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MAY/JUN 2021

Maria Fernanda Cardoso Yang Yongliang Jeremy Sharma Darren Sylvester Gregory Hodge Sam Jinks Michael Lindeman Lynda Draper Seth Birchall

Editorial Directors Ursula Sullivan and Joanna Strumpf Managing Editor Harriet Reid


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FRONT COVER: Maria Fernanda Cardoso, Gumnut Sphere, 2021, Eucalyptus gumnuts and seeds, rubber, monster clay, metal Photo credit: Cardoso Studio INSIDE COVER: Yang Yongliang, Doe, 2021, giclee

print on fine art paper, 110 x 110 cm

Sullivan+Strumpf acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of whose lands the Gallery stands. We pay respect to Elders, past, present and emerging and recognise their continued connection to Culture and Country.


Kirsten Coelho, ‘Ship’ 2021. Courtesy: the artist, and Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney. Photograph: Grant Hancock

KIRSTEN COELHO —THE RETURN 7 May – 31 July 2021 UNSW Galleries unsw.to/galleries

Cnr Oxford St & Greens Rd Paddington NSW 2021

OC CURRENT AFFAIR F e b r u a r y – 1 9 J u n e 2 0 2 1 // 1 3 F e b r u a r y – 1 9 J u n e 2 0 2 1 // 1 3 F e b r u a r y


proppaNOW // OCCURRENT AFFAIR // proppaNOW // OCCURRENT AFFAIR // proppaNOW / // V e r n o n A h K e e // To n y A l b e r t // R i c h a r d B e l l // M e g a n C o p e //

n C o p e // J e n n i f e r H e r d // G o r d o n H o o k e y // L a u r i e N i l s e n // V e r n o n A


Gregory Hodge in his Paris studio, 2021 Photo credit: myparisportraits


Glenn Barkley nearwildheaven, 2021 earthenware 23 cm diameter

Maria Fernanda Cardoso 373 Eucalyptus coronate gumnuts in a rectangle, 2020 Eucalyptus coronate gumnuts, metal pins, mount on wall 166 x 138 x 6 cm Photo credit: Mark Pokorny

The Nature of Things Ursula Sullivan+Joanna Strumpf

A google search will bring up a million quotes about art and nature. One of the best is actually from Frank Lloyd Wright, he says “Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you”. And while today it seems that humankind is failing nature, nature continues to give back to us - to artists especially. In this issue we feature artists who continue the great tradition of drawing upon nature, landscape and the environment. We learn about a new body of work by Maria Fernanda Cardoso - a continuation of a projected started more than 10 years ago in remote areas of Western Australia and South Australia with the incredible Tjampi Weavers. These intricate, obsessive installations and sculptures celebrate the complexity and beauty of gumnuts which as Rachel Kent notes are “aesthetic and utilitarian in equal measure.” Shanghai-born, New York-based Yang Yongliang, takes us to a landscape of both the past, the present and the future. Based largely on ancient Song Dynasty paintings, these works harness the technologies of today using images taken and gathered by Yang Yongliang. The result is sublime upon first view, but upon closer inspection, these works are a quiet reminder about what a future may look like if our impact on the fragile landscape goes unchecked. Still on landscape but this time of the urban environment, we delve into Darren Sylvester’s ambitious installations for this year’s iteration of The National at Carriageworks,

curated by Abigal Moncrief. Sylvester takes us for a stroll through New York City shopfronts, to gaze into the cool neon glow of the windows of psychics, which he has seamlessly fabricated and set architecturally into the gallery walls, asking us to slip into the unknown. We welcome Seth Birchall to the gallery family and learn more about his imagined, meditative landscapes – a dreamy mix of Australia and Bali, which draw on the great traditions of landscape painting. We also catch up with Jeremy Sharma who draws on the painting tradition as well, but in a very different way. He too is interested in the production of form, but uses technology and data as the vehicle to generate his landscapes. Michael Lindeman opens up his cabinet of curiosities and we learn about his grandfather Ramedlaw – the famous hypnotist; we take a spin around Paris with Greg Hodge in the lead up to his online exhibition; learn more about Lynda Draper’s idyllic Thirroul home, and go in the studio with Sam Jinks to talk about his creative process, timing and influences – which range from Bernini to Bacon. The last word goes to Luke Sales, from the iconic label Romance was Born on a career of collaborations, and how his latest, with Glenn Barkley, bought the two obsessive collectors together – at last! So, kick back and enjoy this escape into landscape. Jo and Urs


MAY/JUN 2021


50 30 42




Introducing: Seth Birchall


Wunderkammer: Michael Lindeman


Yang Yongliang: Imagined Landscapes


Gregory Hodge: Tapestry of Life


Maria Fernanda Cardoso: Gumnuts and Sandstone


Darren Sylvester: Dreams within a dream


At home: Lynda Draper


Jeremy Sharma: Painting by Numbers


In the Studio: Sam Jinks


Last Word: Romance Was Born


Quick Curate: Touch


Up Next




Seth Birchall By Johanna Bear


MAY/JUN 2021

eth Birchall’s paintings conjure meditative worlds that pulse with colour and life. His fictitious landscapes - composed from found photographs as well as sketches and memories of Australia and Bali - reflect a biophilic urge to connect with other life forms in nature. Drawing inspiration from a wealth of rich and unexpected sources as well as romantic notions of landscape throughout art history, Birchall offers a contemporary twist on the gestural brushwork, moody light, and colour play of Expressionism and Impressionism. His paintings entwine subtle nods to the atmospheric effects in works by Australian Tonalists such as Max Meldrum and Clarice Beckett, Romantic artist William Blake’s electrifying scenes of heaven and earth, 19th century French paintings, and Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock prints of the ‘floating world’. These varied references collide in compositions that seem to shape-shift before your eyes, drawing viewers into the depths of a complex interior universe. His works act as portals for looking both inward to psychological states and outward to the natural world. Walking into Birchall’s studio at Artspace, Sydney, feels like crossing a threshold. Canvases sit propped, hanging along walls or piled in corners. Blue latex gloves speckle the floor among used palettes and artful mounds of paint tubes - some over 20 years old. The space throbs with energetic calm. Birchall’s latest suite of works have an effervescent texture and palette of dusty blue, lilac, green, brown, pink and orange that gives them a life force of their own. Birchall describes the “shimmery excitement” generated through the act of painting as well as the shifting planes of vision in his works, which mimic symmetry but skew perfection with free-flowing movement. “It comes back to not wanting to have a static painting, keeping energy open,” he says. This

motion and looseness is also instrumental in Birchall’s process. He works on multiple pieces simultaneously, orbiting the space to daub one paint colour across each canvas, slowly building layer upon layer over many months. Birchall’s works absorb this dynamism - they conjure a vivacity that bounces off one another when you enter his studio. Yet within this lies serenity. His painted realms invite moments of pause and self-reflection, coaxing one to examine the interior spaces and wanderings of the mind. “What I’m trying to tease out is hovering in that space between loud and still, between movement and stillness,” Birchall says. A series of velvety paint strokes often radiate rings of light from the centre of his treescapes, exuding tranquility and the sublime. Alongside trees, his works also feature suns, moons, orbs, flowers and horizon lines - motifs Birchall describes as “sites of inner reflection” within which the landscape is imagined as a space of healing and peace. These scenes form mirrored compositions, frequently traversing multiple canvases, which allude to the spiritual symbolism of the cross in Chistian iconography. Offering serenity, transformation and space to discover the self, the works themselves become altars to the environments they depict. But there is also a generosity and lighthearted playfulness in Birchall’s practice. His exuberant scenes connect with viewers and celebrate the joy of painting itself - both its process and its histories across time and place.


