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MAY SPACE: FOURTEEN a curated group exhibition 1 to 25 March 2017

MAY SPACE: FOURTEEN a curated group exhibition 1 to 25 March 2017

MAY SPACE has transitioned from an anticipated idea into a physical reality. Supported by the 31 years of experience gained operating as Access Contemporary Art Gallery (est. 1985) and Brenda May Gallery (est. 2001), MAY SPACE aims to move forward under this new identity, reinvigorating a dedication to emerging, mid-career and established artists. The new name, new space and new direction will be coloured and shaped by fourteen people in particular - our represented artists. To display the talent already held by the Gallery upon opening its doors, we present MAY SPACE: FOURTEEN; an exhibition in which each represented artist presents a significant work that best displays their creativity and capabilities. This inaugural exhibition will give our audience, new and inherited, insight into the vision and orientation of this third incarnation. Artists include: Robert Boynes, Sybil Curtis, Todd Fuller, Ashleigh Garwood, James Guppy, Waratah Lahy, Melinda Le Guay, Al Munro, Carol Murphy, Mylyn Nguyen, Catherine O’Donnell, Leslie Oliver, Peter Tilley, and Nicole Welch.  

MAY SPACE facade, November 2017

MAY SPACE interior, November 2017

Pouring the new floor, December 2016

Framing the gallery walls, January 2017

Installing the stockroom racks, February 2017

Painting the new walls, February 2017

Entry updates, February 2017

Finishing touches and filling the stockroom racks, February 2017

ROBERT BOYNES Artist statement The Red Sea is a visually tough and technically difficult painting, however, for me it is the most rewarding work that I have made in recent times. Drawing on issues addressed in recent works A Bigger Concern and Blind Leading the Blind, The Red Sea pastiches elements of world news, the media and invented sources to form a universal motif; one that is nonspecific to place or nationality, yet connected to us all.

Robert Boynes, The Red Sea 2016 acrylic on canvas - diptych, 150 x 240cm

SYBIL CURTIS Artist Statement These structures in a hire company’s yard are the building block for tower cranes. From the heavy solidity of steel rise towers which are immensely strong yet appear as delicate as lace. They are like fragile seedlings having germinated and started to grow using the components of the soil. Why a crow? Some of my earliest paintings concerned crows and I am very fond of these smart opportunists. They are great survivors and will be around even after the last tree has died.

Sybil Curtis, Modules 2016 oil on linen, 125 x 125cm

TODD FULLER Artist Statement Ode to Clarence creates an intimate domestic setting to watch an animation of the same name. The animation, Ode to Clarence is a hand drawn and painted film created during a residency at Grafton Regional Art Gallery. Grafton is currently undergoing a significant change due to the construction of a new bridge connecting the North and South of the town. This new construction has been in development for nearly thirty years and aims to replace an existing bridge, which is no longer suitable to the towns needs. However the existing bridge is of significant heritage status and charm, being one of two of its kind in the world. There is a bittersweetness to this town’s progress as it watches a new concrete pilot structure grow alongside the beautiful iron bridge that it has both loved and loathed for many years. In this animation, a man arrives in town carrying a tiny piano. Falling in love with the bridge, he plays his piano on the banks of the Clarence River while the new bridge is constructed. Like Nero fiddling while Rome burnt to the ground, Ode to Clarence explores changing rural identities and our relationships to them. Todd Fuller, Ode to Clarence 2017 charcoal, chalk and acrylic animation, projector, speakers, piano and stool, 131 x 65 x 156cm (Sound: Andy Peterson)

ASHLEIGH GARWOOD Artist Statement The structure was photographed in France, and is part of a WW2 batterie. The rest of the image is constructed from multiple negatives and used to give the structure it’s own landscape. The two slightly different views of the structure, and the tiny offsets of red are a reference to the concept of stereoscopic images. Whilst not physically acting as a stereoscopic image, the pairing invigorates the idea of the two images being viewed together to create an impression of depth and solidity in the landscape. The expectation that the pair of images have only a slight difference, being shifted to a rather large difference, also touches on the ability of photography to both reinforce and fracture memory and cultural history.

