THE NATIONAL 2017: NEW AUSTRALIAN ART
CARRIAGEWORKS, ART GALLERY OF NSW AND MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART PRESENT
THE NATIONAL 2017
A major exhibition partnership between three of Sydney’s premier cultural institutions, The National: New Australian Art is a six-year initiative presenting the latest ideas and forms in contemporary Australian art over three editions in 2017, 2019 and 2021.
Richard Bell; Chris Bond & Wes Thorne; Karla Dickens; Atlanta Eke & Ghenoa Gela; Heath Franco*; Alex Gawronski; Agatha Gothe-Snape; Alan Griffiths; Jess Johnson & Simon Ward; Richard Lewer; Archie Moore; Claudia Nicholson; Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran; Justene Williams; Jemima Wyman
Please note the exhibition contains some adult content.
*Heath Franco’s work contains nudity and explicit sexual content with entry to his exhibit restricted to those 18 years and over.
ART GALLERY OF NSW
Gordon Bennett; Megan Cope; Keg de Souza; Emily Floyd; Alex Gawronski; Gunybi Ganambarr; Dale Harding; Taloi Havini; Helen Johnson; Nicholas Mangan; Alex Martinis Roe; Tom Nicholson; Raquel Ormella; Khaled Sabsabi; Yhonnie Scarce; Tiger Yaltangki
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART AUSTRALIA
Khadim Ali; Zanny Begg; Matthew Bradley; Gary Carsley; Erin Coates; Marco Fusinato; Alex Gawronski; Julie Gough; Gordon Hookey; Peter Maloney; Karen Mills; Rose Nolan; Stieg Persson; Elizabeth Pulie; Ronnie van Hout; Nell
Richard Bell (b. 1953 in Charleville, Queensland)
Richard Bell (b. 1953) lives and works in Brisbane, Australia. He works across a variety of media including painting, installation, performance and video. One of Australia’s most signiﬁcant artists, Bell’s work explores the complex artistic and political problems of Western, colonial and Indigenous art production. He grew out of a generation of Aboriginal activists and has remained committed to the politics of Aboriginal emancipation and self-determination.
Chris Bond (b. 1975 in Melbourne)
Chris Bond lives and works in Melbourne. His practice combines identity fabrication and closely-worked detail in order to play with knowledge and perception, expectation and plausibility. He constructs narratives in which fictional artists, writers and organisations circulate, spawning documentary material that Bond then appropriates and recycles in future work. In his paintings and drawings, the process finds an end in imagined books, magazines, exhibition catalogues and correspondence that are sometimes self-referential and sometimes process-referential. Within his installation practice, he hijacks the conventions of museum display to convey unlikely, fantastic stories, where threatening, illusory forms creep at the edge of the real.
Karla Dickens (b. 1967 in Sydney)
Karla Dickens lives and works in Lismore. Driving forces behind Karla’s need to communicate are her Indigenous (Wiradjuri) heritage, sexuality and life experiences as a single mother. Dickens uses recycled everyday items to explore notions of persistence amidst inherent violence and misunderstanding. Made with uncommon rawness and daring, her meticulously fabricated works emanate a rare truthfulness and honesty. Edgy and hard to confine, Karla often cannibalizes existing works to create new ones. She presents a wide ranging and unique interpretation of the real world; where past and present collide in a multi-dimensional kaleidoscope of her own making.
Atlanta Eke (b. in 1983)
Atlanta Eke lives and works in Melbourne. She is a dancer and choreographer concerned with dissolving pre-existing perceptions and expectations by changing fixed representations of the body through movement. She works with and beyond the limitations of the body, in collaboration with fellow dancers, artists and arts administrators in variety of contexts. Her work with dance is currently project specific, within each project a question for the next arises, along side an effort to deconstruct the modes of production and presentation of the previous work. Having recently had opportunities to present work in exhibition spaces, she is interested in how an exhibition space and timeframe can be utilized as a resource for developing dance.
Alex Gawronski (b. in 1968)
Alex Gawronski’s practice is multi-faceted incorporating installation, photography, painting, video and text. Much of Gawronski’s art nonetheless consists of architectural installations that focus on the institutional dynamics that underwrite and determine how we see and consume art. Gawronski frequently uses galleries and museums to construct narrative fictions that problematise simple assumptions about the supposed neutrality of institutional spaces. These installations allude, often obliquely and poetically, to the economic, socio-political and historical contexts that in reality define them. Drawing from legacies of institutional critique, Gawronski’s work is less proscriptive than a lot of art produced under that moniker. His works embrace aspects of the absurd whereby an uncanny intrusion – usually in the form of built structure – is made to appear in a context that is otherwise foreign to it.