Seth Birchall Not Today, But Tomorrow, 2020 oil on canvas 182 x 153 cm Photo credit: Jessica Maurer


MAY/JUN 2021

Seth Birchall Swinging from Branch to Branch, 2020 oil on canvas 153 x 122 cm Photo credit: Jessica Maurer

Seth Birchall Alila’s Charm, 2020 oil on canvas 153 x 244 cm Photo credit: Jessica Maurer


MAY/JUN 2021

“What I’m trying to tease out is hovering in that space between loud and still, between movement and stillness.”

Seth Birchall Farm Garden, 2018 oil on canvas 155 x 122 cm Photo credit: Timothy Gresham



Seth Birchall Garlic Growers of the South, 2019 oil on canvas 153 x 244 cm Photo credit: Timothy Gresham Seth Birchall, My Ignorance is Equal, 2018 oil on canvas 183 x 153 cm Photo credit: Jenni Carter

MAY/JUN 2021

Seth Birchall Hey Man, Blink Blink, 2018 oil on canvas 155 x 123 cm Photo credit: Timothy Gresham


Seth Birchall River Composition I and II, 2019 oil on canvas 152.5 x 244 cm Photo credit: Jenni Carter


Portrait of Michael, 2021


Michael Lindeman Michael Lindeman takes us inside his cabinet of curiosities.

As a child I began to collect and present random objects and props in my bedroom, this is something I continue to do as an adult in my studio. Some of the objects informing my work, or even recast as parts of certain works. Others remain as elevated banal items, loitering around the studio with a dormant potential. The objects operate somewhere between Paul McCarthy-like performance props, and the found object arrangements of Haim Steinbach. In a way, they are Duchampian readymades, although, their selection does not come from a position of indifference, but rather, a careful choice of absurdist nostalgia.

Exhibition: July 8 - 31, 2021


All photography: Mark Pokorny


Wunderkammer: Michael Lindeman

HAMBURGLAR DOLL: Gift from a friend. POLICE TAPE: Collected from a local crime

scene. EXERCISE EQUIPMENT: One day I’ll get fit, or just make another artwork with this. PARROT HEAD: Acquired with a school friend

MAY/JUN 2021

(who went on to join the cops) in 1991 from a cement letter box in the Western suburbs.


BLACK BALL: Stolen from a bar in New York, while at art school Michael Dagostino and I 2002. created Michael & Michael Visual Arts Project Management. It was a roaming parody of a IN ’N’ OUT BURGER HAT: Acquired from In ’n’ more established cultural organisation, a vehicle Out Hollywood, California, 2001 for us to present our work with a handful of other artists in various group shows at artist run spaces. Along with being a lot of fun, scheming at the Chamberlain Hotel (The Dingo) and merging our ideas, it was also an opportunity to develop ways of promoting our projects and meeting people in the art scene. Without much explanation while installing our first show at First Draft, Surry Hills in 1998, Dagostino presented each artist with one of these sculptures. 25

MAY/JUN 2021

Wunderkammer: Michael Lindeman

RAMEDLAW POSTER: Ramedlaw is Waldemar in reverse, it was my grandfather’s stage name. More than anyone in my family, I connected most with Waldemar Sylvester Schrenk. He was a creative and confronting oddball who lived with both discipline and free reign. This original poster, circa 1960s, was made to promote one of his tours as a hypnotist.

Waldemar had been a crane operator, door to door salesman, magician, free diver and hypnotist, although I never saw him work a single day. Staying with him on school holidays was an entertaining, educational and unpredictable time. His socks and sandals aesthetic complemented with op shop attire - he was thrifty. Once, he urged my cousin and I to pay for the fuel in his boat when we were 12 years old, before taking us fishing. After leaving Germany, travel was a way of life for him - viewing his passports was mind bending. Waldemar’s house was full of inventions and mementos. Along with German tapestries, his study was adorned with newspaper clippings featuring him after saving drowning swimmers. Waldemar was harnessing solar energy well before it became a logical environmental alternative. Dining at his house included fresh seafood such as lobster and abalone, which he had caught. Prior to dinner he would take us for a walk to forage for edible weeds to make a salad. My opa was curious about my art habits, with no understanding of contemporary art before hearing of my involvement. I think he was some type of artist, or maybe he was art.


Wunderkammer: Michael Lindeman

WHOOPEE CUSHION: In 2004 I made two

identical replica paintings of the Whoopee Cushion image – one is in my loungeroom, the other was a gift for Paul White. VARIOUS SUN GLASSES: Including 3D Glasses stolen from Universal Studios, California, 2016. RACOON HUNTING HAT: Purchased from Hell’s

MAY/JUN 2021

Kitchen Flea Market, New York, NY, 2007.

1966 PONY WALKIE TALKIES: Made in Japan: A pleasing late 90s score, purchased from the Salvation Army Minchinbury, NSW. BBC HARDWARE LEGIONNAIRES HAT:

Purchased from the Salvation Army Narwee, NSW, 2020. BIG SKY MONTANA HAT: Purchased in Los

Angeles, 2016.


Yang Yongliang Tiger, 2021 giclee print on fine art paper 110 x 110 cm

Yang Yongliang: Imagined Landscapes Yang Yongliang is celebrated internationally for monochrome works that evoke the nuances of tone achieved by master ink painters. He has now ventured into colour for the first time in a series that recalls the delicate palette found in paintings by Ming Dynasty master Lan Ying depicting pine trees, bamboo, fantastical twisted rock forms, and sometimes a tiny figure seated in a pavilion. His digital landscapes make us look at Chinese painting traditions and our fragile planet in a new way, oscillating between sublime beauty and dystopian horror. By Luise Guest

Exhibition: June 10 - July 3, 2021



Yang Yongliang: Imagined Landscapes

“Clouds darken with darkness of rain, Streams pale with pallor of mist. The Gods of Thunder and Lightning Shatter the whole range. The stone gate breaks asunder Venting in the pit of heaven, An impenetrable shadow.” – Li Bai (71-762 CE), ‘Tianmu Mountain Ascended in a Dream’


