PAST EXHIBITIONS . 2019
8 JUNE /7 JULY
Ideas of Home
Born in Bombay, Rhett D’Costa migrated to Australia at an early age. His practice led research draws on his hybrid background of British, European, Australian and Indian cultures and its ongoing relationship to colonial and post-colonial theory, extending across drawing, painting and installation processes.
D'Costa's most recent pan-disciplinary projects have centred on the ‘right to belong’, exploring the role of resilience and optimism in the intersecting areas of migration, multiculturalism, identity, nationalism and belonging. His research has focused on ideas connected to culturally composite ethnicities, mixed race communities and the porosity of place, belonging and identity formation. These interests take into account shifting social and political circumstances and the tensions and consequences of mobility and migration in complex transnational environments.
The premise for this exhibition, Ideas of Home grew from an early encounter D'Costa experienced with Indian miniature painting the first time he went back to India, almost 33 years ago and 15 years after his family immigrated to Australia. During this trip, D'Costa became enamoured by the colour combinations and the pictorial spaces of Indian court paintings. These memories have informed Ideas of Home and D'Costa's relationship to place, home and belonging. Oscillating between India – his ancestral place of birth, and Australia, his adopted homeland, this exhibition explores D'Costa's circumstances of living in the world, as past experience, present engagement and future evolving deliberations.
8 JUNE /7 JULY
I've been everywhere man
Maddison Kitching’s I’ve been everywhere man is a series of work which looks at the relationship between tourism, tourism merchandise and real places. The exhibition follows on from Kitching’s previous investigations into commercial representations of Australian landscapes and observations of Australian identity.
In this body of work, Kitching focuses on Kyneton as a tourist destination and the relationship between the tourist and the town. The paintings use visual elements from tourism media and combine them with aspects of colonial architecture and glimpses of imagined local landscapes. The exhibition interrogates popular representations of place and how we connect to and consume landscape.
8 JUNE /7 JULY
Indefinite Terrains is an audio-visual essay that interprets the site of the forest plantation as a dynamic assemblage of colonialism, capitalism and country. Through the location of the plantation, the actions and effects of industry and the more-than-human world are considered through narration and the audio-visual tracing of the forest’s controlled and operationalised terrains.
Based in the semi-arid goldfields region of central Victoria, and born from six months of field research, the work reimagines the planation as a convergence of events and complexities that engage beings and bodies in lively ecologies of remembrance and relation.
Punctuated with diaristic entries by the fictitious character of the Planation Officer, acts of listening and looking become speculative forms of knowledge making as the shifting geographies and histories of the forest are explored. Drawing on both the subjective and the real, Indefinite Terrains presents a cinematic cartography that turns the seemingly factual site of the plantation into questions, uncertainties and imaginings: situating human endeavor as a momentary appearance in a complex and ever changing world.
11 May /2 June
CURATED BY YIFENG TAN
JIAN QIN . GUO JIAN . HEI TONG . YIFENG TAN . SHAOHUA NONG . MICHAEL DOWNS . DAVID JIANHAI NIU
Chopsticks, curated by Yifeng Tan, is a group exhibition that explores the symbolism and experience of chopsticks in everyday Chinese life. For the artists in the exhibition, chopsticks are a medium to explore Chinese identity and cultural distinctions.
13 APRIL/5 MAY
Andy Hutson’s practice has always focused on the uneasy relationship between humans, technology and the natural world. Since completing his Master of Fine Arts in 2008 he has worked primarily in sculpture, often tending towards self-destructive pieces and impermanent installations. His use of paper-mâché evolved from simple maquettes produced when planning large-scale artworks; now a common material in his work. Recently, he has begun producing one-off jewellery pieces from brass and silver, now also making their way into his sculptural practice.
Soft Fascination is a term used in psychology that describes the restorative powers of passive enjoyment of nature; whereby the emotional depletion from stress, mental fatigue or overstimulation is reversed through quiet observation of ‘clouds moving across the sky, leaves rustling in a breeze or water…bubbling in a stream.' For most people, their experience of nature is often mediated in some way by technology. This has caused a historical shift in the way we look at landscape – not only has nature been commodified, but social media platforms such as Instagram are used as a substitute for real, physical experiences. But our thirst for nature can also be damaging: once remote or little-known sites of natural wonder are now becoming popular photography spots, and unique ecosystems are being trodden and destroyed as increasing numbers of visitors seek out the perfect shot, with accompanying geotag and hashtags - #nature, #waterfall, #sunset, etc.
