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YHONNIE SCARCE WEAK IN COLOUR BUT STRONG IN BLOOD

LONNIE HUTCHINSON I WILL NEVER FADE AWAY FROM YOU

JANE BARNEY OUT OF THE CORNER OF YOUR EYE


YHONNIE SCARCE WEAK IN COLOUR BUT STRONG IN BLOOD

LONNIE HUTCHINSON I WILL NEVER FADE AWAY FROM YOU

JANE BARNEY OUT OF THE CORNER OF YOUR EYE


YHONNIE SCARCE WEAK IN COLOUR BUT STRONG IN BLOOD Yhonnie Scarce’s work is political in nature, but can only arrive at this point through the personal. Her heritage is from both the Nukunu people, whose land stretches from Port Pirie to Port Lincoln along the coastal region of South Australia, and the Kokatha Mula people, whose land extends from the Mallee to the Eyre Peninsula homelands. Scarce’s practice is concerned with the affect of colonial history on Indigenous Peoples living in current-day Australia. First shown at the 19th Biennale of Sydney, Scarce’s Weak in Colour but Strong in Blood is a powerful installation. On first encounter, the audience sees some kind of medical set-up, blurred through plastic curtains that throw their rippled shadows on to the floor. Walking into the space, the medical instruments, trolleys and shelves become clearer, all stark and clinical. The trolleys are full of vessels modelled from fruit skins such as bush plums, bush bananas and yams, made in glass ranging from very transparent to very dark. The glass is ordered due to its colour - some trolleys show smooth gradients of tone while others have a stark black and white contrast. Some of the glass is intact, other pieces are shattered. The shelves on the back wall of the room are lined with beakers, tubes, scissor clamps, all stretching and contorting the elegant glass forms. These little experiments also seem invested in particular focus on the hue of the vessels. The divergent and natural forms of the fruit skins stand out as greatly different to that of the crisply crafted beakers. Glass is a strong medium, but the way the medical instruments disfigure it is unsettling - more than just shattering it, it alters its material nature. Many vessels shatter and looking at the trolleys, one can’t help but wonder if these were the pieces that didn’t withstand the experiments. The plastic curtains capture sound and blur the outside of the room, making this space feel as though it exists in a memory or a dream, while the sleek mass-produced medical objects make the room feel cold and threatening. Scarce’s work often references the museum space by showing works in the manner of museological displays but here moves on from that by expanding into a navigable space which references real historical place. The clear curtains making it feel like a memory passed down to Scarce through generations, blurry on the edges but nonetheless there. From her statement on the work, Scarce’s installation “references the medico-scientific eugenic practices of the early 1900s, particularly those performed by the Australian


anthropologist and ethnologist Norman Tindale, including Scarce’s own family members.” While clearly working from and commenting on this history, Scarce assumes intelligence on the part of the viewer and lets them reach this point without hammering it in - the unsettling and bleak atmosphere speaks loudly but not blatantly. Scarce’s Weak in Colour but Strong in Blood places the audience in a dark history that still endures today, leaving impressions by such research tragically misrepresenting Aboriginal peoples. The story may be one that directly relates to Scarce herself, but is undeniably the story of many Indigenous Australian Peoples. Angus McGrath, December 2015

Yhonnie Scarce is represented by: Dianne Tanzer Gallery + This Is No Fantasy, Melbourne, Australia


YHONNIE SCARCE

Weak in colour but strong in blood, 2013–14, blown glass and found components, dimensions variable. Installation view of the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Courtesy the artist and dianne tanzer gallery + projects, Melbourne. Created for the 19th Biennale of Sydney. Photograph: Janelle Lowe


YHONNIE SCARCE

Weak in colour but strong in blood, 2013–14, blown glass and found components, dimensions variable. Installation view of the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Courtesy the artist and dianne tanzer gallery + projects, Melbourne. Created for the 19th Biennale of Sydney. Photograph: Janelle Lowe