MAY/JUN 2021

ach time I have visited Shanghai, speeding in a taxi along elevated freeways from the airport or the high-speed train station, I am reminded of the ‘Jetsons’ cartoons of my mid-twentieth-century childhood. Gleaming towers with strangely Gothic spires, neon flashing through smog, terrifying spaghetti junctions and abrupt dives onto off-ramps down into congested streets of half-demolished houses – the city seems to represent a modernity in the process of becoming, an unrealised, shining, technicoloured future that never quite arrived. This urban spectacle is the source of multidisciplinary artist Yang Yongliang’s homage to the past thousands of years of China’s cultural history, and his simultaneous expression of deep foreboding about what the future holds – not just for China, but for the planet. Living and working between Shanghai and New York, he looks back to China’s artistic heritage for inspiration. In Yang’s work the past, transformed, informs the present and issues a warning about the future. Home to more than twenty million people, Shanghai is a modernist dream of unceasing transformation. Its skyline is ever more dramatically vertical, and its streetscape

undergoes constant demolition and reconstruction. The past is erased anew every day. Hints of a different history remain: a wall surrounds a demolition site with one ‘nail house’ still standing, a few ungentrified neighbourhoods of traditional lilong lane houses are filled with hanging washing, leaning bicycles, and gossiping neighbours. But the tower blocks and new roads are always visible. Yang Yongliang’s melancholic digital works are his response to life in this urban palimpsest – he appropriates the shan shui (literally mountain, water) ink painting idiom to represent the contemporary world. Yang Yongliang was born in 1980, at the dawn of the ‘open door’ economic policies of Mao’s successor Deng Xiaoping. Over the next thirty years China was utterly transformed, becoming an urban nation of mega-cities. Yang’s birthplace, an ancient water town, was a place of traditional southern white houses with upturned eaves, a famous pagoda, and old humpbacked stone bridges over quiet canals. Gradually, though, Jiading Old Town was swallowed by the ever-expanding Shanghai suburbs. So much so that when he returned to his hometown from university, almost everything he remembered had vanished.

Yang Yongliang Hound, 2021 giclee print on fine art paper 130 x 90 cm


Yang Yongliang: Imagined Landscapes

This traumatic erasure of personal history lies at the heart of his work. China’s headlong rush towards modernisation brought many benefits, and much wealth to some, but along with it came a deep uncertainty and anxiety. The ceaseness expansion of metastasising cities – bulldozers tearing up ancient villages like ravaging beasts, leaving behind towering piles of rubble – erased the landscapes of the past, replacing them with endless rows of high-rise apartment blocks beside eight lane highways. Imagery of this perpetual cycle of demolition and construction is buried within Yang Yongliang’s landscapes. At first, they appear like backlit, digital versions of sublime literati paintings. But look a little closer and you discover they are made up of thousands of photographs, seamlessly layered to reveal a very different world. Giant cranes loom through clouds and mist, electricity pylons march across the countryside, and tumbledown houses are replaced by concrete, steel and glass. It is as if Yang is constantly revisiting his moment of shock, returning home to find the familiar become utterly strange. The years he spent living and working in Shanghai, watching it become a shining, hustling, globally connected city, underpin his laboriously constructed still and moving images. Yang is at once fascinated and appalled by this transformation, and his work is a lament for what has been lost in the process. Perhaps that is why he turns so often to Song Dynasty master painters like Fan Kuan and Guo Xi for inspiration. In a period following dynastic upheaval and political strife, depictions of beautiful landscapes represented solace. The mountains were an escape from the troubles of the world. Song Dynasty shan shui paintings were expressions of Daoist and Buddhist belief in the interconnectedness between humanity and the natural world, and the mutually reciprocal relationship between

Yang Yongliang Falcon, 2021 giclee print on fine art paper 110 x 110 cm

yin and yang. With deft brushstrokes and subtle tonal gradations of ink on silk, these scrolls created a place, as Guo Xi wrote in ‘Lofty Record of Forests and Streams’, his treatise on painting, in which the viewer could take an imaginary wander along mountain paths beside gushing waterfalls, climbing up into the high mountains, the home of the Immortals. Early Spring (2019), Yang’s adaptation of Guo Xi’s masterpiece, for example, retains the mist-wreathed crags of the Song Dynasty landscape with its hidden message of neo-Confucian universal harmony, but adds a note of warning. Hints of human rapaciousness alert us to how differently we see the natural world today – as a resource to be exploited. Intricately layering images of rocks and waterfalls shot in various parts of China – and in other parts of the world – with photographs of mining sites, construction zones and land-clearing operations, Yang Yongliang makes us look at Chinese painting traditions and our fragile planet in a new way. His digital landscapes oscillate between sublime beauty and dystopian horror. Yang Yongliang is celebrated internationally for monochrome works that evoke the nuances of tone achieved by master ink painters. He has now ventured into colour for the first time in a series that recalls the delicate palette found in paintings by Ming Dynasty master Lan Ying depicting pine trees, bamboo, fantastical twisted rock forms, and sometimes a tiny figure seated in a pavilion. Drawing on these pictorial conventions, Yang’s series depicts similarly vertiginous ‘mountains’ rising from water, but on a closer examination we see they are not mountains at all, but impossible clusters of high-rise buildings.


LEFT: Yang Yongliang

Child, 2021 giclee print on fine art paper 130 x 90 cm RIGHT: Yang Yongliang Horse, 2021 giclee print on fine art paper 130 x 90 cm


Yang Yongliang: Imagined Landscapes

Each work in the series contains a solitary human or animal, rendered as a small, insignificant presence within a indifferent landscape. A lonely dog stares out to sea, a monkey clings despondently to a rock, a white horse stands precariously on a cliff, a flock of geese take flight. The waves crash, and the mountains, denuded of vegetation, seem about to slide into the ocean. Human figures such as wandering scholars or hermits were often featured in Chinese paintings, representing the harmonious relationship between humanity and nature in Daoist cosmology. Yang’s, in contrast, seem like the sole survivors of an environmental catastrophe. These works ask us to face uncomfortable truths, to view the world that human greed has wrought.

MAY/JUN 2021

Endlessly innovative, in recent years Yang Yongliang has ventured into new technological realms, exploring the creative possibilities of Virtual Reality and 3D video animation, reinventing traditional analogue photography techniques, and introducing colour to his immersive video installations and digital images. He continues to riff on Song Dynasty paintings and Chinese mythology, yet his work is also imbued with twenty-first century allusions to video game design, inviting audiences into an imaginary world. Described by the artist as a “multi-point perspective mind journey through the eyes of the dragons”, 4-channel video Five Dragons (2020), for instance, was inspired by a Southern Song Dynasty painting by Chen Rong that depicts the symbolic beasts writhing through swirling mists. Yang notes that historically the dragon represented imperial power, stability, wisdom, benevolence and good fortune. Today, however, it is often associated merely with prosperity – yet another sign that economic development and material consumption trumps all.