Inspired in part by the 19C Tasmanian Arts and Crafts movement, and drawing upon a myriad of additional sources – from bushcraft and survival manuals, preppers and paleo-lifestylers to outdoor-gear brands, extreme sports and DIY instructional videos, the works in Soft Fascination reflect on the problems that lie within our innate need for nature - and our inevitable, simultaneous destruction of it.
13 APRIL/5 MAY
PICK IT TIL IT BLEEDS
Growing up, Pip Ryan invented fictitious animals and hypothetical situations, using hybrid creatures she had imagined. Her scenarios were usually darkly comical, inserting imaginary beasts into unusual and bizarre circumstances. These days, implanting colourful beings in absurd scenarios are still very much part of her focus. Her work presents a multitude of fictional characters including animals, disembodied figures and mythical beasts that cascade down a labyrinth of disturbing and gagging imagery.
Pick it till it Bleeds is a new series of works on paper and sculptures by Ryan. Using fleshy forms and imagined creatures, the show engages ideas of humour, irony and the absurd to examine states of anxiety, itches that can’t be scratched, and wounds that are persistently interrupted by picking. Playful fluid forms and upturned heads offer titillating insights into Ryan’s psyche and her compulsion to be excited by the abject.
13 APRIL / 5 MAY
Rikki-Paul Bunder’s art practice explores the curiosity and wonder he experiences with the physical world. By subjecting simple kinetic sculptures to the external phenomena of light and gravity, Bunder seeks to create optical refractions that elicit thoughts of space, time and the universe. Using utilitarian materials and analogue techniques to create these experiences, Bunder encourages the viewer to consider the materials, the phenomena and their interaction, in relation to their own perception of the physical world.
The installation, 'Slippage' aims to create an encounter with object and light that engenders curiosity. Simple apparatuses are constructed and then activated with light, resulting in refracted projections revealing light, time, and micro and macro perspectives. The mimetic relationship, the disjunction between the banal materials and the visual properties of the immersive installation, aims to cause an uncertainty, and a slippage in the viewer’s perception: a moment that is beyond understanding.
9 MARCH / 7 APRIL
Pia Johnson presents a series of evocative photographs that explore the natural landscape around her home and regional Victoria. The exhibition is made up of photographs taken on the road in regional Victoria, many between Melbourne and Woodend. These images reflect the dynamics of movement, elements of the weather, the road and ever-shifting countryside. Intersected through the landscapes are images of young teenager Maela, whose strong gaze and place within the landscape raise questions about growing up within the regional environment.
9 MARCH / 7 APRIL
Akiko Nagino meticulously draws and hand cuts intricate shapes on paper, revealing patterns from the sky, walls, roads, leaves, vegetables and insects exposed around her. In Nagino's art practice she repetitively questions the definitions and notions of which patterns are beautiful, intimidating, absolute and distorted. The power of a pattern can draw the observer in, captivate and fascinate them.
9 FEBRUARY / 3 MARCH
How is a Window
Angela Chauvin's work sits within the traditions of observational oil painting, documenting her
experience of the physical world around her.
In this exhibition Chauvin has created a series of paintings made in artists’ studios, with a special focus on how windows exist in these spaces symbolically and experientially. Translated through a hybrid of drawn and painterly marks, her work explores the translation of perception of reality into visual and material artworks.
Based in Melbourne, Angela Chauvin recently completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at RMIT and her Honours at VCA. In 2018 she was one of three recipients of The Macfarlane Fund for her outstanding final year body of work.
Japanese sculptor Takahiko Sugawara has hand-built a major sculptural installation consisting of approximately 175,000 suspended matchsticks. Through the repetition and layering of this single ubiquitous material, Sugawara has created intricate geometric forms, producing a visual harmony of strong presence. Sugawara’s attention to space, form and line is deeply rooted in his teenage years where he played in Japan’s number one high school marching band. Required to make rigid lines and shapes whilst playing his instrument, these formative experiences have shaped a practice that explores ideas of layering and overlap.
Born in Milan, Takahiko Sugawara completed a MA at Touhoku University of Art and Design, Japan, and was a guest student at the Universitat der Kunste, Berlin. Sugawara was recently
included in the Biennale of Australia Art, Ballarat (2018).