5 6 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32 34 36 38 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56
Director's Foreword Curator's Essay Giles Alexander Ben Ali Ong Richard Allen Del Kathryn Barton Annette Bezor Adam Cullen Paul Davies Julia deVille Doble & Strong Stefan Dunlop Martine Emdur Juan Ford Belinda Fox James Gordon Gina Haywood Ralph Heimans Hanna Hoyne Todd Hunter Leila Jeffreys Alan Jones Jennifer Keeler-Milne Aaron Kinnane
58 60 62 64 66 68 70 72 74 76 78 80 82 84 86 88 90 92 94 96 98 100 102
Jasper Knight Janet Laurence Sam Leach Tony Lloyd Joanna Logue Camie Lyons Guy Maestri James McGrath Julian Meagher Linton Meagher Lara Merrett Clinton Nain John Olsen Kirsteen Pieterse Marisa Purcell Reko Rennie Alexander Seton Tim Silver Tim Summerton Andrew Taylor Oliver Watts Joshua Yeldham Acknowledgements
The Cat Street Gallery is thrilled to present WATTLE, an exhibition that has been a year in the making. WATTLE is a selection of artists from across Australia working in a variety of styles and mediums who are all at different points in their careers. Each artist has created one work for the exhibition and no theme has been imposed curatorially in order to allow each artist to best represent their work as they choose. The Cat Street Gallery has always had a strong stable of Australian artists since it opened in 2006 and I am proud to say it is a growing stable. Many of the artists in this exhibition are old friends and it is to every artist in the show that we dedicate this book. WATTLE is the largest survey exhibition for contemporary Australian art in Hong Kong to date and the most ambitious show the gallery has ever conceived. WATTLE could not have been made possible without our new gallery, The Space, and the investors who made it possible. We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to our friends in the Australian art world who suggested artists and generously introduced us to many of them, particularly the fantastic Tim Olsen. We sincerely hope that WATTLE will contribute to a more sustained dialogue between artists working in Australia and the international scene and bring the rich and potent art being made in the country to the international recognition it is deserving of. Mandy dâ€™Abo January 2011
WATTLE: A Consideration of Contemporary Australian Art Kate Bryan Gallery Director
Categorising any group of artists is always a difficult and tenuous prospect. We have long since come to expect individuality and distinct approaches to art making and these are traits which every artist today works fervently to uphold. Art historians have long since marshaled artists into stylistic groups, the last century witnessed a proliferation of ‘isms’: expressionism, fauvism, cubism, and surrealism to name just a few. In the twenty-first century we have become skeptical of the cut and dry application of such words, for when we consider the work of any two artists residing beneath the same artistic label there are, more often than not, far greater differences than meet the eye. Categorising artists by nationality, particularly contemporary artists, proves to be an even more difficult prospect. In a dangerously simple world this book would showcase the work of 45 artists whose work resembled each other, who all shared the same interests and aesthetics and who could all neatly be summed up by the term ‘Australian Contemporary’. Thankfully the world is not a facile place, especially not the small, increasingly globalised world of the twenty first century. This book, and the exhibition it accompanies, is a celebration of the incredible diversity of artists and art making in Australia, moreover it is a record of the strength and richness of this cultural scene. The artists selected for WATTLE vary greatly in their practice, conceptual stance and range from freshly emerging, to young leaders in the field, to established artists, and finally to veritable living masters. In every contemporary art scene across the world it is for history and posterity to decide who might be remembered out of the thousands, whose work speaks past its age and resonates on a deep level for generations to come. Reassuringly, at least two of the artists amongst our selection have already done so much in their long careers that any future history would be incomplete without them; John Olsen and Janet Laurence. Both artists are deeply connected to the natural environment yet they each explore this phenomenon in vastly different ways. Olsen has held a life long preoccupation with the country’s diverse landscape, presenting its majesty in a myriad of forms and, crucially, cultivating his own unique language with which to describe Australian topography (plate 45). Though his work is regionally orientated its specificity does not hinder appreciation outside of Australia, rather Olsen articulates something universal and transcendent in all of his works, as testified to when he occasionally turns his attention to other lands such as Kenya or Spain.
Olsen’s distinguished career has spanned over six decades and his work is unquestionably a huge source of inspiration for a host of younger artists such as Tim Summerton and Guy Maestri. These exciting young artists also share a continuing interest in the Australian landscape and render its forms and sentiment in their own unique way. Maestri’s interest in landscape and human folly has taken him on a stylistic adventure, journeying from the Australian bush, farther afield to glaciers and even to Chinese communities. For his WATTLE painting Maestri has returned full circle to the landscape of his birth country (plate 39). Summerton’s luminous abstract paintings, on the other hand, display a consistent and quiet brilliance as the artist contemplates the cornucopia of life in the gloriously rural area of Kangaroo Valley where he lives and works (plate 54). These artists follow in the footsteps of Olsen who has lived for long periods throughout Australia, making deep connections with the topography he articulates in paint. Like Olsen, Janet Laurence has also made a huge impact upon contemporary Australian art and over the last forty years has come to be regarded as the ‘architect’s artist’. Laurence investigates the multifaceted associations between organic phenomena and the built environment. As an artist, she skirts the boundaries of science and nature, creating hybrid forms in her photography, sculpture and installations. Her aesthetic is postmodern, often partly clinical, and yet her enquiry into the constantly changing forms of ecosystems and humankind’s relationship to the natural world is philosophical and timeless (plate 34). The distinctive work of Paul Davies and Kirsteen Pieterse follows on from Laurence in the same tradition, as both artists grapple with the relationship between the natural world and manmade constructions. Davies creates compelling scenes of modernist architecture, juxtaposing its clean lines against rugged more abstract landscapes, leaving his atmospheric canvasses devoid of people in what he describes as ‘portraits of space’ (plate 8). Pieterse’s sculptures echo architectural models, yet show construction in a perilous or ruinous state, drawing attention to the precarious manner in which people have tamed nature in order to live more comfortably among it (plate 46). The theme is particularly pertinent when one considers that 89% of Australians live in urban areas. These artists tackle the universal theme of how humankind inhabits the natural world and the ramifications of the modern coexistence between built and natural environments.
The statistics underscore Australiaâ€™s reputation as an under populated country with vast areas of land that witnesses minimal human contact. Joshua Yeldham takes this as an interesting point of departure and works in what might be described a quasi -naturalist manner (plate 57). For each new series the artist immerses himself deeply into a particular rural or bush landscape for weeks at a time so as to make a literal and spiritual connection with the land. He is the eternal student of Mother Nature, creating potent and intricate paintings and sculptures as records of his experiences. Andrew Taylor also draws inspiration from pure landscape and, in his own way, allows its physical qualities to permeate his artwork by employing crushed metals and minerals directly on to the surfaces of his paintings (plate 55). These materials are sourced directly from various mines throughout Australia, lending his work a shared history with the natural world they represent. Sharing history is key to the work of several artists featured in the exhibition who explore the themes of European colonisation, Australian sovereignty, indigenous sovereignty, individual histories and how this shapes personal and collective identities. Clinton Nain confronts a modern history fraught with tension for aboriginal people in his bold, potent and highly symbolic paintings (plate 44). His uncompromising stance has earned him a reputation as one of the key artists of his generation, whose work exists outside of the traditional parameters for â€˜Aboriginal artâ€™ and yet shares something of its legacy. Likewise Reko Rennie draws upon his aboriginal heritage by employing motifs of the flora and fauna specific to his community whilst simultaneously drawing upon the aesthetics of urban and pop art (plate 48-51). He creates an accessible yet sophisticated dialogue about Australian indigenous history, representing a plethora of details from these communities. Oliver Watts explores various threads of history and politics in his expressive paintings, recently taking as his subject the modern commercial challenges on ancient lands (plate 56). Like Laurence and Pieterse these works draw upon the theme of manmade constructions on the natural environment and their social and ecological consequences. Alan Jones shares an abiding interest in Australian histories with a point of departure; his work is highly personal and interrogates identity on an individualistic level. In his sculptures and paintings Jones uses his own genealogy to tackle questions of Australian European heritage and what role our past plays in our present, literally casting his own art history (plate 30).
No artist can exist in a vacuum and all of the artists in WATTLE display a natural affinity for their artistic predecessors, both in Australia and in the canon of western art history. Giles Alexander and James McGrath are both artists who delve further into the field by considering the theories of art history, artistic movements and even directly referencing key artworks in their work. In his photo-realistic paintings Giles Alexander displays a virtuoso handling of his medium and frequently references artworks from the canon of art history, ranging from Uccello’s early Renaissance enquiries into perspective to Hirst’s contemporary displays of money and status (plate 1). Alexander not only references historical artistic advancements in his work but he also pushes the boundaries between abstraction and representation, pure realism and self-conscious hyperrealism. James McGrath focuses his attentions on Baroque art and architecture, an ostentatious period in western art history which is seldom referenced amongst the scores of postmodern artists (plate 40). McGrath works across painting, photography and installation, cultivating new ways of looking at a grand aesthetic that is at once both recognizable but usually deemed somewhat irrelevant in today’s lexicon of image making. McGrath’s appeal lies in the combination of his deep affection for the period and his unrelenting modern approach to form, often employing cutting edge technologies in the creation of his work. Aside from contributing to approaches and processes, technology and scientific development also exist as subjects and themes in several of the artists’ work. Sam Leach, Tony Lloyd and Juan Ford all employ a sensitive realist approach in their paintings and each tackle the notions of science, technological advancement and industry, often in relation to the natural world. Sam Leach’s exquisite and intimate renderings of birds, primates and insects reference Northern European art from the seventeenth century in both their style and their conceptual platform (plate 35). Leach’s paintings draw attention to the advances in scientific development, many of which originated in the Netherlands in this period, and the ramifications they have had for the natural world. Juan Ford also employs a polished realist approach in his renderings of indigenous plants and trees from Australia (plate 13). Referencing the traditions of botanical drawing, realism and landscape prevalent in the canon of Australian art, Ford reengages with the national flora in an original way. The artist portrays the flowers and plants wrapped in industrial and synthetic materials, alluding to the ongoing struggle between ecological systems and the industrial urban environment.