In Glows in the Night (2020), a development from Journey to the Dark, a 4-channel video work shown at Sullivan+Strumpf Sydney in 2018, Yang provides audiences with an immersive experience that recalls the experience of flying over a big city at night, looking down at an apparent wonderland of twinkling lights, neon signs, and the golden ribbons of car headlights on highways. We see fairy lights on boats, flashing screens on skyscrapers, mountains in the distance, and in the foreground, glimpses into apartment windows. This sprawl of habitation is like a human anthill, glimpses into the lives of the anonymous inhabitants of this megalopolis. It could be anywhere in the contemporary world. Glows in the Night reveals the essential paradox at the centre of Yang Yongliang’s practice: the seductive allure of urban modernity and the simultaneous knowledge of its fragility. 1.Excerpt from Tianmu Mountain Ascended in a Dream by Tang Dynasty poet Li Bai, from ‘300 Tang Poems’ https://www.shigeku.org/xlib/lingshidao/hanshi/tang.htm 2.The Song Dynasty (960-1279) is considered by many to be the period in which Chinese landscape painting reached its pinnacle. Guo Xi (c.1020–c.1090) was a master painter of the Northern Song and wrote a famous treatise on painting techniques, Linquan Gaozhi. Fan Kuan (c.960–c.1030) painted one of the most famous works of the Northern Song, ‘Travellers Among Mountains and Streams’ (now in the National Palace Museum, Taipei) which established the conventions for monumental landscape painting.

Exhibition: June 10 - July 3, 2021


Yang Yongliang Goose, 2021 giclee print on fine art paper 130 x 90 cm


MAY/JUN 2021

Yang Yongliang: Imagined Landscapes

Yang Yongliang Monkey, 2021 giclee print on fine art paper 110 x 110 cm


Tapestry of Life:

Gregory Hodge Still in Paris, Gregory Hodge reflects on how his daily bike ride past the Jardin des Plantes, the city’s largest botanical garden, and the Manufacture des Gobelins, a museum and manufacturer of tapestries, has influenced his work.


ver the last year I’ve been working in a studio in Ivry-sur-Seine, a 25-minute bike ride from my apartment in Paris. Along this ride is the Jardin des Plantes, the city’s largest botanical garden. On numerous visits there I’ve taken photos and have incorporated these into drawings and collages. Some of these preparatory works have become source material for the greenery and foliage in my new paintings. Just beyond these gardens is the Manufacture des Gobelins, a museum and manufacturer of tapestries in Paris operating since the seventeenth century. This year, I have often spent time looking at the surfaces of tapestries, how they drape on the wall and how the imagery is imbedded within the warp and weft of the thread.

MAY/JUN 2021

The representational elements in this new work are painted using tools and techniques I have developed to mimic a tapestry surface. The interiors in the new paintings are constructed spaces, collaged photographs, drawings and patterned fabrics. These compositions incorporate an open or partially opened window with a view to an outside space. They call to mind the work of Matisse whose open windows and interiors were intertwined with pattern and ornamental motifs.

I have also painted trompe l’oeil borders of tassels and rippled fabric, which are a playful suggestion to the edges of a hanging tapestry. These paintings have sweeping ribbon-like marks that appear superimposed, obscuring recognisable readings of the scene behind. These illusionistic gestures which are a recognisable trope in my work, seem to hover slightly off the surface, an optical illusion achieved by sharp edges and painted cast shadows.

Online Exhibition Launching: May 27, 2021



Gregory Hodge in his Paris studio, 2021. Photo credit: myparisportraits


TOP: Photo credit: Gregory Hodge BOTTOM: Gregory Hodge in his Paris studio, 2021

Photo credit: myparisportraits

MAY/JUN 2021

RIGHT: Photo credit: Gregory Hodge


LEFT: Photo credit: Gregory Hodge RIGHT: Gregory Hodge in his Paris studio, 2021. Photo credit: Atellier La Fabrique


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Australian Contemporary Art Magazine

Artbank Melbourne 18-24 Down Street Collingwood, VIC Wednesday to Friday 11am to 4pm artbank.gov.au

Curated by Sabrina Baker and Anja Loughhead Darcey Bella Arnold Pat Brassington Oscar Capezio Lorraine Connelly-Northey Lottie Consalvo Renee Cosgrave Julie Gough Nadia Hernández Michael Lindeman Claudine Marzik Janine McAullay Bott James Nguyen Maria Josette Orsto Kiron Robinson Paul Wood

The Work of Art, Artbank Melbourne, 2021, featuring Nadia Hernandez, Generoso Corazón Herido, 2019, Michael Lindeman, Paintings, Prints & Wall Hangings, 2007. Photo credit Christian Capurro

The Work of Art

15 April – 21 May

A portrait of Maria Fernanda Cardoso in front of her Gumnut Sphere works, 2021 Photo credit: Cardoso Studio

Maria Fernanda Cardoso: Gumnuts and Sandstone Maria Fernanda Cardoso’s sculptural works explore the beauty and diversity of the natural world. Born in Colombia and based in Sydney, Cardoso explores our complex relationship with the plants and animals around us, reversing traditional hierarchies of human dominance in favour of interconnectedness and reflection. By Rachel Kent, First published on the Maria Fernanda Cardoso website.

Exhibition: May 20 - June 5, 2021



Maria Fernanda Cardoso: Gumnuts and Sandstone


nspired by her childhood growing up in Bogota, Cardoso’s works of the early 1990s featured preserved frogs, lizards and grasshoppers strung together in geometrical arrangements suggesting life after death. Subsequent installations utilised tourist souvenirs including dried sea stars and piranhas, purchased in San Francisco and Brazil, the former presented as suspended, woven formations in the gallery. Since the mid 1990s, Cardoso’s gaze has turned downwards to life unseen beneath our feet, and creatures usually outside our perception. ‘People think we are superior as we are bigger, but there is more complexity as you go down in scale’, she observes. ‘It’s not about how big but how complex a thing, its behaviour, and reproduction is.’

MAY/JUN 2021

Fascinated by the flea, its anatomy and distinctive reproductive organs, she developed a major body of work inspired by the 19th century entertainment spectacle, the flea circus, between 1994-2000. Incorporating sculpture and installation, video and live performances, the Cardoso Flea Circus led to the creation of a wondrous ‘museum’ of animal copulatory organs; an exploration of the (male) sex of microscopic pollen grains; and the charismatic mating rituals of the tiny peacock (maratus) spider, with its iridescent fanned tail. Like the animal world, plants have also been a longstanding focus in Cardoso’s art. They include sweet corn, a dietary staple of Colombia, which she fashioned into sculptural arrangements and dried coils early in her career; and later plant and animal inspired works particular to Australia, her adopted country since the late 1990s.

Maria Fernanda Cardoso Unidentified Eucalyptus buds in a square, 2021 E. Flowers Gap buds, metal pins, mounted on corrugated polypropylene and archival cotton rag matt board 60 x 60 cm Photo credit: Cardoso Studio

“Cardoso first began to collect and arrange gumnuts during an artist camp and workshop project alongside the Tjampi Desert Weavers, an Indigenous social enterprise for women in remote communities in Central Australia, in 2008-09. Creating a pinned gumnuts installation for the resulting exhibition ‘KURU ALALA Eyes Open’, she returns to this material over a decade later in her new work.”