YHONNIE SCARCE

Weak in colour but strong in blood, 2013–14, blown glass and found components, dimensions variable. Installation view of the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Courtesy the artist and dianne tanzer gallery + projects, Melbourne. Created for the 19th Biennale of Sydney. Photograph: Janelle Lowe


YHONNIE SCARCE

Weak in colour but strong in blood, 2013–14, blown glass and found components, dimensions variable. Installation view of the 19th Biennale of Sydney (2014) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Courtesy the artist and dianne tanzer gallery + projects, Melbourne. Created for the 19th Biennale of Sydney. Photograph: Janelle Lowe


LONNIE HUTCHINSON I WILL NEVER FADE AWAY FROM YOU I Will Never Fade Away From You is a collection of work from Lonnie Hutchinson’s ongoing practice. A Māori (Ngāi Tahu) and Samoan woman, Hutchinson makes work informed by her heritage, feminism and historical issues over a broad range of media. I Will Never Fade Away From You is her most recent exhibition using sculptural, video and paper works. A large steel comb sits in the middle of the gallery, bright red and much too large for a person to use. Drawings of leg-spread naked women decorate the comb and remind audiences of the comb’s relationship to the body. We navigate the gallery space in relation to this object and think about its relationship to our own body - is it too large for us or are we too small for it? This is not just any comb - its shape comes from modern combs worn by Samoan women though also resembles the shape of Samoan thatched huts (fale). The form of the object draws audiences to ethnicity while the images on it remind us of gender. Making several large scale and outdoor works, Hutchinson’s comb was originally going to be a much larger outdoor work where its scale would turn it into more of a rake, combing the hairs of the earth. The red of the comb sticks out against the soft black and white of Hutchinson’s other works on display here. Moving to the sides of the room we come across two videos, one partly covered with a paper veil. It starts at the roof and hangs low in front of the screen giving us just enough space to move through, its design is Hutchinson’s translation of traditional Kowhaiwhai and Koru designs. The shadows it casts emphasise the ephemeral nature of the work - are we focusing on the paper itself or the designs cut out, opening through to the screen? Not transparent, the paper veil occupies space in the physical realm, but the cut out patterns also mean the viewer can see through the work, its form allows it to be more than just one thing. The video playing behind the veil is titled She Could Taste the Salt on Her Lips and is placed well - as the designs in the paper let light move through it, the screen emanates light and pushes it through the empty spaces. Drawn images of women posing provocatively - similar to those of the comb - fade slowly from position to position, flowing like the ocean sounds in the video. One must peer through the holes in the veil to properly see the video and, after forcing our


stare through to the sexualised female body, we realise the voyeuristic nature of our look - the forced gaze upon the sexualised female body. On the opposite side of the room, the other video screens show a work called Fish Eyes in which Hutchinson’s nieces speak with her mother. This work places real people in the discussion occurring in Hutchinson’s work, people closest to the artist. Through showing an intimate scene of home life in the context of the other work, this video emphasises the ongoing historical concerns of Pacific women, these are ongoing concerns spanning over generations. Removed from the drawn and symbolic nature of the other figures, these are real people in a real conversation. The last work is a simple and unconstructed image of a sunset, placing these works in relation to nature. With the sculptural works in I Will Never Fade Away From You, women are spaces where light can shine through, while the comb is a rake for the body of earth. In She Could Taste the Salt on Her Lips women fade through movement like the ocean while Fish Eyes lets us know that these are not imagined women, these are real people in a history with lived experiences. Angus McGrath May 2015

Lonnie Hutchinson is represented by: Bartley + Company Art, Wellington, New Zealand Jonathan Smart Gallery, Christchurch, New Zealand


LONNIE HUTCHINSON Monumental Red Comb Form, 2009, Stainless steel and 2 part paint, 98 x 134cm, Edition of 6


LONNIE HUTCHINSON Monumental Red Comb Form, 2009, Stainless steel and 2 part paint, 98 x 134cm, Edition of 6