Tony Lloyd’s paintings skirt the parameters of photo-realism, offering softer, less focused areas in composition and thus recalling cinematic approaches to visual arrangement, particularly the genre of film noir (plate 36). This seems fitting for an artist who explores existential themes such as the limitless of things, our knowledge of space and time and the connectivity of all matter. A realist painter who also represents that which is ethereal about the natural world is Martine Emdur whose enigmatic canvasses present the beautifully simple relationship between the weightless human form and cool bodies of water (plate 12). More than a celebration of Sydney’s stunning aquatic life, Emdur’s paintings transport the viewer to a tranquil space where we see the innate and primal relationship between people and nature. In contrast to the polished aesthetic of the realist painters in the exhibition, who all navigate the style in their own unique fashion, WATTLE also presents work that sits within the parameters of expressionism and work that considers human nature, often drawing upon personal and intimate subject matters. This is perhaps best exemplified by the evocative, rich and esoteric imagery of Del Kathryn Barton (plate 5). Barton’s work has been described as figurative painting for the new century, infusing the genre with illustration and design traits and literally filling the picture plane with a ceaseless myriad of organisms and motifs, including explicit references to genitalia and bodily functions. In recent years her work has drawn upon her own experiences, creating vehicles for maternal expression and considerations of expanding personal identity. Though working within the realms of abstraction, Todd Hunter’s canvasses are also deeply expressive artworks and, like Barton, have explored explicit and intimate themes of human nature (plate 20). One of is series takes as its focus pornographic films, in his representations the imagery is distilled into pure colour and abstract form, intimating the essence of the sexual act in an understated, sensual manner. In contrast to these more subtle approaches, Adam Cullen employs confronting imagery, fusing expressionism with a naïve, even puerile style (plate 33). Cullen’s canvasses are typically saturated with synthetic colour and present one bold subject for consideration such as Ned Kelly, iconic Australian animals or Fidel Castro. Cullen deliberately positions his work with the outsiders he represents, conjuring unapologetically dark images about the human condition. In terms of his bright, bold, pop approach Jasper Knight shares some superficial aesthetic qualities with Cullen, though Knight takes a more laboured approach in the act of physical creation (plate 33). In fact, it is in the very field of creation where much of Knight’s interest lies. The artist creates emblematic images of recognizable objects or places from everyday life, adding found materials to the surface to develop a compelling third space. The appropriation is almost secretive; layers of gloss paint both reveal and conceal bright panels of Perspex on the picture surface.
Like Knight, Linton Meagher displays an enduring interest in cultivating a third dimension in his art. His representational wall pieces composed of small mass-produced items set in resin exist somewhere between painting and sculpture (plate 41). In some works the form of a female nude emerges from a sea of carefully assembled scalpel blades, off setting the sensual with the clinical and subverting the traditions of the nude and the material itself. It is not in his use of new media that distinguishes the sculptor Alexander Seton, but rather his engaging fresh approach to an ancient one. Working in marble and synthetic stone, Seton is part of a distinguished legacy of stonecarvers dating back to the classical period. Yet his sculptures are startling in the easy manner by which they comment upon and settle comfortably within the contemporary art arena. By choosing subjects deemed traditionally unworthy of immortalizing in stone, such as a deflated beach toy or an adolescent â€˜hoodieâ€™, Seton not only highlights his great technical ability but also his sharp conceptual stance (plate 52). Like Seton, Julia deVille reinterprets a traditional and conservative practice, updating it for the twenty-first century artworld. DeVille is a humane taxidermist, referencing the rich legacy of Victorian memento mori by artfully adorning her small creatures with jewels (plate 9). The artist draws our attention to the finite quality of life, a melancholic notion for many. Yet the deVille sidesteps tragedy by highlighting the exquisite brilliance of life it in all its forms, something which is celebrated at large in every work in the exhibition. All of the artists in WATTLE are unified by nationality, or at least the country they live and work in, and they share a concern for representing and expressing their contemporary culture and world. Throughout this consideration of some of the works in the exhibition many themes have emerged including the natural landscape, built environments, history, identity, science, technology, human nature and the seemingly endless options for the physical creation of art. Though these artists may display some mutual interests or even comparable approaches to their art in a superficial sense, there is no denying each of their unique qualities and unrelenting pursuit of artistic longevity. When the forty-five artists in WATTLE are taken as a whole they represent an unforgettably impressive cross section of Australiaâ€™s compelling contemporary art scene. Of course the artists selected here can only represent only a minute fraction of the artists working in Australia today. This is a personal selection and can never be, nor pretend to be, in any way definitive. WATTLE is a small insight into something much bigger and dizzyingly exciting and we hope it goes some way to foster a sustained interest in Australian contemporary art outside of the country for years to come.
British born and based in Sydney, Giles Alexander blurs the boundaries between realism and abstraction in his paintings. An ardent researcher, his work displays an enduring interest in the themes of memory and history. His paintings include images from personal documentary, as well as historically significant and insignificant ‘found’ images, therefore juxtaposing personal and second hand experience and confusing the banal, important and sublime. Alexander’s paintings often use images of historical significance to draw parallels with and critically reflect on contemporary issues and their representation in the media. Some of his paintings rework seminal history paintings using contemporary people and symbols. In other paintings, images or sometimes formal abstractions are juxtaposed in surprising ways with architecture. This dialogue concerning the status of the image is also central to the materiality of the work. Philosophy aside, the artist displays an academic touch which he can manipulate at will, which reveals his commitment to investigate the possibilities of painting. Alexander raises questions about the role of realist painting, the hand-made image and the notion of authorship by sometimes revealing and sometimes hiding the painter’s hand. The artist combines layers of resin and paint over his images, presenting a conundrum of illusionistic depth and at the same time an awareness of surface.
Plate 1: Sensation Oil and resin on polyester canvas 105 x 65 cm 2010
Giles Alexander has an MA and BA in Painting from the National Art School. Before immigrating to Australia in 2000, the artist attended several British art institutes including Central Saint Martins, London. In 2005 he won the inaugural MCQ International art prize at the MCA and the Murray Sime prize for painting at the National Art School. In 2007 the artist won the Metro 5 art prize in Melbourne and had the first of three successful solo exhibitions at Mori Gallery, Sydney. In 2009 Alexander was also selected for the inaugural COMODAA exhibition in Covent Garden, London. In 2010 Alexander was shortlisted in the Archibald prize and 2011 marks his first solo show with GRANTPRIRRIE.
Ben Ali Ong
Ben Ali Ong creates timeless poetic images by etching his photographs to subvert and redirect their literal representations. Ali Ong has discarded the documentary appeal of photography, side stepping scientific reality and conjuring imaginative scenes more akin to a visual fable. His black and white images transcend the time and place they were taken and have a universal, timeless quality.
Plate 2: Ballads of the Dead and Dreaming 1 C Print 90 x 135 cm 2010 2
Plate 3: Ballads of the Dead and Dreaming 4 C Print 90 x 135 cm 2010
Like his tonal range, Ali Ong’s subject matter is also on the darker side. The artist moves away from rendering a beautiful landscape in a beautiful manner and turns his attentions to the romantic notions of decay, imperfection and solitude. There is a distinct feeling of nostalgia and even ancient pasts in the artist’s contemporary images. One series even takes as its inspiration the writings of 11th century Persian poet, astronomer, mathematician and philosopher, Omar Khayyam. Rather than give much more than this away, Ali Ong purposefully leaves his work open to interpretation, another indication of his rejection of photography as a form of documentation or direct observation. Given the extraordinary capabilities of his inspiration – Omar Khayyam was a master of both the rational and the philosophical – there is a corresponding depth and visual complexity to the works based on The Rubaiyat poem. Ben Ali Ong received his Diploma of Photography from TAFE in New South Wales Syndey in 2004 where he graduated with the Portfolio of the Year Award. He has been a finalist in numerous fine art and photographic awards and in 2009 was the Mosman Photo Festival Prize Winner. He has had several solo shows and 2011 marks his second with The Tim Olsen Gallery in Sydney. He has been in group shows throughout Australia and London.
Richard Allen deftly navigates abstraction and figuration in his vibrant canvasses. Rather than moving between the two genres, Allen represents a subtle, poetic synthesis of the two, abstracting forms from the world around him and capturing others in a more naturalistic fashion. His work is categorised by his aerial landscape paintings and his animal series, both of which feature the use of deep texture and saturated, rich colours. Allenâ€™s aerial paintings are a direct representation of the instinctual need to pattern a landscape in order that mankind can understand, subjugate and tame his surroundings. These works are often characterised by ribbons, stripes or wavy striations of hot colour, and vibrant variegated polychrome, which tantalise with luxuriant texture and dollops of rich colour. Despite all the apparent abandon and flux, there is careful control and restraint, lent by geometric forms or bands of colour acting as frames or borders, which are then softened with either round shapes or arabesques, suggestive of calligraphy, musical clefs or trailing fronds of vegetation. Allenâ€™s figurative work which largely deals with animals is related to his abstract landscapes in their ecological subtext but also represents a departure both in content and style. Where his bold abstract compositions are wonderful interpretations of the land forms of his native country, these works have a more overtly figurative dimension centering round the inhabitants. In these canvasses the artist employs a more restricted palette, based on the hues of earth, stone, sand and vegetable pigments. The works recall early Chinese watercolours and the timeless, haunting quality of ancient cave paintings or frescoes.
Plate 4: Watercourset Acrylic on canvas 240 x 150 cm 2008
Allen has had numerous solo shows throughout Australia and in London. He has also exhibited in Hong Kong, France and New York. His work is held in various corporate and public collections including Standard Chartered Bank, Sydney Bank, Macquarie Bank, Pernod Ricard in Paris and The New Westmead Childrenâ€™s Hospital.
Del Kathryn Barton
Del Kathryn Bartonâ€™s vibrant and complex artwork presents a highly unique and conceptual way of approaching figurative painting. Her detailed canvasses display a ceaseless myriad of human form, living organisms, natural motifs and pattern making. Her aesthetic pays gentle homage to the practice of figuration and portraiture but these traditions are unpicked and reassembled with contemporary illustration and design traits. Barton employs a concoction of acrylic, pencil, gouache and even glitter in her heavily worked surfaces. Never allowing a moment of quiet, the artist adorns every inch of the picture plane, connecting each element in a seemingly infinite sea of entwined threads. Barton presents nature with no limits and form with no parameters and yet the visual overload is not suffocating, at times it can feel more akin to an embrace. Bartonâ€™s work is figuration of a new, exciting breed for the twenty first century. Her signature figures have large wide eyes, puckered lips and oversized heads and are simultaneously innocent and knowing. By introducing physiological components, the artist precludes the possibility of the figure becoming a caricature of itself. Every work displays a study of living organisms, introducing incongruous body parts and examining their function and form. The results are beautifully incomprehensible. Far from scientific, the images reside somewhere between the real and the imagined. Oversized insects coexist with heavily adorned children and suckling breasts. In a world where everything is alive and connected, Barton shows us the infinite nature of the universe, both spiritual and metaphysical. Her works are microcosms in the true sense of the world and offer a sensual, mysterious form of beauty.
Plate 5: All Ways Acrylic, gouache and pen on polyester canvas 163 x 203 cm 2010 Private Collection, Melbourne
Del Kathryn Barton studied at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales in Sydney where she was subsequently employed as a lecturer of drawing. In 2008 she won the Archibald Prize and has been a finalist in the Dobell Drawing Prize. Her work featured on the cover of Australian Art Collector and she was voted Australia's Most Collectible Australian Artist in Australian Art Collector 2007. She has had several solo exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne and her work has appeared in many group shows since 1995. Her work is held in numerous private and public collections, including BHP Billiton, Art and Australia, Sydney, Artbank, Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart and The National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.
Annette Bezor addresses female sexuality, gender issues and the symbolic power of images in her large scale vibrant canvases. Bezorâ€™s paintings have taken a number of directions throughout her respected career but the quest to explore and challenge the realm of the female figure in art has remained a constant. Through her manipulation of iconic images of painted women in art history, Bezor allows us to see both the represented woman and real woman afresh. Bezor's paintings therefore remind the viewer not only of how various cultures represent women, but of the practice of judging real women by their appearance. Naturally Bezor is regarded as an artist working within the feminist domain, but she is by no means limited by such a title. Repetition is a characteristic of the artist, painting two, or sometimes more, versions of an image. Subsequent renditions of an image are often copied not from the source but from the first rendering. This process leads to an almost perfect copy, but there are subtle changes. Repetition raises issues of authenticity and of commodification in the modern digital age. Recent works take as their subject two female Asian faces set against a backdrop of traditional Asian flora, contextualizing her subjects and highlighting the specificity of every female culture. The painting feels at once contemporary and classical, belonging to a distant world of image making.