Reflecting on her heritage as a Mestiza (mixed race) woman with Indigenous Colombian and Hispanic heritage, Cardoso notes that animals were sacred in traditional Colombian culture; and creatures such as lizards, frogs and snakes were abundant, given its pre-colonial history as swampland. ‘A lot of my work’, she now says, ‘has been about finding my own cultural identity – about finding cultural artefacts, materials, and animals unique or specific to Colombia and my wider travels along the Amazon.’ Despite the colonial process some 500 years ago, she notes, Indigenous culture and identity remains strong in Colombia today, expressed through food and costume. ‘In my culture there is also a lot of craft: purses, baskets and mochilas (woven bags). My culture is a hybrid of wearing a mochila and European textiles.’


LEFT: Maria Fernanda Cardoso Gumnut Sphere ECCS1, 2021 Eucalyptus coronata gumnuts and seeds, rubber, monster clay, metal 10 x 10 x 10 cm Photo credit: Cardoso Studio TOP: Maria Fernanda Cardoso Gumnut Sphere EFGCGS, 2021 E. Fowlers Gap gumnuts, seeds, rubber, monster clay, sand, metal 11 x 11 x 11 cm Photo credit: Cardoso Studio MIDDLE: Maria Fernanda Cardoso Gumnut Sphere EKGCS, 2021 E. Kingsmillii gumnuts, rubber, monster clay, sand, metal 14.5 x 14.5 x 14.5 cm Photo credit: Cardoso Studio BOTTOM: Maria Fernanda Cardoso Gumnut Sphere ECGLD, 2021 Eucalyptus coronata gumnuts, seeds, rubber, monster clay, metal 14 x 13.5 x 13.5 cm Photo credit: Cardoso Studio


Maria Fernanda Cardoso: Gumnuts and Sandstone

Gumnuts displayed in the sand at Bush Carp near Kuruala, May 2008. Photo Credit: Jo Foster

“A lot of my work has been about finding my own cultural identity – about finding cultural artefacts, materials, and animals unique or specific to Colombia and my wider travels along the Amazon.”

Following her 1997 move to Australia, Cardoso turned to the flora and fauna of her adopted country to seek out materials that were equally resonant. They included colonial by-products like sheep’s fleece, as well as the feathers of the emu – the country’s largest native bird, with a history spanning millennia. Growth and form in nature, as well as repetition and difference, have been persistent themes in Cardoso’s practice from the outset. They unfold across the most intimate scale, evidenced in her anatomical and reproductive studies; and they are the focus of her latest body of work exploring the variations and innate beauty of the Australian eucalyptus family and its woody fruits, or gumnuts. Cardoso first began to collect and arrange gumnuts during an artist camp and workshop project alongside the Tjampi Desert Weavers, an Indigenous social enterprise for women in remote communities in Central Australia, in 2008-09. Creating a pinned gumnuts installation for the resulting exhibition ‘KURU ALALA Eyes Open’, she returns to this material over a decade later in her new work. Observing Australian plant life, Cardoso has also explored the unusual, sculptural quality of the bottle tree with its bulbous trunk that expands and contracts in times of rain and drought. The bottle tree is an adapted form that responds to a harsh and unpredictable environment. Similarly, gumnuts are woody and tough, rather than soft and fleshy, in order to protect their seeds through extreme climatic conditions and often extended durations before germination is possible. Connecting the bottle tree with Sydney sandstone blocks, in a spiral formation, is Cardoso’s public commission While I Live I will Grow, realised for the City of Sydney in 2018. The artist notes that eucalyptus and sandstone ‘belong together’, their relationship reflected in the extensive stone plateaus of the Sydney Basin bioregion with its abundance gum of tree species. Representing a ‘way to connect with the landscape, and the life inhabiting

it’, Cardoso’s ongoing exploration of Australian flora and fauna builds upon her early work and opens up distinctive new directions. ‘Australian flora is so unique. We don’t realise what is around us’, she reflects today. ‘The gumnut shapes to me are sculptures; they’re ready-mades. If I were to make them as a sculpture, it would be such an effort; but the trees make them in abundance – so plants are the artist here.’ This is not the first time that Cardoso has attributed artistic status to her nonhuman subjects. Observing the colourful male peacock spider dance enticingly before its larger, brown female counterpart, she identified – and celebrated – the world’s ‘first performance artist’. Gumnuts and Sandstone, Cardoso’s latest body of work, responds to the star-shaped geometry of gumnuts. It is augmented by a suite of sandstone ‘drawings’ in which abstract geometric lines are carved into threedimensional stone blocks, recalling pre-Colombian designs, and abstract growth and flow patterns (waves, ripples, concentric circles). ‘I have always been very attracted to forms in nature’, she says. ‘There is something mathematical about form that I find astonishing, and all the patterns that result. It’s because my whole life, since I was a child, is about observation. I have been observing life and nature and noticing the diversity of things.’ Gumnuts offer a unique case in point, with their perfectly shaped four, five and six-point stars. Designed to protect, then release seeds so the tree can reproduce, they are aesthetic and utilitarian in equal measure. Reflecting on the role of art to expose hidden truths, Cardoso notes, ‘Sculptors tend to work from the outside in, using a process of removal to reveal the form within. Life, in contrast, is programmed to work from the inside out, building and growing, and becoming – it grows from within and reveals itself’.


Maria Fernanda Cardoso: Gumnuts and Sandstone

Patterns in nature follow the laws of physics, from flow to spirals and repetition, as Cardoso observes. ‘My veins, for example, look like rivers. Star fish have five limbs and we have five fingers. There is a limited repertoire of growth plans in the world. It includes bilateral (left/right) symmetry, then radial symmetry, like fractals. I feel that through patterns and music you are connected to the universe.’

MAY/JUN 2021

To create her new works, Cardoso gathers and sorts, then arranges and pins Eucalyptus coronata, youngiana, kingsmilli and macrocarpa seedpods in geometric configurations, either directly onto the gallery wall or supporting panels. Shapes, patterns and colouration vary immensely between the different varieties. Some are small and fluted, others larger and flatter; some are spiky and protruding, others tightly clustered and ornamental. Tonally, too, they vary from warm browns through silvery bush greys, some detailed with a golden-

yellow ring inside the edge. On the wall, they transform into expansive fields of repeating forms, geometric patterning, topographical contours and spatial relationships. There is a strong optical quality to the works, which also suggests the warp and weft of textiles. Presented together, the gumnuts look the same, yet all are slightly different. Forms repeat in nature, at different scales, but each plant is also unique – a quality that Cardoso draws our senses to ever so gently, with wonder and skill. All quotes by Maria Fernanda Cardoso are drawn from original interview material between the artist and author.