Ghenoa Gela (b. 1982 in Rockhampton, Queensland)
Ghenoa Gela lives and works in Sydney. Her arts practice spans across a variety of fields and experiences. Ghenoa’s passion for the arts originates from her great passion for her Torres Strait Islander culture – telling stories, solidifying her traditional dance technique and sharing her culture. Her practice is heavily driven by a desire to share her culture and knowledge, not only with her peers, but also with wider Australian communities and by extension, her audience members. This drive, together with her experience of being constantly confronted by Western theatre constructs, motivates the work she eagerly creates.
Agatha Gothe-Snape (born 1980 in Sydney)
Agatha Gothe-Snape lives and works in Sydney. Her wide-ranging practice involves performance, ephemeral materials and subtle alterations to space, often making processes of production transparent to an audience. She considers physical, emotional and historical responses to making and looking at art to investigate and articulate relations between the individual, the social world and the historical context. Her practice strives to offer experiences having potential to create new circumstances and new knowledge derived from the site and context of each project. The resulting work takes many forms: prosaic performances (including dance), PowerPoint slide shows, workshops, texts, visual scores and collaboratively produced art objects.
Alan Griffiths (b. 1933 Victoria River Station, Northern Territory)
Alan Griffiths lives and works in the remote Kimberley region of Western Australia. His art practice is multi-faceted, encompassing painting, printmaking, performance and sculptural forms. As a highly respected lawman, Griffiths’ inherent cultural obligations initiates his arts practice as he interprets both cultural and contemporary experience. His painting style documents narratives of a ‘country’ rich in spiritual references, corroboree, traditional stories and contemporary histories. Often characterised by rhythmic lines of naively painted figures, his work conveys playfulness against an underlying spiritual context. As corroboree ‘creator’, Griffiths constructs the elements of the Bali Bali Balga performance, bridging the ancestral spirit world and the contemporary through cultural performance.
Heath Franco (b. 1984 in Cooma, New South Wales)
Heath Franco lives and works in Sydney. Franco’s practice is primarily based in video, although the process of production and exhibition of his work is also concerned with photography, performance, costume, sound, music, digital media, video special effects, and installation. His videos are structured with respect to flow and rhythm rather than traditional plot narrative and aim to attract and repulse the viewer through a mix of hyper aesthetic, catchy jingles and absurd, grotesque performances. Franco’s works are informed by explorations into Western popular culture and leisure, domesticity/notions of ‘home’, and contemplations on human existence and the possibilities of space-time.
Jess Johnson (b. 1979 in Tauranga, New Zealand)
Jess Johnson lives and works in Melbourne and New York. Johnson’s drawing and installation practice is influenced by the speculative intersections between language, science fiction, culture and technology. In her drawings she depicts complex worlds that combine densely layered patterns, objects and figures within architectural settings. Johnson’s drawings are often displayed within constructed environments that act as physical portals into her speculative worlds. Her recent video collaborations with Simon Ward have involved translating her drawings into animated video and virtual reality, thus enabling an audience to have the simulated experience of entering the hypnotic realms depicted in her drawings.
Richard Lewer (b. 1970 in Hamilton, New Zealand)
Richard Lewer lives and works in Melbourne. He is known for his video and animation, paintings, and delicately beautiful drawings, which evocatively rework some of life’s less pleasant elements – crime scenes, illness, horror movies and extreme events. The work is accessible and familiar, with a critical edge that probes what is beautiful and sinister about our society without injecting a moralising tone or political message. Lewer’s focus is, however, less concerned with telling the concrete facts of a case. Instead, his work explores the way that places can become repositories for the psychic residue of extreme events, painful activities or our deepest fears.
Archie Moore (b. 1970 in Toowoomba, Queensland)
Archie Moore lives and works in Brisbane. Moore works across media in portrayals of self and divulged national histories. He questions key signifiers of identity – skin, language, smell, food, dwelling, politics, religion, flags – and points to errors in foundational intercultural knowledge, asking, what are the outcomes of misinformation? His practice is embedded in Aboriginal politics and the wider concerns of racism. Uncertainty is a recurrent theme pertaining to his paternal Kamilaroi heritage. Archie Moore is represented by The Commercial Gallery, Sydney.
Claudia Nicholson (b. 1987 Bogota, Columbia)
Claudia Nicholson lives and works in Sydney. As a Colombian born artist adopted and raised in Sydney, her practice addresses issues around multiple identities, belonging and separation from homeland. She occupies an ambivalent position between Latina, Amerindian and Australian cultures. She examines psychic and real connections to place through multidisciplinary forms of art making. Inherent in her work is a desire to connect to her heritage through the incorporation of established modes of artisanal practices with her own, specifically practices local to Central and South America. The work she makes is a type of reverse erosion, an aggregation of symbols, experiences and cultural practices that highlight the role that volition plays in the construction of a queer identity.
Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran (b. 1988 in Colombo, Sri Lanka)
Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran lives and works in Sydney. Nithiyendran creates rough-edged, vibrant, new-age idols that are at once enticing and disquieting. He experiments with form and scale in the context of figurative sculpture to explore politics of sex, the monument, gender and organised religion. He capitalises upon the symbolism of clay as fundamental corporeal matter. Formally trained in painting and drawing his practice has a sculptural emphasis which champions the physicality of art making. These works are often stacked to form totems or perched atop customised plinths. While proceeding from a confident atheist perspective, Nithiyendran draws upon his Hindu and Christian heritage as reference points, as well as a large range of sources including the internet, pornography, fashion and art history. Self-portraits make frequent appearances and the dual presence of male and female organs suggest gender fluid realms of new possibilities.
Wes Thorne (b. 1938 in San Francisco)
Wes Thorne lives and works in Santa Maria, California. In the late 1950s, he began producing adjustments, finding objects of interest and altering them by hand. The process of adding to an object by drawing or collage, or subtracting through scraping and cutting, is driven by Thorne’s desire to free it from functional purpose, establish equilibrium, and unleash what he sees as the object’s wider potential. His work is informed by a lifelong fascination for uncovering alternate orders of truth, from his early studies in Theosophy to his active participation as a researcher and seer within the Atlantis Group.
Simon Ward (b. 1977 in Opunake, New Zealand)
Simon Ward lives and works in Melbourne. As an animator with a background in making music videos, he has developed a style influenced by the history of cinematographic special effects and animation. His work in video and animation is varied and usually involves collaboration with musicians, writers or visual artists. Ward employs a DIY approach that utilises self-taught effects and animation techniques, generating visual imagery that mixes reality with the fantastical.
Justene Williams (b.1970 in Sydney)
Justene Williams lives and works in Sydney. Her amalgamation of video, photography, sculpture and performance calls upon Dada techniques of collage and the absurd, utilising historical and popular culture references in order to re-examine forgotten imagery. Using found and recycled materials, Williams creates elaborate costumes and environments in which she executes delirious, shamanistic actions that channel the visual excesses of the early twentieth century avant-garde, as well as alluding to more cryptic personal narratives. Documented performances are collaged and screened within complex, high-energy environments that are experienced as immersive cacophonies of performance, sculpture, video and sound.
Jemima Wyman (b. 1977 in Sydney)
Jemima Wyman lives and works in Brisbane and Los Angeles. Wyman’s practice investigates camouflage as a social, formal and political strategy. She works with various mediums in order to detail the playful subterfuge present in the dynamics of camouflage. Wyman’s recent work explores the theme of visual resistance through patterning and masking especially when it is used by marginalized groups to gain power (counterpower) in zones of conflict. Through her research she has collected a vast archive of masked protesters and liberation armies engaged in this very subterfuge. Her work has identified recurring patterns and trends that groups use for creating a collective identity; she refers to these coverings as ‘communal skins’.
THIS PROJECT IS SUPPORTED BY THE CITY OF SYDNEY AND THE GORDON DARLING FOUNDATION.
JESS JOHNSON, WORLDWEB ALLTHING, 2017
FREE: 30 MAR - 25 JUN 2017
Carriageworks 30 MAR – 25 JUN 2017
Art Gallery of New South Wales 30 MAR – 16 JUL 2017
Museum of Contemporary Art 30 MAR – 18 JUN 2017
THE UNSETTLING – ATLANTA EKE AND GHENOA GELA
The performative element of The Unsettling comprises two live solo performances, separated spatially but presented simultaneously, as they meet on screen. Samples of pre-recorded video material with live-feed video of each performance is combined and looped together with live musical accompaniment – a supernatural horror film made in real time before the audience. It proposes a fiction set in reality; an analysis of how fictions function philosophically and politically as an invention and/or as a temporal or spatial augmentation of the present.
Thu 22 Jun – Sat 24 Jun, 11am – 5pm
Sun 25 Jun, 11am and 2pm
ALL I HAVE ARE DREAMS OF YOU – CLAUDIA NICHOLSON
Claudia Nicholson has created an alfombra de aserrín – a coloured sawdust carpet – as a memorial to the Latina pop star Selena Quintanilla, whose dedicated community of fans were mobilised by grief following her murder in 1995. On the final day of The National at Carriageworks, the artist animates her memorial through a tribute performance in which the Spanish-speaking STARRTS choir (the NSW Service for the Treatment and Rehabilitation of Torture and Trauma Survivors) will perform two Selena songs. Nicholson will then perform a passage of Selena’s choreography over the carpet, intentionally disrupting the imagery and destroying the work.
Sun 25 Jun, 3pm