Ashleigh Garwood, Ground Truth #1 2017 pigment print on Hahnemühle rice paper, edition of 3 + 2AP, 60 x 90cm Ashleigh Garwood, Ground Truth #2 2017 pigment print on Hahnemühle rice paper, edition of 3 + 2AP, 60 x 90cm

JAMES GUPPY Artist Statement This work is part of a series of explorations I have been making with fragments of jute. By distressing and unpicking the fabric I emphasise the physical nature of the support before I begin to paint on it. I like the tension between the painted illusion and the physical surface beneath it. For me the aquatic represents the other, with all its oceanic possibilities. The nautilus is a creature of proportions and geometry. It is a living embodiment of fractals and the golden mean, an ancient being from the time of fossils and myth. In my universe, combine this with a plait and you have an exquisite mermaid.

James Guppy, Mermaid 2017 acrylic on jute, 144 x 47cm

WARATAH LAHY Artist Statement Throughout 2016 I have been working on a project focussing on the patterns and rhythms in daily life. New worlds have opened up to me: juxtapositions of textures, colours and shapes transforming the known into the unknown. Most recently this gaze has turned to my front garden, a space full of trees, shrubs and flowers that have frequently been left untended (I like things growing but I’m not a diligent gardener…) I’ve been struck by the graceful lines of the bare branches and the ways in which they screen yet define the space. They provide a kind of loose grid on which raindrops, flowers, colours and textures are all plotted, and offer me a means to map this newly rediscovered space.

Waratah Lahy, In the Garden 6-11 2016-2017 watercolour and gouache on aquabord, 10 x 10cm each

MELINDA LE GUAY Artist Statement My research and work has become increasingly concerned with nurturing, healing and protecting the fragile and vulnerable. My work currently hinges on the physical and psychological susceptibility of the young female - when issues to do with identity sometimes culminate in self-harm, or body image disorders. A time when self-protection and retreat dominate thinking and negotiation in the world. Still immersed in materiality, my work is not generated by conscious thought but is experiential and process driven. In my own vulnerability, I also need to withdraw into an internalised space to find stillness and order to keep hold of the thread.

Melinda Le Guay, Covert 2010/2016 enamelled copper wire, thread, gauze, bone, brass brooch, pin, feather, paper, beads 72 x 21 x 10cm

AL MUNRO Artist Statement The Diamond Logic paintings come from a current series of work called Distorted Weave and continue my interest in exploring the way textile forms, such a pattern and structure, allow us to reconsider the spaces of abstract painting. Underpinning each work is a stretched and distorted grid - a warp and weft - which form an elastic and unpredictable structure onto which the diamonds are mapped. The underlying grid is a both metaphor for and an example of the ‘logics’ of scientific imaging which are used to represent the natural world.

Al Munro, Diamond Logic 1-4 2017 acrylic and Japanese paper on birch panel, 50 x 50cm each

CAROL MURPHY Artist Statement Awkward woman 2 is a ceramic work inspired by English sculptor Frank Dobson’s (1886-1963) Study For Rising Figure (1945). Hitherto to seeing this image, I was unfamiliar with his work. I am unable to determine whether he had realised the study as a sculptural form. Executed in gouache and black chalk, the study appeared in a student art handbook as an illustration discussing topics of weight and mass. It could be a monolithic work and immediately appealed to me. In titling it “awkward”, it could describe both the pose and my artwork.

Carol Murphy, Awkward Woman 2 2016, ceramic white earthenware paperclay, 16 x 33.5 x 19.5cm

MYLYN NGUYEN Artist Statement When I was 8 I was so scared of sleeping that I would go to my parents room and curl up on the floor at the foot of their bed. Sometimes my dad would toss me a pillow. When I was 9, I would stare at the ceiling because when I closed my eyes it would be too dark. When I was 9 and a half, in bed with all my might I would think about tunnelling a hole deep into the centre of the earth; there I set off a light that would be so bright that it shined right through to outer space, pushing all of the monsters out to wait for me and everybody else to go to sleep. But somewhere between then and now I have grown fond of the monsters under my bed, maybe they are so brightly coloured so that it wasn’t so dark at night.