Plate 6: A Violent Silence Acrylic and oil on canvas 65 x 165 cm 2010
Bezor has had numerous solo shows throughout Australia since the early 1980s and has shown internationally in New York and Hong Kong. She is the recipient of several awards and grants including the Australian Council Fellowship. Her work is in several high profile public and corporate collections including the Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, The National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Artbank, Sydney, The Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Wollongong Art Gallery, New South Wales, Auckland City Gallery, New Zealand, John Sands Collection and Tasmanian University Gallery.
Adam Cullen’s potent and provocative paintings take as their focus the human condition, often employing dark and base imagery. Painted in an aggressive yet naive style, his paintings have always made reference to the style of graffiti and punk, thus drawing attention to the changing status of these ‘low’ art forms at the end of the last century. His iconic artworks take as their focus a range of subjects, from rabid dogs, to cowboys, to the infamous Ned Kelly. The work is extrovert, often skirting the boundaries of decency and taboo. The artist positions himself as an outsider, joining the ranks of the marginalized that he takes as his subjects. Rather than simply designed for inane sensation, Cullen’s bold style and confronting imagery grabs the viewer’s attention, leading to contemplation of the bigger issues at hand, such as national identity, racism and social intolerance. Cullen treads a fine line between humour and angst, ultimately delivering personal and honest exposés of his contemporary culture and his own life.
Plate 7: Copper Acrylic on Canvas 90 x 90 cm 2010
Adam Cullen has been named one of the most influential and collectible artists of his generation. He graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from the City Art Institute, Sydney in the mid 1980s which he followed with a Graduate Diploma of Professional Art Studies. He was also awarded an MA in Fine Arts from The University of New South Wales. In 2008 Cullen’s work was the subject of a major survey exhibition, curated by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Cullen has been a finalist numerous times for the Archibald Prize, which he won in 2000 for his Portrait of David Wenham. He later won the Mosman Art Prize in 2005 and the 2008 Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize. His work is in numerous public collections including The National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Art Gallery, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Artbank, Griffith University Art Collection, The University of Queensland Art Museum, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Tweed River Art Gallery, Geelong Art Gallery, and the Monash University Gallery.
Paul Davies creates atmospheric paintings that draw heavily upon American and Australian modernist architecture and explore the relationship between built and natural environments. The paintings are part-stylised, whilst also featuring more abstract painterly motifs, resulting in a thoroughly compelling, contemporary style. The artist creates delicate hand-cut paper stencils that provide a perspective, content and detail within a painterly abstract environment. Davies juxtaposes the clean design aesthetic of legendary architects with a variety of rugged landscapes, including Aspen forrests under melancholic blankets of snow. Key to the success of Daviesâ€™ work is attention to detail by virtue of site studies conducted on modernist architecture research tours throughout California and Australia. These 1940s and 1950s buildings are the protagonists in Davies paintings and remain vacant of people to reinforce the original concept of the architecture. Further, by allowing the scene to remain uninhabited, the artist creates a sense of foreboding or surrealist overtones, encouraging the viewer to conjure up their own scenarios within the composition. Davies work looks at both the restored and forgotten modernist buildings in a way relevant to today rather than isolating them in their time. In creating this unique style of landscape painting, Paul Davies cites inspiration from some of the world's greatest living artists such as Peter Doig, David Hockney and David Schnell.
Plate 8: House on Hill Acrylic on linen 153 x 122 cm 2010
Paul Davies received a BA in Fine Art from the University of New South Wales and is currently undertaking a MA in painting at the same school. Davies has had ten solo exhibitions in Sydney, Hong Kong and Los Angeles and has been in numerous group shows. Over the past three years Davies has been commissioned by government and private clients including BYL Companies Philadelphia U.S.A., Historic Houses Trust Australia and Wilson & Hill Architects New Zealand to interpret particular iconic Modernist buildings across America and other countries. His work has been exhibited in several International Art Fairs including Australia, London, New York and Hong Kong.
Julia deVille communicates an important truth in her beautiful yet gothic work; the inevitable onset of death. The artist is fascinated by the way death has been presented throughout the ages, examining the cult of Memento Mori (reminders of mortality) from the fifteenth to eighteenth centuries. DeVille employs materials that were once living to create her unique pieces, such as wood, hair and most memorably the practice of taxidermy. Casting aside taxidermyâ€™s traditional and sometimes morbid reputation, deVille reinvents her subjects as wonderful celebrations of life. The artist adorns her creatures with various jewels akin to the manner in which Victorians sentimentalised death with adornment. In her pieces the artist preserves the innate beauty of nature and presents the precious and fragile quality of all life. Crucial to her work is her humane stance and process, the artist believes strongly in the fair and just treatment of all animals and only uses those which have died of natural causes in her work. DeVilleâ€™s unusual sculptures borrow the motifs of death and infuse them with trinkets and jewels, therefore rejecting the notion of morbid decay and monumentalizing the significance of each natural being. Her works celebrate the beauty of living in the present rather than obsessing about the unknown details of the future which will, in any case, ultimately end for every living creature. Her directness and cultivation of a twenty first century Memento Mori is confronting but ultimately uplifting, inspiring us to live in the moment and celebrate life. Plate 9: Orcus Stillborn piglet, diamonds, freshwater pearls, sterling silver, wood, glass 32 x 30 x 36 cm 2010 Courtesy Sophie Gannon Gallery, Melbourne
Julia deVille was born in New Zealand and relocated to Melbourne as a teenager where she now lives and works. The artist also creates jewellery, incorporating her taxidermist practice. She has an advanced Diploma from NMIT in Gold and Silversmithing and has had rigorous training in all aspects of taxidermy. She has had several solo and group shows in Australia, New Zealand, New York, Germany, China, Paris and London.
Doble & Strong
Doble and Strong is an artistic collaboration formed of the British born painter Robert Doble and the Australian Photographer Simon Strong, who both now live and work in Melbourne. Doble and Strong combine their practices in a cohesive and logical manner, allowing photography and painting to effortless coexist as one artform. The artists share an enduring interest in the relationship between scientific advancement and the human condition. Their inaugural exhibition together, ‘First Born’ addressed the concept of physically altering our appearances as a result of advances in the field of cosmetic surgery. The artists raise questions about the ethical and moral side component of this particular form of scientific progress, evaluating the outcomes of humankind manipulating medical practice to pursue ideal beauty as opposed to simply survival. Their artworks take the form of a painted photograph. A careful balancing act between the two mediums results in works that are simultaneously clinical and expressionistic, real and imagined, beautiful and cancerous. The layering of forms and colour produce the sensation of organic growth, or even in some decay. The surface seems to be in a state of flux and the cleanly rendered human anatomy smeared in paint results in psychological tension. In their compelling works, which display both great beauty and a sense of repulsion, Doble and Strong draw attention to the anxieties that persist despite the advancement of science. They show the robust human form to be a thing of great beauty but remind us of its vulnerability and its capacity for emotional and spiritual turmoil.
Plate 10: Dur Mater Gloss enamel on chromogenic print mounted on aluminium composite board 178 x 125 cm 2009
Robert Doble studied in the UK at the Chelsea School of Art, Reigate School of Art and Croydon College of Art. Doble has been exhibiting in Australia since 1998 and is represented in the National Gallery of Victoria, as well as PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Rockhampton Art Gallery. Simon Strong has a BA of Graphic Design from the National School of Design. Strong has been included in numerous group shows including at the TarraWarra Museum of Art, 2007 and at the National Gallery of Victoria 2006-07. Most recently, he was one of five photographers to be included in the exhibition “Phantasia” at the Australian Centre for Photography, Sydney.
At the core of Stefan Dunlop’s work is a prima facie love of painting. For Dunlop, the skill, execution and craft of painting are a subject to be explored visually in and of themselves. His large canvasses feature a myriad of painting techniques including variable paint thickness (additive and subtractive colour, glazes and opaque areas), abstract qualities in paint application, a looseness to the handling of paint and original and unexpected colour combinations. In order to keep his work fresh, the artist insists on the importance of randomness, spontaneity and chance within the work and is wary of repetition both within one canvas and more widely in any series. However, the artist’s fascination with the act of painting and its materials does not prohibit a level of narrative in the work. Far from abstract, the paintings often feature developed compositional arrangements. Dunlop has completed a painting series showing figures in conflict. Based on riot imagery, the subject appealed to the artist’s interest in media exposure of conflict in the Middle East and his love of historical painting depicting violent myth. Through the painting process the narrative becomes elusive and manipulated, sometimes ending up several times removed from the source material. Dunlop recognises the irony in such a process and that the relationship of artist to subject, or even viewer to subject is never straightforward.
Plate 11: Milmerran Oil on linen 152 x 132 cm 2010
The artist has exhibited widely throughout Australia since 2002, when he graduated from studies at Slade Art School in London and Chelsea School of Art. He has exhibited in group shows in London, New York, Hong Kong and the Czech Republic. He has won several prizes in Australia and in 2010 was the Artist in Residence at Texas University. His work is in the Parliament House Collection in Canberra.
Marine Emdur is known for her oil paintings that take as their subject nude swimmers submerged under water. Emdur captures her homeland’s great love of water but takes the frame of reference away from the beach and instead presents timeless images of the human form enjoying expansive surfaces of uninterrupted water. The languid nudes surrender themselves to the ocean, their warm bodies juxtaposed against the cool water. Central to Emdur’s work is scale; the large canvasses display the weightless human form in all its splendor, but also give it room to breathe in its state of complete immersion. Despite the remoteness of the underwater landscape, Emdur creates a participatory environment in each of her dreamlike images by blurring the lines between the subject and the viewer – we cannot help but become metaphorically submerged into the underwater oasis. When taking two figures as her subject, the paintings take on a sensual overtone as the nude couple explore the water’s depths with reckless abandonment. There is a great freedom at the heart of Emdur’s compositions, which show each of her cast of figures touched by sunlight streaming through the water’s surface. Some works features deeper darker water lurking beneath and thus the body is seemingly suspended between two realms.
Plate 12: Valentine II Oil on linen 183 x 198 cm 2010
Emdur is a masterful oil painter, perfectly capturing the fluidity of her subject and the complexity of light distortions underwater. Largely self taught, the artist confesses to having an innate and incurable love of painting and has been painting water since her first solo show in Bondi, Sydney in 1997. Critical acclaim quickly followed and the artist has had regular solo shows at The Art House Gallery and more recently at The Tim Olsen Gallery, Sydney. In 2010 Emdur held her first solo exhibition in Hong Kong with The Cat Street Gallery. In 2003 Emdur was a finalist for the Archibald Prize and is the recipient of several awards including the Waverly Prize and Kings Prize.
