28 Juneâ€”22 July Santina Amato Trevelyan Clay Ry Haskings Mark Titmarsh
In its third year, SUB12 is a major annual three-month exhibition program presenting newly commissioned work by twelve leading contemporary Australian artists presented in partnership with Hobson’s Bay City Council. Under brief ‘Twelve Artists, Twelve Weeks, Twelve Ambitious New Works’ I approached SUB12 as an evolutionary show that tracks current interesting movements in contemporary art practice. Over three months we experience the work of twelve leading contemporary artists in three exhibitions. Each artist creative and diverse in their response to the spaces of the Substation, which are idosyncratic in their industrial markings. This first exhibition features significant works from artists Santina Amato, Trevelyan Clay, Ry Haskings and Mark Titmarsh. If there were a common thread which links the works of these four artists it is the appropriation and reworking of media images as a device to convey ideas in their practice. In his series of paintings, Trevelyan Clay uses modernist painting techniques to translate images of 1980’s Platform computer games. Mark Titmarsh uses found images of book jackets and overlays spontaneous expressionist painting to explore the idea of writing and communicating in colour.
Ry Hasking’s employs a kind of six degrees of separation technique linking a soviet communist propaganda television show to a Clint Eastwood film, a Disney film and a German rock band. Santina Amato’s video works draw on pop culture and film noir references to create a uncanny digital femme fatale character amidst a seductive mise-en-scene. In this sense aspects of these works highlight the interest of artists of this generation – borne from an imagecentric society with a complex matrix of media machines generating populist and political propoganda and digital escapism overtaking real life. It makes me nostalgic for Clay’s era of Platform computer games, where graphics were inspired by the principles of aesthetics, characters were fictional and there was a clear end game. For a further discussion of the works in this exhibition read Ash Kilmartin’s insightful catalogue essay published overleaf. The Substation would again like to thank Hobsons Bay City Council for their commitment to the presentation of new contemporary art in Melbourne’s West. Thank you to artists Santina Amato, Trevelyan Clay, Ry Haskings and Mark Titmarsh for their dedication and thoughtfulness in the creation of these ambitious and intelligent works. Stay tuned till August for the next SUB12 instalment.... Jessica Bridgfoot
RY HASKINGS Currently lives and worksÂ Melbourne
Ry Haskings (b. Melbourne 1977) received a Bachelor of Fine Art (printmaking) from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1998 and an Honours Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2000. Currently he is undertaking a PhD at Monash University. Much of Haskingâ€™s art incorporates references to film, music, popular culture, modern and contemporary art, in particular, an examination of abstract art forms. The artist has shown extensively at artist-run-initiatives in Melbourne since 1997, including Ocular Lab (2008); Utopian Slumps (2009, 2008); TCB Gallery (2010, 2007, 2003, 2001); Bus Gallery (2006); Seventh Gallery (2005, 2003, 2001); Conical (2006) and Dudespace (2004). Haskings was a member of DAMP collaborative art group from 2001- 2011 and participated with them at the Asia Pacific Triennial 6, GOMA, Brisbane, Queensland. He has
participated in a number of contemporary projects, including Unpacked bucket Llama Chute, Wall Drawing Project, Shepparton Art Museum (2010) Real Archive Loose War Paint, White Street Project, Frankston (2010); Dot Dot Dot, Peleton Gallery, Sydney and Lismore Regional Gallery, Lismore, NSW (2010); Agitation Free, Project Space, RMIT, Melbourne (2009); and A Re-constructed World, Lindenâ€”St Kilda Centre for Contemporary Arts, Melbourne (2005). Installation image: The Thirty Cases of Major Zeman 2012, Screen print, wood, perspex, stainless steel, paint, mixed media; Image inset: (detail) The Thirty Cases of Major Zeman 2012, Screen print
TREVELYAN CLAY Currently lives and works Melbourne
Trevelyan Clay (B. Cornwall, United Kingdom 1982) has completed a Bachelor of Arts Visual (Painting) with First Class Honours at The Australian National Univerisity (A.N.U) 2001-2004. Recent solo exhibitions include Trevelyan Clay, Auckland International Art Fair (2011); Episodic Contrast, Neon Parc (2010) and Having Fun With The Captives, Gertrude Contemporary, 2009, Melbourne. Trevelyanâ€™s work is collected by public institutions and private collections inÂ Australia, New Zealand and the United States including Artbank,
Auckland Art Gallery, Peter Fay Collection, Australian National University Collection, Chartwell Collection, Canberra Grammar Collection, Monash University of Modern Art, Joyce Nissan Collection, KPMG Collection (Australia), Proclaim Collection, and The University of Woolongong Collection. Installation image: Platform 2012, suite of 12 paintings, oil on canvas board; Image inset: Robot tying Shoelace, 2012, oil on canvas board, Courtesy Neon Parc, Melbourne
Santina Amato’s Cigarettes and Bees Knees describes how the artist sees society’s perception of women – three single-channel videos that act together as a triple-lensed projection of female ‘image’. In the main gallery, a projected image of a self-possessed young woman sipping a cocktail is projected onto an MDF ‘flat’ shaped to the silhouette of the woman’s tattooed figure. With vintage-looking hair and a drink as short as her shorts, she stares, looped, at the viewer, surrounded by various domestic lamps with dimmed red bulbs. In the mezzanine gallery, on a giltframed monitor, a static shot of a girl doll is accompanied by the sound of a crowd whose collective cheers rise in sync with the doll’s articulated eyelids and tiny dress, as an out-of-shot fan passes across them. In the basement gallery below, a third video: here, no figure, simply a projected scene of a bare table and chair and an ashtray, holding a burning cigarette. Positioned away from the screen is a pair of doll’s shoes. Both video and object want for pointedly lack for the human, presumably female figure. Each video is a short loop shot on a static camera, and eschews the cinematic conventions of character and narrative. Throughout Cigarettes and Bees Knees, the body is replaced with a projection or a prop, an imagined understudy for an ‘everywoman’. In these video-vignettes Amato considers what constitutes contemporary self-image. Mark Titmarsh’s Black Rainbow brings together examples of ‘expanded’ painting: paint-covered objects, heat-formed acrylic sculpture, and video documentation of a number of painting-based performances. His work consciously and comically takes on the weight of the history of painting, and throws it with force. It splatters.
