2020 DESIGN Canberra festival, this photo series documents the ridiculously photogenic city of Canberra. Most photographers use suburban streets to get to their destination: on this occasion the streets are the destination. Barber draws on his own 30 years of life experience in the suburbs.
The photographer’s intention is to document what unique characteristics make the suburbs instantly recognisable to residents and to people just passing through, from the type of dwellings, shops, laneways, parks and the residents themselves. To emphasise Canberra’s ‘Bush Capital’ title, the photographs also document the four very distinct seasons of our city.
DESIGN CANBERRA FESTIVAL @ CCAS
Artist James Tylor highlights the contemporary absence of Aboriginal culture within the Australian landscape and how this phenomenon is a direct result of the impact of European colonisation in From An Untouched Landscape.
As Tylor explains, the first European colonists forced the local Aboriginal people off their traditional lands and into small Christian missions and government reserves. This allowed the new European arrivals free access to clear the land for settlements, forestry and agriculture. This clearing of Aboriginal people from the landscape resulted in the removal of Indigenous cultural artifacts and identity from the Australian landscape.
Today the absence of Aboriginal culture within the Australian landscape is censored by this process of colonisation and has left much of the Australian landscape with the appearance that it was ‘Untouched’ before European arrival.
James Tylor is an Australian multi-disciplinary contemporary visual artist. He explores Australian cultural representations through the perspectives of his multicultural heritage that comprises Nunga (Kaurna), Māori (Te Arawa) and European (English, Scottish, Irish, Dutch and Norwegian) ancestry.
In 2011 he completed a bachelor of Visual Arts (Photography) at the South Australian School of Art in Adelaide and in 2012 he completed Honours in Fine Arts (Photography) at the Tasmanian School of Art in Hobart. He returned to Adelaide in 2013 and completed a Masters in Visual Arts and Design (Photography) at the South Australian School of Art.
Image: James Tylor Vanished From an Untouched Landscape 8 2018, Inkjet print on Hahnemuhle paper with hole removed to a black velvet void, 50x50cm
CCAS is very excited to present our first exhibition in our new home on Lake Burley Griffin! Hotly anticipated each year, CCAS presents the best of Canberra's emerging contemporary artists. Edgy, fresh and innovative BLAZE is an important stepping-stone for Canberra's emerging artists to create experimental and often irreverent work.
Past BLAZE artists have gone on to participate in prestigious exhibitions interstate and overseas including Primavera, The Sydney Biennale and The National Digital Portraiture Prize.
BLAZE FOURTEEN is curated by Alexander Boynes and Dan Toua, featuring Romany Fairall, Belle Palmer, Harijs Piekalns and Rachel Theodorakis.
BLAZE FOURTEEN is generously supported by The National Capital Authority.
The works in Objects of Empathy explore ideas of connections and disconnection to people, place and time through objects. Zouwer continues her focus on small, trivial, everyday objects that are a part of daily life. They are a mixture of functional and non-functional items; precious in terms of memories, they are keepsakes, souvenirs, some are whole and some just fragments. Zouwer’s painting and reinterpretation of objects in textiles, enhances their quality and raises their status so that they become worthy of sustained attention.
‘I reinterpret these trivial objects through painting and textiles as signifiers of belonging to more than one place. They simultaneously bridge the void between past and present, enchant us and elaborate on human behaviour. My work brings together seemingly incompatible objects from different times and places into a heterotopic space. Bringing objects together in this way changes the meaning of the individual object and envisages them anew. They become a hybrid object.’
Image: Naomi Zouwer Family 1 2019, oil on canvas, 110cm x 90cm
Gê Orthof is a distinguished Brazilian artist working with installation, performance, drawing, video and photography. Since 1993 he has been a Professor in the Graduate and Undergraduate programs in the Visual Arts Program at the Institute of Arts, University of Brasilia, where he directs a research group titled: Moradas do Íntimo (Home of Intimacy) dealing with the artist’s creative process from studio to the art spaces to public intervention.
He has previously been the: Visual Arts Coordinator at Latin American Culture House - Brasilia University; visiting artist at School of Visual Arts, Penn State University and post-doctoral artist at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Tufts University, Boston. He holds a Masters and a Doctorate in Education and a Masters in Visual Art from Columbia University, a BA in Design from Rio de Janeiro State University, and was a Fulbright Scholar at the School of Visual Arts, NYC.
There are two overriding themes in Gê’s work: emptiness and miniature. The monumental spaces and buildings of Brasilia that conceal their barrenness behind the facades of form, function and officialdom inspire his works. His miniatures, on the other hand, respond to brief encounters with art works inviting the public to look closer, to enter into the space of the work, to be curious.
Gê will be at CCAS until 30 November 2019.
OPENING 6pm, FRIDAY 16th AUGUST - ALL WELCOME
Someone once said that, “Love is a many splendored thing”. Tainted Love brings together six artists who beg to differ. It’s not that they are necessarily cynical or even anti the notion of Love but rather they offer atypical and confronting perspectives that exist outside the clichés that millions of love songs, movies and books have fashioned. However we personally feel about Love, its rituals; birth, courtship, marriage and death, tend to define our cultures and determine the diverse ways we engage with what is undoubtedly one of humanity’s most challenging and obsessive desires. Numerous attempts by Church and State to control the ways we love have not left anyone better prepared for the emotional roller coaster ride of their lives.
Jordana Bragg (Wellington/Melbourne), Suzanne Treister (London), Troy-Anthony Baylis (Adelaide), Nathan Nhan (Canberra), Angus McGrath (Canberra) and Karena Keys (Canberra) have delved into the darker side of love with works that cover a broad sweep of viewpoints from the metaphysics of love and longing, euphoria, dispossession, fandom, semiotics, surveillance and abstraction. Tainted Love is both an exhibition and a series of performances that reflect each artist’s unique position. It is a show with little sentiment, no romance, a spectacle of “grunge aesthetics”, a celebration of banal popular culture and prickly passions.
Curator David Broker said, “Tainted Love is the third in a series of exhibitions that explore the ways common disorders manifest in current contemporary art practices. After HYPERactive, Obsessive Impulsion comes Love, the most confounding of all. Following Australia’s same sex marriage debate in 2018 and general acceptance of the idea that, “love is love”, I asked myself – is it really - or is it something else? Tainted Love embraces artists in whose work I see the metaphors of love that reflect my own distorted attitudes.”
Image: Angus McGrath Semiotics Club performance documentation, courtesy of the artist and PhotoAccess. Photograph: Rory King.
Banner image: Jordana Bragg ,Enthusiastic Valentine 2019, photo courtesy of the artist.
Unfinished Business brings together three significant contemporary artists based in the ACT region with a serious bone to pick – they’ve never exhibited at Canberra Contemporary Art Space. What is even more peculiar is that Peter Alwast, Rebecca Mayo and Nigel Lendon share generational overlaps in their practices. These overlaps are not necessarily literal, but instead relate to their formal aesthetics, attitude and their mode of interpreting the world around them.
Lendon’s slick minimalist forms, paired with Alwast’s vibrant mixed media collages perfectly offset the delicateness of Mayo’s earthy and ephemeral works. The exhibition also features a collaborative work produced by Lendon and Emma Beer, under their pseudonym LENDON/BEER.
While this group of artists may use formalism, the grid and the multiple as a means to investigate their own practices, they all imply a path forward and they all have unfinished business.
Image: Nigel Lendon Neither. Nor, 2018,13, eighteen cylindrical elements, each 900 x 50mm, each half 900 x 1415 x 50, powdercoated steel, installed in corner