Juan Ford explores the limits of realism in his finely executed oil paintings. Ford’s work displays a preoccupation with the Australian natural landscape, specifically the nation’s typical flora, which links him to a great lineage of Australian landscape painters. However, Ford’s paintings mark a significant departure from the naturalism of his predecessors as the flowers and plants are represented with modern synthetic additions. In his work Ford reengages with the Australian art canon in a fresh way by referencing figuration, landscape and botanical illustration in one expanded rendering of ‘Australian-ness’. Bundles of gum leaves or Banksia flowers are shown wrapped in gaffa tape, cellophane or electrical cable. The exquisite renderings of the suffocating modern materials serve to highlight the artist’s great technical expertise. Moreover they also draw us into a dialogue about the difficult relationship between the natural environment and the urbanized society which the majority of us inhabit. Ford selects iconic Australian flora to underscore the potency of his compositions, it is as if he has taken national emblems hostage. The imagery is darkly sophisticated, featuring a subtly heightened sense of brightness and corresponding areas of shade. The raw, organic leaves and stems are cruelly juxtaposed against the harsh, adhesive and potentially destructive synthetic hardware that has been imposed upon them. For all their vulnerability in the compositions, one cannot help but wonder if the plants would look as menacing if the composition was organized in the opposite fashion. Ford imbues every work with great primal strength and potency, signaling the power of realism and to the complex relationship between nature and society.
Plate 13: One Last Embrace Oil on linen 107 x 122 cm 2009
Juan Ford was awarded a BA with 1st class honours in 1998 and completed his MA in 2001, both at RMIT. He has been the recipient of a number of grants and prizes including a 2005 Australia Council Studio Residency in Rome, the prestigious Fletcher Jones Art Award, and the Conrad Jupiters Art Prize. He won the People’s Choice prizes in 2004 for both the ABN Amro Emerging Artists Art Prize and the Salon des Refuses. Ford has also been included in a number of important group and survey exhibitions including Glacier: Contemporary Painting, which toured Australia from 2001 to 2003. In 2010 Ford won the Basil Sellers Art Prize, People's Choice Award and was a finalist in the Wynne Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales amongst other important prizes.
In her paintings, prints and drawings Belinda Fox creates delicate works with ink that are loaded with meaning. Existing somewhere between light figuration and subtle abstraction, the artist’s layered surfaces are emotive and uplifting. Fox takes a very personal approach to her art, drawing inspiration from her own life and how she navigates the world. Her openness is refreshing and her honesty is rewarded in the sometimes romantic and always contemplative works. Fox’s motifs are drawn from a variety of sources including the natural world, political conflict, spirituality, both organised and personal, and motherhood. The artist has traveled widely, making extensive trips throughout Asia which lends her work great depth. Always drawing from her own experience, each work is a layered symphony of form and line. Some forms repeat throughout the page and others disappear, perhaps leaving just a silhouette or ghost of their former presence. In this way, Fox subtly represents key aspects of human experience, namely memory and the various and sometimes conflicting paths in life. The works are seductive; the bolder shapes give way to areas of remarkable intricacy, inviting further contemplation.
Plate 14: Remain Drawing and painting on paper 200 x 140 cm 2010
Belinda Fox received her BA in Printmaking at The Victoria College of the Arts in 1996 and her Graduate Diploma from The University of Melbourne in 1999. She has had several solo exhibitions as well as participating in over 15 group shows throughout the country. In 2009 Fox was listed amongst The Australian Art Collector’s 50 Most Collectible Artists. She has been the recipient of numerous prestigious grants and residencies. Her work is in numerous collections including The National Gallery of Australia, The Print Council Of Australia, Banyule City Council, Burnie Art Gallery Tasmania, Wollongong University New South Wales, Fremantle Arts Centre, and Swan Hill Regional Gallery in Victoria.
Born in Scotland and now based in Sydney, James Gordon has become known as one of Australia’s most creative personalities. Gordon works across a range of artistic forms including graphic design, retail design, photographic styling and the fine arts. Gordon’s delicate watercolours and sculptures are his most direct and intimate creative output, revealing his flair for transforming the everyday and his exquisite eye for detail. His artworks take as their subjects things often overlooked or considered only as part of a larger picture such as international bank notes, feathers, gum leaves, ribbons, flowers and insects. Gordon transforms each into a subject worthy of sustained attention in his gentle portraits. The crumpled international banknotes speak not of hard currency but of places visited and time passing. His gum leaves and ribbons are given new lives as alphabet characters, recalling our youth and our sense of attachment to our initials which we carry through life. Gordon’s watercolours are set in floating box frames and are easily mistaken for sculptural pieces. Likewise his paper sculptures shown in the same fashion are often confused for beautifully rendered watercolours. The play on form and medium underlines Gordon’s glorification of the artform of obsessing over detail and allowing the ordinary to be extraordinary.
Plate 15: Found,not plucked #1 Gouache & watercolour 52 x 52 cm 2011
James Gordon has regularly exhibited his popular watercolours and painted objects in Sydney and Melbourne since the early eighties. Gordon’s illustration work has been published in a range of leading international magazines and a children's book. Other highlights of his multifaceted career include design work for the successful Sydney 2000 Olympic Games bid, a continuing creative collaboration with Collette Dinnigan, creating Vogue launch events in Asia and working with Baz Luhrman and Catherine Martin on various projects.
Central to Gina Haywoodâ€™s practice is her mastery of the charcoal medium, transforming something raw into a delicate mark making tool. Due to their sophisticated, monochromatic aesthetic, upon first glance one could be forgiven for mistaking Haywoodâ€™s works as straight up photographs. However, closer inspection reveals complex sequences of texture and the precise application and removal of charcoal to the surface. Haywood has effectively created a fusion of contemporary digital images and traditional mark making using organic charcoal. The results are at once delicate and bold, sensual and classic.
Plate 16: Panthus IV Charocal and chalk on stonehenge paper 76 x 57 cm 2010 2
Plate 17: Panthus V Charocal and chalk on stonehenge paper 76 x 57 cm 2010
Haywood primarily draws inspiration from the natural world in her work, choosing particularly photogenic subjects that lend themselves to her unique approach. One series takes the Moth Plant (Araujia Sericifera), as its focus. The plant is shown in the process of decay having been separating from its roots, however future renewal will be made possible after the pods have dried and burst â€“ dispersing the seeds for future regeneration. The plant is shown to be at once fragile in its demise but strong in its self-sufficiency for remaking itsfuture. Haywood demonstrates that contemplation of the simple plant forms is a pleasure in itself in a world largely urbanized and removed from the natural environment. As such, her work conceptually and physically brings together both the natural world and the man made. Gina Haywood received her Bachelor of Fine Art, Printmaking Major, from the National Art School in Sydney in 2000 where she is now based. Haywood has shown in several group shows and 2008 marked her first solo show at The Iain Dawson Gallery, Sydney. She has been a finalist in the Hutchins Art prize and City of Hobart Art Prize.
Australian portraitist Ralph Heimans confers a fresh, contemporary approach to portrait painting. Key to his work is an unconventional and subtle approach to composition. Heimans presents his subjects as figures within a scene, and so the portrait becomes one subtle aspect of a wider narrative. A young couple may be shown on the street where they live, engaged in their own actions and oblivious to the viewer or the family may emerge from a multilayered composition where the figures each occupy their own physical and psychological space. Each evocative scene that Heimans creates is highly personal to the sitter and extremely detailed, so much that it occasionally takes on surrealistic tones – as occurs when life is imitated so exquisitely in art. Heimans’ paintings are of an absolute academic quality, recalling the approach and concerns of Old Masters of European portraiture and the chiaroscuro and verisimilitude of Velazquez or Caravaggio. And yet there is something distinctly modern about his paintings which are unafraid of including references to the digital age. Heimans’ work is also characterised by an obsessive interest in light, something the artist explores to great effect in every canvas. In one example natural light sweeps across a room illuminating faces and treasured objects, whilst the artificial light from a computer creates sharp bright pools. Deep shadows are formed elsewhere giving the composition a sense of depth and atmospheric reality.
Plate 18: The Boyers Oil on canvas 190 x 250 cm 2010 Private Collection, Hong Kong
Ralph Heimans studied Fine Arts and Pure Mathematics at the University of Sydney and later at the Julian Ashton Art School. By 1996, his commissions included paintings of leading Australian public figures for institutions such as the Compensation Court of NSW and the Australian Army. Three portraits from this period hang in the National Portrait Gallery of Australia. In 1997 Heimans moved to Paris and began a string of portraits for Londonbased collectors. Demand for his large-scale group portraits led to new commissions in New York, Boston, Santa Fe and Paris. Amongst these works, Ralph Heimans' self portrait was exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in London, and his portrait of the French National Rugby team was hung in the Hotel de Ville in Paris. The first official portrait of Princess Mary of Denmark represents Ralph Heimans' most prestigious commission to date. Unveiled by the Princess in 2006 at the National History Museum of Denmark, the painting was celebrated as representing an innovative approach to the genre of Royal Portraiture.
Hanna Hoyne is concerned with the embodied experience of art objects and creates off-beat and surreal mixed media sculptures and installations. Hoyne’s output is diverse, but at the heart of her work is an abiding interest in the human condition and our attempts at defining our conscious world. Hoyne is perhaps best known for her Protectornauts series. In these large installation pieces the artist creates astronaut-type suits from Asian ceremonial papers. Despite their delicate medium, the suits are both commanding and conceptually potent. The ephemeral protection suits protect the psyche, the heart and the soul, not the body. They are installed in space without the body present within them. Her smaller scale pieces, Mind Organs, conceptually complement her larger work. The works are created initially with cardboard and plastic and rendered with fibreglass, glue and plaster and finished with faux gold leaf, taken from ritual Asian ‘joss’ papers. The sculpture seems at once alien and familiar; monumental and delicate. In her works, Hoyne reflects the feats and struggles of the human imagination. In the Protectornaut series, in particular, she considers the way in which we deal with the enormity of science and contentious issues such as genetic engineering.
Plate 19: Lotus Heart Mantra Protection Suit Korean paper and various materials sewn Dimensions variable 2009
Hoyne has exhibited widely in solo and group shows in Australia and is a Helen Lempriere Sculpture Award Finalist. Hoyne was recently awarded a PhD in sculpture from the Australian National University. During her PhD and MA and BA degrees, she has undertaken exchange scholarships in Seoul, Kyoto, Paris and an artist residency in Germany.
Todd Hunter creates expressive, dynamic canvasses which seek to represent the essence rather than the physical matter of things. Described as an â€˜alchemist of formâ€™ his work can not be considered in the traditional sense of either figuration or abstraction. Hunter extracts colour, form and sentiment from the world around him and refashions them in his own vocabulary. Hunter is not disinterested in his subjects, whether they be figures or landscapes, he simply bypasses their literal components and presents them anew, expressively and with great energy. Whilst many of the pieces could be described as displaying a violence of form, there is a duality at play between gentler passages of lyrical, graceful paint application. Like a composer marshalling an unyielding orchestra, Hunter captures the movement of light and form, freezing them in time. His works have a natural rhythm at their core, paralleling the effects of nature and history. The artist cites music as a huge source of inspiration in his work, and there is no denying its abstracted presence in every epic canvas. Hunter is a sophisticated colourist, adopting distinctive combinations with his palette knife and creating a harmony between them.
Plate 20: Out in the Rain Oil on Canvas 160 x 140 cm 2011
Hunter graduated from Griffith University Brisbane, in 1992 and subsequently attended the Julian Ashton Art School in Sydney. Since graduating, the artist has had numerous solo shows throughout Australia and has also been exhibited in a large number of group shows nationally. He has been a finalist of the Sunshine Coast Art Prize, Paddington Art Prize and the Logan National Art Award amongst others. His work is held in several public and corporate collections including Art Bank and the Australian Embassy.