Exhibition: May 20 - June 5, 2021


Maria Fernanda Cardoso X and + E. youngiana gumnuts in a star formation, 2020 E. youngiana gumnuts, metal pins, mounted on corrugated polypropylene and archival cotton rag matt board 48 x 48 x 5 cm Photo credit: Mark Pokorny


Maria Fernanda Cardoso 10 x 10 = 100 Eucalyptus coronata gumnuts in a square, 2020 E. coronata gumnuts, metal pins, mounted on corrugated polypropylene and archival cotton rag matt board or pinned directly on wall 43 x 47 x 3.5 Photo credit: Mark Pokorny


Darren Sylvester: Dreams within a dream

MAY/JUN 2021

Abigail Moncrieff, Curator of The National 2021: New Australian Art at Carriageworks enters into the liminal space between reality and artifice in Darren Sylvester’s emotional landscapes.

Darren Sylvester Horizons, 2019 lightjet print 160 x 120 cm


Darren Sylvester: Dreams within a dream

LEFT: Darren Sylvester

Psychic’s house (installation view), 2021 neon and fluorescent lights, acrylic, wood, transformer 220 x 180 x 30 cm Photo credit: Carriageworks, Zan Wimberley

MAY/JUN 2021

RIGHT: Darren Sylvester Burning candle (installation view), 2021 neon and fluorescent lights, acrylic, wood, transformer 220 x 180 x 30 cm Photo credit: Carriageworks, Zan Wimberley

“The windows are portals, their psychic symbols metaphors for unknown emotional and spiritual questions, laced with both fear and promise.”

‘Eyes Wide Shut’ was American filmmaker Stanley Kubrick’s final film. Released in 1999, the filmmaker finalised his edit of the film and died six days later. Both an erotic mystery and a psychological drama, the screenplay draws from a 1929 Austrian novel, ‘Traumnovelle’ or (‘Dream Story’) by Arthur Schnitzler, who describes the psycho-sexual milieu and the cultural overturnings of early 20th century Vienna. ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ shares the same hypnotic sexuality and feverish, dream-like visions of Schnitzler’s novel, but transposed to a New York City setting and a time contemporaneous to the making of the film, in the 1990s. ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ was almost exclusively filmed in the UK, requiring sets to be built at Pinewood Studios, located outside of central London. The famously fastidious and perfectionist filmmaker was obsessed with verisimilitude in this undertaking - Kubrick sent set builders to Manhattan to measure the widths of footpaths, and to

note the location of newspaper vending machines, in his re-creation of Greenwich Village. In this film, each encounter has the intensity of a dream, one in which the moment is clear, but it’s hard to remember where we have come from or where we are going next. The three neon windows of Sylvester’s work for The National 2021 are similarly intricately calibratedset architecturally into the walls of the gallery at Carriageworks and presented at full scale. Styled as New York City shopfronts, the highly saturated colours of the neon symbols act as an advertisement of a spiritual or psychic power available within. Sylvester re-imagines the gallery as a street, a film set we can stroll through, encountering the windows on our way. Less immersive than Kubrick’s Greenwich Village, the works gesture towards a mise-en-scene, the green illumination of Burning candle is set within a carefully constructed


MAY/JUN 2021

Darren Sylvester: Dreams within a dream

“Sylvester describes the setting of these works as akin to a jumper that has been taken off and left turned inside out.”

partial brick façade, while the glittering circles and moon surrounding Crystal Room are protected by security bars placed in front, to either protect its power from outside dangers or perhaps to contain the energy within. The pulsating pink and blue Psychic’s House Neon is placed in front of a blind, cunningly framed by an architectural construct that suggests a building in which the window might be placed. The saturated glow of these works are an evocation, a continual circling of desire that is without arrival or destination. Sylvester began making staged studio photography in 1998, building sets and props to create miniature encapsulated worlds. Two of these window settings were first developed as photographs for Sylvester’s Balustrade Stake exhibition at Sullivan+Strumpf Gallery in June 2020. The windows are portals, their psychic symbols metaphors for unknown emotional and spiritual questions, laced with both fear and promise. Portals have appeared in Sylvester’s work before, his photographic work Horizons (2019) depicts a window on an airplane. In this image, Sylvester places us up in the clouds, inside the plane looking out over an infinite and ungraspable sky – it is a journey of desire with unknown destination. However, the portals described by the neon windows for The National 2021 are reversed and a perceptual conundrum, as we are not outside gazing in, as the works might suggest, but inside the gallery, looking further in. The radiant illumination of Crystal Room reflects off the textured wall of the Carriageworks building seen clearly

behind it, bouncing back into the gallery space. Active and turning, Sylvester describes the setting of these works as akin to a jumper that has been taken off and left turned inside out. A gentle breeze of warm air travels through the windows as we walk through the gallery, complicating our perception even further. We are experiencing the architecture of the gallery in its totality, air flows through the interior egress between the gallery wall and the Carriageworks building and floats into the gallery through Sylvester’s windows. Back of house workers appear briefly in Sylvester’s work, framed behind the windows as they move through this interstitial space. Teetering between reality and artifice, these works are dreams within a dream, an emotional landscape to be collectively understood.

The National 2021: New Australian Art at Carriageworks until June 20 2021

Darren Sylvester Crystal room (installation view), 2021 neon and fluorescent lights, acrylic, wood, transformer 200 x 220 x 30 cm Photo credit: Carriageworks, Zan Wimberley


MAY/JUN 2021 Installation view of The National: New Australian Art at Carriageworks 2021. Artists from left to right, Alana Hunt, Darren Sylvester, Michelle Nikou and Darren Sylvester. Photo credit: Carriageworks, Zan Wimberley


At home:

MAY/JUN 2021

Lynda Draper

Lynda Draper in her home studio, 2021 Photo credit: Mark Draper


LD/ The place I call home is the coastal village of Thirroul which is nestled between a towering escarpment and the Pacific Ocean, Dharawal country. The house where I live was built in 1880 and named Irwell Cottage, it is one of the few remaining original weather board houses built in the area. This house and its surrounding landscape have been a source of inspiration. The site contains the original cottage, a bath house which serves as a kiln shed, and a studio which was constructed in the 1990s. I live there with my partner and son.


LD/ My home is full of objects and artworks collected over a lifetime. Many of them are treasured especially those created by my dearest friends, partner and son.



LD/ Irwell Cottage had been owned by the same family since 1880 until we moved in the 1980s, it still contained all its contents, which comprised of an overwhelming layering of objects and interior modifications from the past 100 years; each object told a story, a record of human life from over a century. I love that this timber and tin house holds the marks of time and traces of the people who had lived within, that it has withstood the ravages of time. It has a sense of a life of its own in the way it moves, expands, contracts, creaks and groans with the changing temperature and weather throughout the day. Many of the materials used for its construction were sourced and handcrafted from the surrounding landscape where it sits comfortably. Much of its original furniture and functional objects were handmade from recycled materials such as fruit boxes, tin and left- over timbers from the construction of the house.


My fascination with the metaphysical aspects of the domestic object began with the relationship to the domestic hardware in this house, a series of ceramic works evolved which echoed the organic, seemingly animate, nature of this home. I attempted to make


ceramic sculptures with a dreamlike or ethereal quality, with the visual fragility of paper or wax but with the resilience and permanence of fired clay. This ghostly reinterpretation of these domestic items returned to inform later works.