Mylyn Nguyen, Shhh… we mustn’t wake the others 2017 watercolour on timber, wool, synthetic fibre, 22 x 60 x 24cm

CATHERINE O’DONNELL Artist Statement My drawings are an exploration of the architecture; culture and history the urban environment with a current focus on 1960/70s housing estates. At first glance the qualities of these utilitarian dwellings may not be evident as all too often these houses are not always given the same value as other housing and have become a cultural signifier of lower socioeconomic communities across Western Sydney. Through my drawings, I aim to extract both the sense of humanity that comes with the fact that people live in these buildings and the more formal aesthetics of these places. I employ realism as a catalyst to ignite the imagination of the viewer and invite them to look beyond the mundane and banal. To revisit these spaces imaginatively and find the aesthetic poetry embedded within in the suburban landscape, while at the same time disrupting cultural prejudices which prevent people from seeing the underlying elegance of these simple buildings.

Catherine O’Donnell, Urban perspective 2017 charcoal on paper, charcoal wall drawing 277 x 160cm (overall), 135 x 57cm (drawing)

LESLIE OLIVER Artist Statement Around 30 years ago my Dad made a sketch for me of his ingenious design for a wind mill. At the time, I thought it would make a beautiful sculpture. I recently did a set of works harking back to The Ark of the old testament as a symbol of the plight of animals, no longer threatened by natural upheavals but a human made catastrophe. A version of Dad’s windmill became a fantasy flying saucer Ark; a rescue craft using wind power again. The Ark still at construction stage, looking promising but the question remains. Could we spin away? Post script. My Dad made a prototype of the windmill with his last push to be a useful contributor, then packed up his tools and went to sleep. The title of the work means more to me now.

Leslie Oliver, Could We Spin Away? 2010/2016 copper plated steel, timber, 58 x 68 x 68cm

PETER TILLEY Artist Statement The shadow is one of the many visual elements within the tableau of everyday icons that populate my artworks. Its context has usually indicated an unseen presence beyond the frame of the work or signified an aspect of that which is casting the shadow. As a result of these earlier works, I have now become preoccupied with the shadow and its possibilities within a 3D format. The shadow gives insight into the figure’s characters and provides linkages between the visual, the psychological, and their manifestations.

Peter Tilley, Undiscovered Self 2017 cast iron, bone, plaster, painted timber, 46.5 x 123 x 31cm

NICOLE WELCH Artist Statement Nicole Welch’s Wildēorness Land is an ambitious, monumental cinematic exhibition combining installation, photography and moving image that investigates the Blue Mountains wilderness from a historical, cultural and ecological viewpoint. The series draws upon archival records that illuminate early European’s romantic notions of Australian wilderness juxtaposed with contemporary ideas and concerns that reflect the inherent loss and uncertainty we now face for our natural environment. Welch’s artistic process involves traversing through areas of bushland, where she locates historically and environmentally significant landscapes to create compositions using large-scale projectors, generators, spotlights and research-inspired objects. Installations are enacted and recorded in situ, resulting in a truly incongruous image that records in real time both past and present ideologies. She spent several weeks at BigCi artist residency near the Wollemi National Park where she researched and created works for this series. Nicole Welch, Wildēornes Land #3 2017 giclée print, face-mounted, edition of 6, 80 x 142cm


409b George Street Wa t e r l o o N S W 2 0 1 7 t.+61 2 9318 1122 tues-fri 11-6 saturday 10-6


MAY SPACE has transitioned from an anticipated idea into a physical reality. Supported by the 31 years of experience gained operating as Acc...


MAY SPACE has transitioned from an anticipated idea into a physical reality. Supported by the 31 years of experience gained operating as Acc...