Plate 21: Mrs Plume 2
Leila Jeffreysâ€™ photographs display a fascination with the natural world, specifically the way it can particularly delight in an overwhelmingly urban context. Modern day city dwellers are incredibly far removed from animals and landscapes that would have been common place in daily life over one hundred years ago. The artist celebrates even the smallest references to the natural world that can be enjoyed as respite from metropolitan life, if one takes the time to look.
Plate 22: Lenny 3
Plate 23: Butter Ball 4
Plate 24: Spencer 5
Plate 25: Vincent 6
Plate 26: Cliff 7
Plate 27: Terry 8
Plate 28: Little Holly Squawkamole 9
Plate 29: Suzi Colour photographs 99 x 76 cm each 2010
Her latest series is dictated by a creature that is fairly unseen in art history; the Budgerigar. The iconic Australian bird is presented in all its glory in Jeffreysâ€™ detailed large format photographs. Initially the series might seem like a form of deadpan humour as each bird is presented as a character complete with a kitsch name such as Mrs Plume. But there is more to the images than a superficial enjoyment of monumentalising the miniscule. Small they may be, but each Budgie is larger than life. Jeffreys presents the Budgerigar anew, each small bird has its own particular physical beauty and personality. The artist has not chosen her subject at random, rather she is student of ornithology and has traveled around the world studying various species in migration to satisfy her love of birds. She has photographed and assisted scientists in their study of endangered birds on Christmas Island and even been welcomed into the quirky world of pedigree budgerigar 'best in show' bird competitions. The artistâ€™s affection is deeply felt in her portraits and has a contagious quality, reminding the viewer of the pleasure to be found in the smallest signifiers of the great animal kingdom. Leila Jeffreys graduated with a Bachelor Of Arts Degree with a Major in Photography from Curtin University in Western Australia in 1994 which she followed with the completion of a Certificate of Photography from Ultimo TAFE. Based in Sydney, Leila has 10 years publishing experience working for every major magazine house including ACP Magazines, Pacific Magazines, EMAP and FPC.
Alan Jones employs painting, sculpture and mixed media installation in his exploration of identity, both individual and collective. Jones takes a personal approach in his art, drawing heavily upon his own cultural and genealogical identity, a rare move in the wider scheme of twentieth century art. It is not uncommon to find a self-portrait of the artist alongside figures from the late eighteenth century British Empire. Jones has traced his family’s roots back to the arrival of convict Robert Forrester in the First Fleet. Forrester arrived on The Scarborough in early 1788 and settled with Isabella Ramsay in Green Hills (now known as Windsor), an area where Jones has lived and worked in recent years and continues to draw inspiration from. The artist uses his own family history as the genesis for further investigation into notions of what it means to be Australian, both today and in the past. Although much of Jones’ imagery draws from colonial motifs, the artist does not adopt a singularly political approach. Rather, his art is a vehicle for larger discussions about the intricacies of human connections and how his own family history has directly influenced his life and now his artwork. Jones moves between the mediums of painting and sculpture, employing a fresh, witty and sometimes knowingly naive style in each. For all their visual accessibility – we recall the soft heads hand sewn by Jones and installed in a bright yellow BBQ - there is a distinctly sophisticated content at their core. Jones has managed to unite the story of European settlers of centuries past with the concerns of modern Australians in works which transcend their contemporary physical origin.
Plate 30: The Crown Jewels Metal, fabric, synthetic fur, plastic and dimonties 58 x 62 x 62 cm 2010
In 1997 Jones was awarded his BA of Fine Arts at the National Art School in Sydney. Jones has since furthered his education abroad as the recipient of the 1997 Inaugural Pat Corrigan Travelling Art Scholarship and the 2004 Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship. Alan Jones has held 12 solo exhibitions and has been involved in over 80 group exhibitions throughout various commercial, regional and state galleries. In 2008 Jones won the Paddington Art Prize for landscape painting. In 2010 his work was acquired by the prestigious Kedumba Collection of Contemporary Australian Drawing and he was the recipient of the Kedumba Drawing Award. Other important public collections that have acquired Jones’ work include: Artbank, Macquarie Group and the Gold Coast City Art Gallery.
Jennifer Keeler-Milne creates opulent oil paintings and large scale charcoal drawings. Central to Keeler-Milne’s work is an enduring interest in light; in her drawings and canvasses the artist represents light fading, dimming, refracting and even manmade light. Frequently heavily abstracted, KeelerMilne’s works transcend their subject matter, conjuring the intangible in painted form or drawn line. The artist’s paintings employs deep texture and dramatic chiaroscuro, often setting daubed bright colours against rich dark backgrounds. One gets the sense that her work is intuitive, layered compositions seem to be organically commenced and halted rather than contrived. Keeler-Milne is an artist who plays on our senses, conjuring schemes with a subtle vibrancy and energy. In a typical work multicoloured daubs of paint buzz across the dark field, like colliding fireflies competing for centre stage. And yet her work has a distinct sense of quiet and timelessness, conjuring a sense of the past in contemporary form.
Plate 31: Wattle's Light Oil on canvas 61 x 61 cm 2010
Jennifer Keeler-Milne studied at Melbourne State College, the Victorian College of the Arts, and the College of Fine Arts in Sydney. She has held numerous solo exhibitions in Australia, and participated in over 30 group exhibitions in Australia and England. The artist is frequently selected for the prestigious Dobell Drawing Prize and in 1991 Keeler-Milne was awarded the Fred Williams Family Prize. Her work is held by Artbank, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, the Lord Reith collection as well as many private collections in the USA, France England and Australia. Keeler-Milne has produced two children’s art books, My Big Art Adventure: What Colour is That? and My Big Art Adventure: What Number is That?
Aaron Kinnane conjures vibrant expressionistic works, usually taking one subject and creating a mysterious, interconnected series of work. Most notably Kinnane has being working with an equine theme, presenting a myriad of horses and associated imagery such as rocking horses. His energetic paintings and photographs display a deep affection for the beasts, who are depicted in bold colours against an atmospheric dark background. Kinnane describes his visual transformation of the animal’s hide as “skins tattooed with fireworks and dawns, and new life.” Equestrian narratives and mythology are an endless subject in art; we need only think of the Trojan Horse, the Four Horses of the Apocalypse, Surya the Indian God in his animal form, Centaurs, historical battle paintings or even equine portraits by Stubbs, not to mention iconic sculptures such as the San Marco bronzes or Donatello’s Gatamelata. Kinnane’s work both belongs to and is indebted to this history, and yet manages to bring something fresh to his ancient muse. His beasts are proud and majestic like their predecessors, but they are also mysterious, playful, spiritual and at times vigorously independent of our gaze and at others whimsical and childish.
Plate 32: When Extraordinary Things Happen to Ordinary People Oil on canvas 160 x 150 cm 2010
Aaron Kinnane graduated with a BA in Visual Art from Newcastle University in 1998. As an art graduate, Kinnane went to Italy and began his career assisting one of Italy’s most noted contemporary artists and a key character in the 1960’s clique of Andy Warhol, Sandro Chia. Chia lived in a magnificent 12th century castle overlooking the village of Montalcino and Kinnane spent months there learning from the Master and travelling through Europe delivering his paintings. In 2009 Kinnane was invited to attend the wedding of Actor/Singer Ben Lee in an Ashram Village in India that was later the subject of his Archibald Prize entry. Kinnane has had five solo exhibitions throughout Australia, one of which sold out over night, and has exhibited in numerous group shows in Australia and Italy.
Jasper Knight is known for his bold paintings that straddle the worlds of high art and everyday images. Knight’s paintings employ bright colours in blocks, but avoid flatness and simplicity due to the organic way in which the paint drips down the canvas. The works are also spatially innovative, playing with traditional perspective points. Knight constantly creates new departures in his work, employing a whole host of materials, most notably Perspex, enamel, plywood and found objects such as tiles and discarded signs. By virtue of the inclusion of such materials the pieces are what might be called ‘sculptural paintings’, straddling the border between the two disciplines. Knight has also created sculptural and collage works and even large scale installations. Increasingly Knight’s work is becoming more abstract, exploring the architecture of line and the added readymade forms that exist within the surface. Often Knight utlilises objects which relate to the pictorial subject, for instance his series of images based on ports incorporated discarded objects found on location. The surface of the artwork therefore has its own history of trade and industry.
Plate 33: Overpass at Blackwattle Bay Enamel on perspex, peg board and found signs on board 150 x 150 cm 2010
Jasper Knight has a MA majoring in paintings and drawing from the University of New South Wales and a BA in Visual arts from The University of Sydney. In 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2010 Knight was a finalist in the Archibald prize. He was also exhibited in the Wynne Prize in 2005 and 2006. In 2007 he opened Chalk Horse gallery with the generous support of the Australia Council and the City of Sydney. Knight has had shows in Hong Kong, Berlin, London, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.
Janet Laurence is one of the most established and respected artists of her generation. For over thirty years she has been creating new departures in her artistic enquiry producing paintings, sculptures, photography, site-specific installations and architectural intervention. Laurence is not an artist easily categorised; her work skirts the boundaries of art, science, architecture, nature, the imagined world, history and memory. Laurence examines the complex relationships between natural environments and organic phenomena with manmade constructions and the built environment. When referencing architectural forms or the practice of photography, Laurence maintains a distinct sense of the organic and creates a transient hybrid form which corresponds neither solely to the laws of nature or science. Like an alchemist, Laurence displays a fascination with blending materials, resulting in poetic, thought provoking pieces. Laurence frequently employs screens and veils in her artwork which act as metaphors for memory and history. Their transparent quality recalls the passing of time and the constantly changing status of the natural world. Whether creating massive installations referencing greenhouses or small handheld photographic works, the use of translucent layers lend the pieces meditative reflections and contemplative shadows. Laurence displays a deep ecological understanding of the environment and the precarious place of humans within it, ultimately inspiring awe in the viewer when presented with the magnitude of the natural world.
Plate 34: Last Glance in the Glass Duraclear on shinkolite acrylic, mirror, oil glaze 100 x 140 cm 2010
Janet Laurence exhibits her work around the world and her impressive public exhibition record includes the 2010 Sydney Biennale, the 9th Biennale of Sydney in 1992 and Australian Perspecta (1985, 1991, 1997). Her work has been included in several Australian survey exhibitions and in 2006 a monograph of the artist was published by Pesaro. Laurence has executed numerous public commissions and international projects including: Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Australian War Memorial, Canberra; The Edge of the Trees (with Fiona Foley), Museum of Sydney; award-winning windows for the Central Synagogue, Sydney; In the Shadow, Sydney 2000 Olympic Games; a permanent display at the Melbourne Museum and the Australian War Memorial (with Tonkin Zulaikha Greer architects) in Hyde Park, London.
Sam Leach employs a masterful academic approach to his intimate paintings that deal with the price of human technological advancement. The artist draws on the aesthetics of Seventeenth century Dutch art and human progress made in this significant period of European history. The Netherlands played a central role in scientific enlightenment and was also pivotal in the development of the modern commercial corporation. In his work Leach draws parallels between their historic advent and the modern industries they have become. A preoccupation of Leach’s work in recent years is the animal kingdom, specifically the relationship between animals and human technology. His painstaking representation of birds, mammals, primates and even insects recall the exquisite realism of his seventeenth century predecessors. It is in the artist’s comparably avant-garde compositions and delicate flourishes of gesture that the unsettling modern element is skillfully introduced. In some his protagonists are set against a rich, dark background, isolated and greedily observed. In more recent works creatures occupy a modernist abstract space far removed from their natural environments. Leach’s style lends itself to quiet contemplation and focused attention. The viewer is compelled to witness the subject in all its splendour. However, marvel quickly gives way to a sense of the macabre when we come face to face with the presumption that human progress is unquestionably superior to everything else in nature and consider where this has taken us.