LD/ We have planted some natives but much of the original garden still remains: an old hedge surrounds the house, there are giant camelia trees, an Illawarra flame tree and jacaranda tree sit side by side. The site has also been overrun by agaves. DO YOU HAVE ANY AVOCATIONS ?

LD/ My day begins by stepping out into the quiet pre-dawn with an hour’s walk in the darkness, then at first light an ocean swim or surf. This is a time of contemplation and resolution; it sets me up for the day ahead. These night wanderings are the source of inspiration for my July exhibition at Sullivan+Strumpf. Flowers of the Night.

Exhibition: Flowers of the Night, July 15 - 31, 2021



MAY/JUN 2021

1989 Irwell Cottage, Thirroul, photomontage Photo credit: Lynda Draper



MAY/JUN 2021

Looking east from Lynda’s studio. Lynda’s kiln shed, old bath shed, Irwell Cottage, Thirroul. Photo credit: Mark Draper RIGHT:

Kitchen mantle, Lynda’s personal collection, Irwell Cottage, Thirroul. Photo credit: Mark Draper


MAY/JUN 2021

Jeremy Sharma pshkr, 2020 digital print on archival paper 177 x 119 cm Photo credit: Ng Wu Gang

Painting by Numbers

Jeremy Sharma Sherman Sam

“Wall or panel painting is just a very old form of technology... Sharma is really interested in the production of form, it is just that he uses technology and data as the vehicle to generate it.”


ast a quick glance across the oeuvre of Jeremy Sharma and you could describe his work as becoming increasingly technological. A decade ago, he was known for making a variety of monochromatic paintings. Since then, he has swapped painting for installation, video, sound and now he has added digital prints and carbon paper drawings to the mix. What is consistent here? Materiality, technology and data. Keep in mind that wall or panel painting is just a very old form of technology. I’m suggesting that far from leaping from painting to installations with sound and lightboxes, Sharma is really interested in the production of form, it is just that he uses technology and data as the vehicle to generate it. Sharma’s latest works, digital prints and carbon paper transfers, draws from a different kind of information: images. For the prints, Sharma sourced the internet for pictures, then used a program to turn them into outlines

which he then deleted or filled with colour creating shapes. He started with one image before combining it with a second, then maybe a third. Hence Sharma’s process is both to subtract and add, in that sense it is like collage. pshkr, (all works 2020 unless otherwise noted), for example, is a tall yellow field in which fragments of white, black, blue, green and red shapes float on a yellow ground. The result feels like a redacted image or a bizzaro yellow, drunk, cubist-design wrapping paper. It is the most non-representational and allover patterned of the prints. The others are landscape format, and the rectilinear outlines in Ragtime Kowloon Jam (After Mondrian), for example, suggest cityscapes, while his source material is most clear in The Boat and crasshh (after Richard Prince) as that of boat and car. The distinct outlines of the latter pair bring to mind a giant colourby-numbers. However, Sharma’s results are neither image nor abstraction, picture or object. Like redacted information the prints are somewhat liminal entities - you know some things but not the whole.


Jeremy Sharma: Painting by Numbers

If the prints have an occluded quality, then the carbon paper transfers do the reverse. They show everything. One has a sense of the source material, but like the prints what we see is determined by Sharma’s touch. For instance, in Selarang, the picture is of a loaded lorry in a field, broad pencil marks fill in the space whereas in W, 2013, the sky and ocean are dense and filled. The former feels like a sketch and hence quick, while the latter precise like a photograph. The images were taken by an Australia POW George Aspinall in Japanese occupied Singapore. Sharma says “something about the photographs of that time captured my imagination and about how someone was secretly taking photographs, the captured foreigner capturing Asia.” These drawings are Sharma’s most haptic work for some years. We generally think of data as facts, statistics, or analytics, and hence “meaningful”. In general data has to do with markets, populations and informatics to predict outcomes, but imagine if information served as the

subject of art production. Then, Sharma offers a highly idiosyncratic path, as any pioneering endeavour should do. He has described his work as conceptual, and that is correct. However, the concept is not located in the object, rather it determines the nature of his approach. Sharma has said that “really good art is about artists changing the way you think about art.” But the reverse is also true: good art is about artists changing the way we look at the world. We may never “see” data the same way again.

Exhibition: June 3 - July 3, 2021


LEFT: Jeremy Sharma

Ragtime Kowloon Jam (after Mondrian), 2020 digital print on archival paper 150 x 194 cm Photo credit: Ng Wu Gang RIGHT: Jeremy Sharma rylGrnsmlM (after Mark Bradford), 2020 digital print on archival paper 150 x 194 cm Photo credit: Ng Wu Gang


MAY/JUN 2021

LEFT: Jeremy Sharma The tree, 2020 digital print on archival paper 59.5 x 42.6 cm Photo credit: Ng Wu Gang RIGHT: Jeremy Sharma

Tram view, 2020 carbon paper 23 x 31 cm Photo credit: Ng Wu Gang


In the Studio:

MAY/JUN 2021

Sam Jinks

Sam Jinks Iris – The Messenger, 2018 24k gold, silicone, pigment, hair and water, 185 x 230 x 100 cm






SJ/ The length of time is a product of trying to get the correct feeling in the work, you do become very caught up in it, and it can be exhausting at times. Some of the research material I use can also be confronting and intense. It’s easy to have an idea or a vision in your head, but it can be a different story when you start pushing clay around. Problems arise that can sometimes render it awkward or not possible in the short term.


The relationship with the work is strange, it begins with excitement and energy at its inception, then becomes more practical during construction, there’s a period of trying to hold it in line, and then once it’s finished hopefully you can feel that energy in the work again.


SJ/ I’m often surprised that I get asked this question, this is the rhythm of human experience, of nature, it seems to get overlooked by the minutiae of daily existence, but it’s always there. Examining life seems to make it all a bit less frightening or daunting. You can begin to see the patterns around you that give a sense of timelessness. It seems obvious, but nature is very powerful at demonstrating these things. Lately I’ve been getting out of the city a bit more, which is such a relief after last year’s lockdowns.


In the Studio: Sam Jinks


Bernini, a master of composition, I like his maquettes particularly.

SJ/ Most works seem to begin with a concept. I then try to marry it with a form that might work.

Bill Viola, some of his imagery is allegorical/symbolic, trying to describe human experiences which are indescribable or unknowable. I like this because it gives the work some utility, offering a different tool to perceive reality.


I collect forms/images/shapes and arrangements that I like, that I could connect to a concept. This can be a fun part of the process, finding the arrangement that best describes the concept or feeling I’m after. WHERE DOES YOUR INSPIRATION COME FROM? ARE THERE ANY ARTISTS WHO INFLUENCE YOU?