JANE BARNEY OUT OF THE CORNER OF YOUR EYE Collage made its grand entrance into the history of art early in the twentieth century. Peter Schjeldahl, said that, “After Picasso and George Braque, collage became the most consequential visual-art form of the twentieth century.” Picasso and Braque in fact coined the phrase from the French verb coller – to glue to stick. With the rise of print media and the ubiquity of photographs in popular culture throughout the 20th century, collage gave artists the freedom to manipulate found images and express new realities. From the fragmented paintings of Analytic Cubism emerged Synthetic Cubism with combined fragments of many media. Dada and Constructivism enthusiastically incorporated elements of collage into their oeuvres while in the 1950s on the cusp of Abstract Expressionism and Pop, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns introduced the third dimension to assemblage. The use of existing imagery from newspapers and magazines is particularly effective in social commentary and this is arguably where collage has been most successful. Where Jane Barney enters into the mix, however, hard copy gives way to elusive digital imagery plucked from ephemeral zones of cyberspace, as well as family slides, holiday snaps, the refrigerator door, wardrobe and room divider. Barney’s seamless digital collages continue to emphasise social issues as seen in her Plane Jane series (2011) where she focussed on the polarising gender stereotypes of the 1960s to produce a paradoxically futuristic vision from advertising that promoted the romance of air travel. With a wry sense of humour and dextrous subtlety, Barney introduced an enigmatic feminist mystique into her colourful car door magnets and laminated ink jet prints on magnetised rubber. Importantly, collage is not only a highly developed art form it is also an established past time, as in the art of decoupage. In Out of the Corner of Your Eye, Barney takes her practice to a new level, animating and presenting her (once still) images in cheap digital frames. These works presented in the black box of CCAS CUBEspace situate the domestic loading of digital frames amongst the hi-tech motivations of conceptual video art. But they do not quite make it ... there is a naïve charm to these moving juxtapositions and, while Barney is never decorating or illustrating, the hand of home-made craft decisively occupies her work. References to the 60s, an era of redefined domesticity and consumerism, sometimes reflects the design and


tone of (for example) The Australian Women’s Weekly from that period. Cutting and pasting with scissors and cursor, however digital the end product, it never loses sight of its handmade origins. Born in 1960, Barney describes her practice in the terms of G.I.C. Ingram who wrote in the same year, “The process of “understanding” something seems to consist of building a structure of thoughts which links it to the great scaffold of which our minds already possess.” Each component of Out of the Corner of Your Eye is part of a stream of consciousness reflecting personal experience that is framed by an outsider charm where the deliberate lack of sophistication engages the audience with an audacious sense of style. Although Barney says rather modestly that she “can’t guarantee any links to the great scaffold in anyone else’s mind….”, one can be fairly sure from the nature of her curiously familiar material that those links will be found in diverse images that celebrate relationships between individual memory and the media of popular culture. David Broker December 2015

JANE BARNEY

Making Quorum (Video Still), 2015


JANE BARNEY A Spin Off (Video Still), 2015


JANE BARNEY On QANTAS they often call me Sir (Video Still), 2015


YHONNIE SCARCE WEAK IN COLOUR BUT STRONG IN BLOOD LONNIE HUTCHINSON I WILL NEVER FADE AWAY FROM YOU JANE BARNEY OUT OF THE CORNER OF YOUR EYE

FRIDAY 4th DECEMBER - SATURDAY 13th FEBRUARY 2015 CANBERRA CONTEMPORARY ART SPACE GORMAN ARTS CENTRE, 55 AINSLIE AVE. BRADDON Tues - Fri 11 - 5 & Sat 10 - 4 www.ccas.com.au

CCAS IS SUPPORTED BY THE ACT GOVERNMENT, AND THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNNENT THROUGH THE AUSTRALIA COUNCIL, IT’S ARTS FUNDING AND ADVISORY BODY.

SCARCE, HUTCHINSON, BARNEY @ CCAS (2015)  
SCARCE, HUTCHINSON, BARNEY @ CCAS (2015)