Plate 35: Fons et Origo Oil and resin on wood and brass 33 x 35 cm 2010
Sam Leach completed a BA of Economics at Adelaide University in 1993. He studied at RMIT in Melbourne, graduating with a BA in 2003, Honours Fine Art in 2004, and an MA in 2005. Leach was a finalist in the prestigious Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in both 2008 and 2009. In 2010 Leach won the Archibald Prize and also the Wynne Prize, one of only three artists to be awarded both prizes in the same year. Leach has held ten solo shows in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide. He has been voted one of ‘Australia’s 50 Most Collectable Artists’ by Australian Art Collector. His work has been exhibited in several institutional and major group exhibitions and his paintings are held the public collections of La Trobe University, Geelong Art Gallery, Coffs Harbour Regional Gallery, Gold Coast Regional Art Gallery and Artbank.
Tony Lloyd explores the relationship between natural and constructed worlds in his dramatic realist paintings. The artist has cultivated a style subtly removed from photo-realism, his dark landscapes are cinematic in feel with evocative, soft luminous passages. Lloyd presents the world to us in all its vast splendour, deftly infusing his representational paintings with a sense of awe but also an ominous sense foreboding in the face of the universe. It is not simply his compositions and tonal variations that are thoughtfully observed, Lloyd is also a master of creating intelligent atmospheric scenarios, recalling Hitchcock, Lynch and film noir. Rather than present clear narratives for his reader, Lloyd conjures something more akin to a metaphor, disallowing his canvasses to be fully comprehensible. Bulukadaru takes its name from a small Aboriginal outstation in Arnhem Land, in northern Australia. Whilst on a field trip in the region the artist was inspired by the contrast between daylight and effect of night on a small dirt track; at dusk the area was transformed from an unforgiving dry scrub into a rich enchanting forest. In his landscape our eyes must adjust to the darkness, carefully delineating the path from the silhouetted trees and the ominous sky. The darkness is a uniting force in the work; various details of the landscape are silenced into an uncomplicated presentation. The scene struck the artist as a metaphor for the ways in which humans have interpreted their natural surroundings. Physics tells us that all matter is united through being made of particles and Aboriginal people in the area have devised an animistic idea of everything being connected somehow. In Bulukadaru Lloyd explores the parallels between western physics and Aboriginal ways of understanding the universe.
Plate 36: Bulukadaru Oil on linen 120 x 216 cm 2010
Tony Lloyd lives and works in Melbourne where he studied painting at RMIT University, gaining his MA in 2001. Lloyd has had twenty solo shows and has been included in a number of group exhibitions in Australia and Europe. His work also featured in Heat: Art and Climate Change at RMIT Gallery and most recently Gippsland Art Gallery presented a survey of his work from 1999-2009. Lloyd has twice received grants from the Australia Council for the Arts and has been short-listed for numerous art prizes. The artistâ€™s paintings have been collected by the State Library of Victoria, Gippsland Art Gallery, Artbank, Macquarie bank, BHP Billiton, the City of Whitehorse and many individual private collections in Australia, Japan, Europe and U.S.A.
Joanna Logue paints atmospheric semi-abstract canvasses that echo the forms and essence of her natural surroundings. Logue has a strong emotional connection to the Blue Mountains where she lives and works and the sublime landscape is the unapologetic protagonist in her works. Logueâ€™s canvasses have a depth and fluidity, partly cultivated by her manner of working which is to tackle several works at once, from which a series emerges. Like Monet and the Impressionists before her, the artist is not compelled by any one view but rather capturing an essence of the natural world as it changes and shifts continually. In her atmospheric and gentle canvasses details are stripped away, paint is literally wiped from the surface and the landscape is distilled into a sophisticated impression. Despite her immersion both physically and mentally in her subject, Logue is not opposed to using photography to create her compositions. However, she avoids flatness and stillness in her works by using multiple images and revisiting segments over a period of time. Thus the viewer is given a richer experience of the terrain and what walking through the landscape might feel like as opposed to a singular perspective. Despite the site-specific inspiration, Logueâ€™s aesthetic has a universal appeal, her approach allows her paintings to transcend the original setting and distinguish themselves as metaphors for landscape at large.
Plate 37: Apple Tree - Essington Oil on linen 138 x 92 cm 2010
Joanna Logue received her Bachelor of Arts at The City Art Institute, Sydney in 1998. She has had over 20 solo exhibitions throughout Australia, most recently at The Tim Olsen Gallery. Her work is in numerous collections including the Ampol Collection, Art Bank, Barclays Bank, Cornell University, Qantas, Australian Art Investment Trust, The Pat Corrigan Collection, Macquarie Bank, NSW University and Bathurst Regional Art Gallery.
Camie Lyons creates graceful sculptures and drawings from organically inspired lines and shapes. To create her sculptures the artist casts tree branches in bronze, literally taking nature’s forms and immortalising them. Lyons celebrates the raw line and imperfect shapes of nature whilst simultaneously imbuing them with rhythm. A primary preoccupation for Lyons has been to capture dance, to trace the lines made while moving, which she has been doing successfully for many years in what she refers to as her ‘solid drawings in space’. Using metallic finishes and even bold colour flocking, the line of the sculpture reminds one of a drawing in that there is more negative space than sculpted material. In this negative space dynamic energy is captured and allows the sculpture to be viewed from many perspectives and even turned on their sides. In her work, Lyons tries to find balance and beauty in the constant cycle that is memory, perception and daily life. The artist has a background in dance which equips her with a keen sense of timing, rhythm and line.
Plate 38: Wings in the Big Blue Flocked bronze 62 x 60 x 46 cm 2010
Camie Lyons has a MA, majoring in sculpture from College of Fine Arts in Paddington and a BA, major sculpture, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. Lyons has exhibited her work in numerous solo and group exhibitions since 1996, most recently exhibiting with The Tim Olsen Gallery. A finalist in the Dobell Drawing Prize, Lyons has shown her work in the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Lyons has been awarded several public commissions, her work lending itself perfectly to outdoor and public spaces.
Guy Maestri employs both pure abstraction and figurative painting, and something in between, to examine the contemporary world and its environments. The artist displays an interest in natural landscapes and human folly, often causing the viewer to question their place in the wider scheme of things. Maestri is known for his ability to work in more than one style, often dramatically altering the appearance of his work from one year to the next. In his most recent works Maestri has returned to the subject of the Australian rural landscape, depicting his homeland with a vigorous and expressive, yet non-abstract approach. In contrast, prior investigations into the Australian landscape were executed in a purely abstract manner, using raw, gestural brushstrokes and literally scarring the surface of the canvas with the end of the brush. Between these two series of works Maestri created â€˜The Soundtrack of Our Livesâ€™ which straddled two aesthetic realms. The weighty paintings and exquisite pen drawings dealt with the cycles of nature and the notion of time, for instance representing how a glacier carves a gorge through a mountain moving at just one inch per year. The artist took the viewer on a journey from from prehistory, to early explorers, to glaciers cutting through mountains and finally to contemporary pulp trash imagery. Whether working in a purely abstract fashion with deeply symbolic motifs and thick trenches of paint or in a precise, tightly controlled style, Maestri creates deeply atmospheric pieces which are intrinsically connected to the place they are inspired by, whether it be floodlands, bush, rural fields or even Chinese communities.
Plate 39: Robertson Oil and enamel on linen 152 x 183 cm 2011
Guy Maestri received a BA in Painting from the National Art School in Sydney. He has had ten solo exhibitions and shown his work in several group shows. In 2009 Maestri won the Archibald Prize win for his stirring portrait of Indigenous singer, Geoffrey Gurrumul. He was a finalist for the Dobell Drawing Prize in both 2007 and 2008. In 2010 Maestri completed an artist in Residency programme at Red Gate Gallery in Beijing and subsequently exhibited his work at the Gallery.
James McGrath takes Baroque painting and architectural traditions as the starting point for his painting, prints, video and plexiglass panels. The artist deftly navigates an accomplished old master style with contemporary materials and innovative spatial techniques, simultaneously deconstructing the notion of the Baroque original and modernising it.
Plate 40: Baroque Interior Oil on linen 158 x 219 cm 2009
McGrath draws upon the layered imagery and voluptuous density drawn directly from the art, design and architecture of seventeenth century Europe. The artist employs sophisticated 3D cloth simulation software to visually amalgamate different motifs together, whether they be Catholic or mythical, still lifes, exquisite draperies or figures. The resulting image is often amplified, fragmented and distorted. The artistâ€™s work deconstructs the notion of realism in Baroque and seventeenth century art and presents a heightened, surrealistic vision of this potent visual world. In attempting to bridge these historical elements and the contemporary, he has produced some of the most sensuous and luscious works in the present art scene. â€¨ McGrath studied the techniques and principles of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century masters at the studio school of Patrick Betaudier in Paris. Before graduating as an architect he worked as a studio assistant with Australiaâ€™s greatest expressionist painter, Arthur Boyd. Whilst a lecturer at New South Wales University he was awarded several prizes for architecture and art, including the Australian Postgraduate Award and a residency in Paris. Over the last ten years he has exhibited in New York, London, Sydney and Paris. He has also produced highly original digital installations and videos commissioned by several Australian museums and subsequently presented at the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles, in 2000.
Julian Meagher is a medical doctor turned realist painter who makes inquiries about the human body and spirit by addressing the relationship between the internal and external workings of the body. He often draws on the field of medical imaging, namely anatomical studies, to explore the ways in which the body is depicted by artists. Meagher applies multiple thin glazes over many sittings, achieving an almost watercolour-like effect. He refers to his practice as a form of 'messy neat realism', where the narrative of the work comes from the surface history of a simple symbolic object. Recently Meagher has taken Asian art and flora as his primary source of inspiration, creating beautifully rendered orchid flowers in traditional ‘Ming’ vases. However Meagher refashions the motifs in a distinctly western painting manner and even modernises the Japanese vase by including tiny cans of beer in the traditional domestic interiors. Far from flippant appropriation, Meagher draws on traditional imagery to highlight contemporary issues in society and culture, namely Australian masculinity. Reflecting his knowledge of anatomy, the orchid is used because the word derives from the Greek ‘Orchis’ or testicle. The use of pastel pink throughout the series refers to the irony intrinsic to modern male masculinity. Past works have taken tattoo art as their focus. In these works the artist perfectly renders body parts in isolation that bear intricate tattoos. The physical and the creative are a powerful duality in Meagher’s work; his tattooed limbs combine an ornate beauty with a great strength. What is at stake in these works is the surface of the skin as the mediator between the inside and the outside, the abject and the symbolic, the face onto the world and the bones beneath.