SJ/ Inspiration usually comes from everyday life, from experience and nature. Artists who inspire me changes on a day to day basis. At the moment I’ve been mostly focussing on Hindu representations of deities, particularly the Shiva Nataraja. I think at this time in my life it seems to be the most perfect work, representing the constant process of creation and destruction. It's so beautiful. It also makes everything make a little more sense at least for me.

MAY/JUN 2021

Francis Bacon, he didn’t seem to give a shit and was so confident in his message that it was almost undeniable, despite the often unappealing visuals of his work.


SJ/ I’m working towards an exhibition in a medieval church, which is something I’ve always wanted to do. I would often make a work as if it was destined for a church-like environment, but would then present the work in a gallery with blank walls once again. Churches and cathedrals were made to inspire awe, I’m interested in taking the work out of the gallery, and into a more contemplative space.

Exhibition: August 12 - 28, 2021



Inside Sam Jinks’ studio, Melbourne 2021 Photo credit: Sam Jinks


Last Word:

Romance Was Born Luke Sales, co-founder of Australian fashion house, Romance Was Born has the last word on his recent collaboration with Glenn Barkley.

A romance story by Glenn Barkley and Romance was Born.

“Collecting things always inspires our work. In a way, I collect artists and call on them when and if the time is right.”


ollaboration has always been a part of the Romance Was Born story. Our label began out of the initial collaboration between myself and Anna [Plunkett] while we were still at fashion school. The first thing Anna and I did together outside of the classroom was make costumes for the lead singer of a band called the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. I remember bringing a bag full of bits and pieces over to Anna’s place for us to work with, things I’d collected over the years. Certain fabrics, kids toys, sequin dresses, a whole bunch of different crap. Anna had lots of her own bits and pieces that she’d collected too. We kinda made different piles out of all the stuff that we thought worked well together, and then we turned each pile of things into a garment. In 24 hours we proceeded to make 10 outfits for Karen O’s Australian tour. Needless to say they were not exactly couture, but the garments had an energy I responded too. Working with Anna made my mind go to places it has never been before. Looking back, I think the reason our experience was so creatively charged was seeing the mix of things that Anna and I put together give each other’s “stuff” a new life. Collaboration still feels like this for me. This is the kick I get from working in fashion more than the fashion itself. The creative fulfilment I seek from fashion is the union of different ideas or counter energies that bring to life a whole new world. Collecting has always been a big part of what I do, and I don’t mean art. I have always collected objects, lustre ware, trinkets, old fabrics for its print, or a special bit of embroidery or hand beading. Collecting things always

inspires our work. In a way, I collect artists and call on them when and if the time is right. When Anna and I are putting together a range, in my mind there’s a story forming that I’m trying to tell. If I feel our work would be supported by a certain artist and that their work might help convey the story, then it just feels right to collaborate. It was never our intention to work like this, but once we started this extra energy really gave us what we were searching for. Glenn’s work reflects his own love of collecting, ideas, stories and philosophies. Experiences he has collected his whole life that make Glenn who he is. This made me think of memories and knowledge and that they are the same thing. Knowledge is power but it is also who we are. We are who we are from all the knowledge we collect in life. We are just a collection of memories. In some really obscure way this is what drew me to Glenn’s work. I could see lots of him in the work but also lots of me and Romance Was Born too. This was why I wanted to get the photos with the pieces we used in the collaboration to reflect Glenn’s world more. We shot it in the stockroom at the gallery against the works of Glenn’s that we used in the prints. We used Glenn’s friends to model, the bags they’re holding are like little baskets. I imagine them foraging and collecting stuff to put in their porcelain token bags. Glenn’s token buttons on the garments are like little treasures you find and keep over time. A nice bit of shell or driftwood, your Gran’s old cameo, an old coin, a broken bit of a statue. It feels like they have been added to each garment over the years and so, each piece comes with a history or their own collection memories. Which is exactly what we have always sough out to do as Romance Was Born.


MAY/JUN 2021

Behind the scenes for the “Lonely can’t slow down” capsule, a collaboration between artist Glenn Barkley and Romance was born.


Quick Curate: Touch

MAY/JUN 2021

Sanné Mestrom Fingers/Ankles/Paradigms, 2019 Silk screen print on cotton rag 75.5 x 55.5 cm (unframed) 82.2 x 62.8 x 4.6 cm (framed) Edition of 3 plus 2 artist’s proofs AUD $2,500

Sam Jinks Reunion, 2016 silicone, pigment, resin, and human hair 129 x 33 x 33 cm (artwork) 6 x 60 x 60 cm (base) 31 x 60 x 60 cm (plinth) Edition of 3 plus 2 artist’s proofs POA

Tim Silver Untitled (Close to me), 2020 copper infused Forton MG 17 x 64 x 29 cm Edition of 3 plus 1 artist’s proof AUD $12,100

Karen Black Proposal for confrontation, 2021 oil on canvas 81.5 x 97 cm AUD $13,200


Up Next





JULY 08.07.21 15.07.21

Michael Lindeman Lynda Draper


Sam Jinks


27 MARCH – 11 JULY 2021 twma.com.au Grant Stevens, Below the mountains and beyond the desert, a river runs through a valley of forests and grasslands, towards an ocean 2020 (digital render detail). Courtesy of the artist and Sullivan + Strumpf, Sydney MAJOR SPONSORS



Maria Fernanda Cardoso in front of Eucalyptus rhodantha gumnuts on wall, 2021, Eucalyptus rhodanta gumnuts, metal pins mounted on wall, 210 x 250 cm Photo credit: Jillian Nalty

SYDNEY 799 Elizabeth St Zetland, Sydney NSW 2017 Australia P +61 2 9698 4696 E art@sullivanstrumpf.com

SINGAPORE P +65 83107529 Megan Arlin | Gallery Director E megan@sullivanstrumpf.com


Presented by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and International Curators Forum in partnership with Campbelltown Arts Centre Artists Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Kashif Nadim Chaudry, Lindy Lee, Leyla Stevens, Zadie Xa and Daniela Yohannes Curated by Adelaide Bannerman, Mikala Tai and Jessica Taylor Exhibition dates 22 May - 25 July 2021 Venue Campbelltown Arts Centre, New South Wales 1 Art Gallery Rd, Campbelltown NSW 2560 4A.com.au | c-a-c.com.au | internationalcuratorsforum.org

Located on Dharawal land, Campbelltown Arts Centre is proudly owned by the people of Campbelltown. A cultural facility of Campbelltown City Council, assisted by the NSW Government through Create NSW and by the Australian Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding and advisory body. Campbelltown Arts Centre receives support from the Crown Resorts Foundation and the Packer Family Foundation and the Neilson Foundation. Image credit: Lindy Lee, Blossoms of the Floating Wind, 2020. Chinese ink, fire and rain, 316 x 139.5 cm. Photography by Aaron Anderson.

Campbelltown Arts Centre One Art Gallery Rd Campbelltown Open daily, 10am – 4pm 02 4645 4100 C-A-C.com.au

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Sullivan+Strumpf Contemporary Art Gallery Sydney, Australia and Singapore - May/Jun 2021  

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