Plate 41: You Can Get It Talkin' Oil on linen 120 x 80 cm 2010
Julian Meagher has exhibited his work in ten solo exhibitions throughout Australia since 2007 and his work has been shown in several group exhibition. In 2009 he was the recipient of a Grant from the Australia Council of the Arts as well as being selected into Artbank. He has been a finalist in the Doug Moran Portrait Prize, the Salon des Refuses, Metro 5 Art Prize, Blake Prize for Religious Art and the RBS Emerging Artist Prize.
Linton Meagher puts his two degrees in art and medicine to remarkable use in his artworks which are known for their unusual physical content - his work is often formed from empty pill capsules or scalpel blades. Meagher places each pill or blade individually like a tessarae in a mosaic and then applies a resin. When taken out of their ordinary context the pills or blades, usually considered clinical and even menacing, can be transformed to create an evocative and beautiful image. When hung and lit the finished artworks transcend their components, but close inspection reveals the intriguing materials from which they are composed. Having studied at Sydney hospital to be a doctor, Meagher is in the unique position of being able to channel his insights into the world of medicine into his art. Inevitably, one cannot help but consider the increasing role that prescription drugs play in peopleâ€™s lives, especially in a provocative figurative scene formed of curvilinear lines of pills. Recently Meagher has created new departures in his work by employing a range of other mass produced items in multiple form, including watch faces, golden bullets and dollar bills. Meagher always creates a memorable juxtaposition between media and form; tiny watchfaces are fashioned to create safari animals, golden bullets may be shaped into a gun or a flower, or scalpel blades into a graceful female nude.
Plate 42: Tiger Watches in resin on perspex 165 x 120 cm 2011
Meagher studied at the Julian Ashton School of Art in Sydney and received his BA at the University of Sydney in 1996. He has had several successful solo and group exhibitions since 2005 in both Australia and Hong Kong. His work is in many private collections internationally and corporate commissions include pieces for Blackmores and the World Health Organisation.
Lara Merrett conjures abstract paintings that are at once bold and soothing. Her canvasses are characterised by generous swathes of bright colour and corresponding areas of stillness or dark hues. The artist employs both ink and acrylic, lending the work a richness and depth. Merrett is a skilful colourist, defty balancing sublime shades that both clash and harmonise throughout the canvas, seemingly of their own accord. There is a great sense of intuitive freedom in the works as she navigates her way around her topographies of the unknown. The works are freed from the confines of representation, but there is undoubtedly a sense that some areas of the picture are close to representing something if only we were privy to another perspective or slightly different angle. Merrett acknowledges the scores of abstract artists who have come before her, notably those with a calculated unexpressive approach and in doing so her emotive works are not without irony. Merrett has aptly been described as possessing a romanticized approach to abstraction that strikes a chord with a viewer keen to experience an expressive â€˜othernessâ€™. The paintings play with the contrasts between abstraction and representation, opacity and transparency, boldness and stillness and conscious and unconscious mark-marking. It is somewhere between all of these opposite forces that the finished canvas triumphantly emerges.
Plate 43: Side by Side Synthetic polymer paint & ink on linen 230 x 185 cm 2010
Lara Merrett has had nine solo shows and been in numerous group shows throughout Australia. The artist has a BA in Fine Arts and an MA in Painting from the University of New South Wales. Merrettâ€™s work is in the collections of Artbank Melbourne, University of New South Wales Sydney, Bundanon Estate, RACV, Macquarie Bank and UBS Australia.
Clinton Nain considers the history of his homeland in his potent paintings and performance art. Nain exposes the crimes against traditional landowners of the country by European settlers, tackling these difficult subjects with a sophisticated wit and occasionally injecting a seemingly absurd humour. Nainâ€™s life has been shaped by Aboriginal politics; he attended his first Aboriginal land rights protest when he was just one month old with his activist mother. Nain creates vivid abstract canvasses and employs domestic materials for his mediums, such as heritage coloured house paint, bitumen paint and household bleach. In his work the artist employs a range of motifs that refer to the dominant culture and are symbolic of its power, ranging from language, religion, land, country, crown to colonisation of the dispossessed. Nain is well known for his White King, Blak Queen series, a visual pun on colour and sexuality. The series explored the tainted path of colonisation through a unique and vital black feminine perspective, challenging white masculine dominance. Through performance, storytelling and staining fabrics with bleach, the Blak Queen boldly quests for equality. Nain explored these ideas further in his later exhibition, Whitens, Removes Stains, Kills Germs. Though seemingly similar, every motif in the Target series are individually distinct, like the humans they stand as metaphors for. The concept of Aboriginal people as targets comes from several appalling accounts of colonising whites using bound captives for shooting practice.
Plate 44: Hit the Target Arcylic and bitumen on linen 50.8 X 35.5 cm 2011
Since obtaining his BA at the Victorian College of the Arts and his MA at the University of New South Wales, Clinton Nain has established a significant place in the critical debates of contemporary Australian art. His work is held in the collections of The National Gallery of Victoria, The National Gallery of Australia in Canberra, Queensland Art Gallery, The Australian Museum in Sydney and in several University and corporate collections. He has exhibited and performed widely in Australia and Europe.
John Olsen is considered as one of the Godfathers of Australian landscape painting and one of the most revered living artists in the country. Olsen’s evocative oils and watercolours display a deep affection and relationship with the Australian landscape, through which Olsen has traveled widely. The fact that the artist has lived for long periods in different parts of the land allows him to bring a profound sense of connectivity to his paintings. The viewer witnesses not just landscape painting but Olsen’s deep engagement with the landscape, in its all raw, expressive and emotive detail. Olsen displays the diversity of the Australian natural environment, depicting bush, costal and rural landscape throughout the changing seasons. Even in landscapes one might presume to be arid and infertile, Olsen presents canvasses bursting with life. Each gestural mark, whether a punchy blotch or fluid wavy line, speaks of the complex organisms which combine to make natural landscapes of all kinds. In formal terms his paintings may be considered as belonging to the realm on abstraction, however this is a title the artist would singularly reject, instead viewing his work as “an exploration of the totality of landscape”. In some works the perspective is birds eye, with details of the landscape’s motif and essence overlapping with marks more topographical in nature. The artist is an accomplished colourist, adeptly fusing the synthetic tone with deeply organic palettes in his soulful works. His subject may be drawn from regional landscapes, but his large body of work – which is continually renewing itself - speaks of both the grandeur and intimate majesty of the Australian landscape en masse.
Plate 45: Lake Eyre - The Desert Sea Mixed media on Frech cotton paper 153 x 102 cm 2010 Courtesy of Tim Olsen Gallery
Dr John Olsen received an Order of Australia in 2001. In 1977 he was awarded the O.B.E. for services to the Arts and in 1993 he was awarded an Australian Creative Fellowship. He has regular solo exhibitions since 1955 and his work is represented in all Australian state gallery collections, the National Gallery of Australia, Canberra and regional galleries Australia wide. He is also represented in institutional, corporate and private collections in Australasia, United Kingdom, Europe and the United States of America. One of many acclaimed murals, Salute to Five Bells, is currently hung in the Sydney Opera House. In 2005 he was the recipient of the Archibald Prize for his portrait Self Portrait Janus Faced. He was also awarded the Wynne Prize in 1969 and 1985 amongst many other awards throughout his career. He has served on the boards of the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the National Art Gallery.
Based in Hong Kong and Australia, the Scottish sculptor Kirsteen Pieterse draws on an enduring interest in the landscape and the structures that man builds within it. In her architectural pieces and drawings the artist considers the natural world and the effect this power can have upon built environments. Her works are intended to evoke nostalgia, fear and unease and to lead to a questioning of our regard for and relationship to the landscape. The sculptures are deliberately meant to refer to architectural models, but they represent not something about to be undertaken, but structures in a state of disrepair. The stainless steel and acrylic sculptures often appear as unstable remnants of past constructions, braced on the brink of collapse or abandoned and left to be reclaimed by the forces of nature. The artist’s work displays a powerful duality between something which is physically sound but which appears fragile or ruinous. In essence, the precariously leaning works speak of time and erosion and seek to demonstrate the romance and enduring might of the natural world. In her work the artist often makes reference to iconic buildings and sites such as the old Brighton Pier on the south coast of England. One series of work was inspired by Tarkine Forrest in Tasmania. One of the largest wilderness sites in the world with no trace of modern human constructions, Pieterse’s every footstep was privileged. Unlike the lines in her drawings they would not be endlessly erased and reprinted.
Plate 46: Cloudcatcher Mirror stainless steel & clear acrylic rod 73 x 57 x 23 cm 2010
Pieterse studied at the Glasgow School of Art and completed an MA in Art in Architecture. The artist now lives and works in Hong Kong, having moved from Australia where she exhibited widely and lectured in Media and Design at Macquarie University and the University of Western Sydney. In 2009 Pieterse had shows in Hong Kong and at Martin Browne Fine Arts in Australia. In 2008 the artist won the Helen Lempiere Sculpture Award, in 2004 she won the Peoples’ Choice Award at the Woollahra Small Sculpture Prize, and in 2005 she was a finalist in the National Sculpture Prize & Exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia.
Marisa Purcell is a colour field painter who conjures minimal abstract canvasses. Her languid surfaces invite introspection, interrupted by bursts of rich colour. Purcell is an intuitive painter, feeling her way around the canvas in an exploration of colour, space and light. Great abstract art should suspend reality and in these works the viewer is offered both an emotional and physical attraction to savour. The paintings trace the process of discovery itself, acting as a metaphor for memory and time. Purcellâ€™s large canvasses are without gravity, perspective or centre and yet they have a strong magnetic quality. One gets the sense that they not finished, that they are constantly developing visual entities with ongoing formal development. Her work brings to mind the fact that the universe is in the constant act of creation; unseen to the naked eye, billions of changes occur every millisecond, meaning there is no one past and everything is in constant motion. Purcell deals with the overpowering issue of flux in a slow, assured manner, presenting her intoxicating canvasses without start or finish and acknowledging that perception is relative.
Plate 47: Ebbing Space Oil on canvas 122 x 138 cm 2010
Marisa Purcell has held over ten solo exhibitions in Australia, Hong Kong and Switzerland as well as participating in numerous group shows. She has an MA in Visual Arts from the University of Sydney and a BA, majoring in painting, from the University of New South Wales. She has been the recipient of several grants and residencies. She was born in Queensland and is based in Sydney.
Reko Rennie creates bold, urban inspired paintings which draw upon the natural flora and fauna of the Australian landscape. As a Kamilaroi/ Gamilaraay/Gummaroi man, Reko explores what it means to be an urban Aboriginal in contemporary Australian society. Rennie received no formal artistic training but as a teenager discovered graffiti, which would become an all-consuming passion. He quickly began producing original art on the streets of Melbourne. Subsequently Rennie has matured into a highly interrogative artist: his art and installations continually explore issues of identity, race, law and justice, land rights, stolen generations and other issues affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders in contemporary society.
Plate 48: Aborigine (Orange) 2
Plate 49: Aborigine (Red)
Rennie’s work is characterised by vibrant colours, line work and intricate stencil imagery. Drawing inspiration from his Aboriginal heritage, the artist recreates traditional images in a contemporary context using spray paint and stencils. His work often features the characteristic flora and fauna imagery that represent his community. The National Gallery of Victoria Indigenous curator, Stephen Gilchrist, highly commended the artist’s work for his uncompromising politics and technical virtuosity.
Plate 50: Aborigine (Green) 4
Plate 51: Aborigine (Blue) Acylic and spraypaint on linen 83.8 x 106.7 cm 2011
Reko Rennie has exhibited in several solo shows including ‘Native’ at the Dianne Tanzer Gallery in Melbourne and ‘Bora’, at LeMUR Association in Paris and numerous group exhibitions in Australia. His work is held in the Art Gallery of Western Australia and in Koorie Heritage Trust. He has been the recipient of many major awards including the 2009 Cite International des Arts Australia Council Residency, Paris.
The sculptor Alexander Seton works in marble and synthetic stone, creating works of a startling contemporary nature using the traditional and ancient processes of stone carving. Setonâ€™s work combines laborious and admirable craftsmanship of a rare quality with a twenty first century wit and self consciousness. Rarely do we encounter modern works of art which simultaneously recall their Classical and Renaissance forbearers but also their contemporary cultural climate so clearly. Seton seemingly makes the implausible very possible as testified to in his majestic beanbags, toffee apples, concrete barriers and exercise balls. Key works include an inflatable beach toy that is in the process of deflating. The synthetic material, the squishy status and the cartoon like whale shape are all completely at odds with the normal parameters for marble sculptures. Seton has also created an entire series of carved life size t-shirts displaying modern slogans that draw attention to the preoccupation for self expression via clothing. By his choice of material, and his mastery of his craft, Seton elevates his banal subjects into the canon of art history. More than this though, the artist examines the notion of monumentalisation in art and its validity.
Plate 52: That Accursed White Whale Bianco marble 10 x 65 x 165 cm 2010
Alexander Seton lives and works in Sydney. He graduated from the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales in 1998. He has exhibited in numerous major sculpture exhibitions over the years, including Sculpture by the Sea four times since 2002, the McClelland Sculpture Survey 2005, The Helen Lempriere Sculpture Award 2006 and New Social Commentaries 2006. The artist has had a number of solo shows throughout Australia and participated in several group shows such as Flaming Youth at the Orange Regional Gallery and international sculpture symposiums such as the 2007 Hanyu International Sculpture Cup, in Shenzhen in China.
Tim Silver is an artist concerned with transformation and the boundaries of permanence and the temporary. Silver works across a variety of media that includes melted crayons, watercolour pigment and even bubblegum. The artist painstakingly renders a sculpture in weak and impermanent material, bestowing the work a great fragility and aesthetic appeal. Silver then records his works in their varying degrees of decay. A visually compelling and conceptually rich piece is Rory. Silver cast a life size sculpture of a young boy in blue watercolour pigment that the artist had made himself using an old 1940s recipe. The mould was painstakingly built up by layers of 1mm at a time over a period of months. The sculpture was installed with a water droplet positioned over Roryâ€™s eye. Silver catalogued the effect of the dripping water, recording how it eroded his features and gradually collapsed completely having absorbed too much water. Silver draws upon flux theory, highlighting that all forms and systems are in a constant process of change. There is something unsettling about Silverâ€™s approach which is to first appropriate an object of beauty and admiration for his destructive experiment. The whole performance is underscored by the knowledge that it is his own carefully constructed sculptures which the artist willingly forces decomposition upon, capturing the installation through a series of emotionally removed photographs which show the progressive change. Despite conjuring notions of the fragility of life in his work, Silver manages to celebrate mortality as part of a wider cycle of nature and thus finds an uplifting poetry in the inevitable demise of all things.
Plate 53: Rory Series Pigment print on etching rag 38.5 x 38.5 cm 2010
Tim Silver completed a BA at the University of Sydney and an MA from the University of New South Wales in 2000). Tim Silver has held several solo exhibitions including The Tuvaluan Project at GRANTPIRRIE, Sydney in 2007. He has participated in several group exhibitions at prestigious locations including the 47th October Art Salon in Belgrade, Serbia in 2006; McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Park in Victoria in 2006 and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney in 2002. Silver has been awarded several scholarships and grants including the Freedman Foundation Travelling Scholarship in 2004 and an Artspace Studio Residency in 2001. His work features in private and public collections across Australia, the UK and the US.
Tim Summerton has been drawing inspiration from the Australian landscape for over a decade in his soulful abstract paintings. Summerton works with a wet on wet oil application process, manipulating the slow drying time of the medium to great effect in his layered canvasses. By working with combinations of saturated bright tones and more gentle hues, Summerton allows form to emerge as a luminous force from the depths of his complex surfaces. The artist is a masterful colourist, bringing together corals with turquoise or purple with green in a seemingly effortless manner. The Night Nest series takes as it subject the transformation of the familiar terrain in daylight into a mysterious landscape at nightfall. Bright white scratches and lines emerge from the depths of thickly dark midnight blues. Summertonâ€™s work may be abstract, but the connection the artist feels to his natural surroundings is a driving force in his subject matter. The majesty of the lush landscapes in his home of Kangaroo Valley are conveyed in a timeless manner by the artist, extracting the richness of his surroundings and relaying its vitality but also its wholesome, calming effect. Prior to his work in this region, Summerton observed the natural coastal landscape, such as the dunes near Seal Rocks.
Plate 54: Tangled Bloom Oil on linen 183 x 152 cm 2010
Tim Summerton completed a BA at The University of Newcastle, Sydney in 1998 and an Honours degree in Fine Art from the University of New South Wales in 2000. Summerton has been exhibiting with Tim Olsen Gallery in Sydney since 2002 where he launched his solo career and has subsequently had several solo shows. He was the 2009 runner up for the prestigious Kings School Art Prize. His work is included in the Macquarie Bankâ€™s corporate collection and in numerous private collections in Australia, the US, Britain and Asia.
Andrew Taylor creates engaging paintings and silkscreens which draw upon the natural world. Each canvas is testament to the artistâ€™s enduring interest in recording the rapidly moving world around him in the most still manner possible. In a sense, each work is a metaphor for the modern condition which seeks out equilibrium and calm amidst chaos and commerce. Though the artist works in response to intensity of contemporary society, Taylorâ€™s work is neither nihilistic nor pessimistic. These are artworks which are made all the more vibrant by their refusal to be swept up by an industrialized, digitized, commodified and globalised age. Taylor is a truly gifted colourist and his compositions are the product of the creation of a unique visual language, crafted to express the artistâ€™s outlook on the world as he sees it. The artist makes painstaking attempts to source crushed minerals and metals from mines throughout Australia which are applied by hand to the surfaces of the artworks, connecting the work with the landscape not just in formal terms but in a physical sense too. There is an inherent Eastern sensibility to the paintings, most notable in works drawing upon a cherry blossom. The paintings recall an eastern philosophical aesthetic that celebrates serenity and harmony. This, combined with his luminous use of colour and metallics, makes for canvasses that seemingly exist outside of any time or place.
Plate 55: Outside: Arkaba Station Oil on Linen 152.4 x 152.4 cm 2010
Andrew Taylor received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from The Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne. He has shown widely throughout Australia, where he is represented by the Tim Olsen Gallery in Sydney. His work is in several public collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, Shepparton Art Gallery, Art Bank Australia, the Telstra Collection at the Australian National University in Canberra and in several high profile private collections in Australia, USA and France.
Oliver Watts interrogates society, politics and the art world in his paper collage and paintings. For his most recent exhibition Watts turned his attention to the small coastal town of Angourie in New South Wales, a location fast becoming a mecca for tourists and surfers. However, Watts draws our attention to the fact that this land traditionally belonged to the Yaegl people. Watts demonstrates the conflicting narratives at work in this one small place between Australian sovereignty and indigenous sovereignty. The canvasses present idyllic pools of water amidst the bush with gestural and loose brushstrokes, beautifully capturing the shifting sunlight. But the works are not a celebration of pure nature, in actuality they depict manmade pools inadvertently created by hitting a spring during quarry excavations at the turn of the twenty first century. Watts draws our attention to the competing forces of tradition and urbanism and to the multiple narratives implicit in all Australian landscapes. In his collage works on paper, Watts examines the themes and currents of Dada, a provocative anti establishment arts movement from the early twentieth century. Watts’ paper cut out series have proved enormously successful. Part of their great appeal is no doubt because of the combination between the playful ‘naive’ process with powerful political statements. The artist’s work is often satirical and he was a founding member of the Chaser Team as cartoonist and illustrator. Testament to his creative success is the inclusion of his illustrations in the collection of the National Museum of Australia, Canberra.
Plate 56: Crown Land Arcylic on canvas 102 x 122 cm 2010
Oliver Watts submitted his PhD, in art history and jurisprudence, at the University of Sydney in 2009 and lectures at the College of Fine Arts. Watts has shown widely throughout Australia and has recently exhibited in Singapore and China. He has been represented in several art prizes including the Mosman Art Prize, the Helen Lempriere Traveling Scholarship, Brett Whitely Scholarship Exhibition, and won the Noel Chettle Prize.
Joshua Yeldham is inspired by a deep spiritual affinity for the natural landscape and its myths. There is a strong duality at play in Yeldham’s work between direct observations taken from intimate contact with the landscape on field research trips and and between an imaginary realm conjured by the artist. The result is an expressive and carefully calibrated hybrid between the real and the make believe. The artist creates both abstract landscapes and figurative works and employs recurring symbolic motifs, fusing real topography with narrative and myth. Yeldham’s canvasses are extraordinary tapestries, brimming with imagination and attention to detail. His work is literally saturated with motifs, metaphors and an exquisite cornucopia of activity. The owl is a recurring image in Yeldham’s work, so much so that it has come to almost act as a metaphor for the artist, or even perhaps a ghost that haunts him. Known in mythology for their wisdom and ability to be both virtuous and predatory, owls play a distinct and multifaceted role in Yeldham’s unique visual language. Yeldham exhibits a great mastery over his medium and an unrelenting creative energy. The artist treats the creation of his paintings, sculptures and drawings in an expedition–like fashion. Not content to make site visits for inspiration, the artist will literally spend weeks camping in the bush or along the river, immersing himself in his subject so that he might understand the forces of nature, both beautiful and cruel.
Plate 57: Fertility Owl - Castle Bay (dyptich) Blue Shellac on hand made carved paper 200 x 200 cm
Yeldham received his BA from the Rhode Island School of Design in the United States. He has exhibited widely in Australia and been a finalist for the Wynne, Mosman and Sulman art prizes. Aside from international private collections, his work is held in several public and corporate collections including the Australian Stock Exchange and The University of Wollongong.
Book Acknowledgements Wattle Catalogue written in full by Kate Bryan All images courtesy of the artists Catalogue Design The Antithesis 1 Pak Tze Lane, Central www.theantithesis.net
Exhibition Acknowledgements This book was published to accompany an exhibition of the same name WATTLE, Thursday February 24th - Saturday 26th March 2011 The Cat Street Gallery at The Space
222 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong T: +852 2291 0006 www.thecatstreetgallery.com monday - saturday 11am-7pm
210 Hollywood Road, Hong Kong T: +852 2361 1210 www.thespace.hk
Exhibition curated by Kate Bryan and Mandy dâ€™Abo Mandy dâ€™Abo and Kate Bryan would like to give special thanks to: All participating artists, Tim Olsen Gallery, Sophie Gannon Gallery, Iain Dawson Gallery, Alan Pigott, Suzi Muddiman, Fiona Ho, David Mullins, Ann Tsang, Carol Chan, Dennis Lee, Cara Wallace and everyone on The Cat Street Gallery team.