A cycle of videos documenting Titmarsh’s performances show the artist deploying the tools and materials of the studio as missiles. This very physical process of making is also evident in the painted objects, which read as documents of events as much as works in themselves. Prepared plywood supports, collaged over with book jackets, are re-surfaced with volumes of acrylic paint thrown, sprayed or poured onto the surface. There is energy and spontaneity in each painting; each composition may be planned in advance, but once the paint hits the surface, there is no re-working or over-painting, only the result of actions. The colours occur in pairs of primaries, secondaries and fluorescents, from opposing sides of the colour wheel, generating heightened contrast. Titmarsh also utilises contrast as an effect conceptually, using the grid-based bookcover designs as a background for the biomorphic forms of liquid paint. The particulars of those books are rendered unimportant, as Titmarsh uses these cast-off protective sheets as shorthand for language and logic – two things that oppose the sensual, intuitive and enriching phenomenon of pure colour. Based on the visuals of 1980s and 90s platform-format video games, Trevelyan Clay’s paintings oscillate between abstraction and figuration. In this suite of twelve small paintings, all oil on canvas board, flattened and patterned surfaces are punctuated with sharp shifts in perspective. From the two-dimensional surface of saturated colour, figures come into focus and space organises itself into brief narrative: small renderings of ghosts, robots, characters caught on the platform. In Heritage Platform Game, the field of vision is limited to a sequence of small windows, each the same, screen-like size. Clay’s installation follows the convention of
early gaming, where every episode begins at the left, moving through time across the centre of the image, and ending at the right. The sequence of Heritage Platform Game begins, facing the viewer on entry to the gallery, each episodic painting moving to the right across three walls, until the viewer is left facing the door through which they entered, ready to quit or start again. In platforming, of course, there is no moving backwards – only forwards, to a new level, or the re-start. In Clay’s work, experience is remotecontrolled. It is steered from a distance, through a console handset. The pointof-viewer takes on a new character with each game, and within each game, that character has an endless series of identical, expendable lives. Clay’s paintings present episodes of abstraction in which a path can be found between the spaces to two- and three-dimensionality. In Ry Haskings’ The Thirty Cases of Major Zeman, a selection of materials and images form fleeting connections across the walls of Substation’s wide corridor space. Along one wall, a framed two-colour screenprint depicts a Czechoslovakian garage, with a vertical section of the wall visible between the edge of the image and the frame; beside it on the wall is a pasted-up blackand-white print, another closely-cropped anonymous photograph that stretches down two-thirds of the wall; after which more vertical stripes, this time painted, reach the height of the wall – some marking a complete line between top and floor, others only partially complete; still further, a wide, tall, flat sheet of brushed stainless steel balances, propped between the wall-skirting and the galvanised cable tray suspended from the ceiling, with a second framed print held in an aperture at the centre of the sheet. On the opposite wall, a third framed screenprint.
Across these varied media, visual references and samples from popular culture ricochet off one another. The title of Haskings’ works refers to a 1970s Czech television show, but knowing this does not necessarily reveal the source of the printed images, nor does it assist any attempt at interpreting the internal logic of the installation itself. Instead, Haskings’ fragments point toward each other, suggesting that the meaning might be elsewhere in the work. The installation borrows the shape of interpretation more generally: it is peripatetic, impossible to see in its entirety at once. Clues are gathered and, correctly or not, hint at answers. The overlaying of images in Haskings’ screenprints, and the similarity of the images across the three prints, conflate what is visible with what is remembered and imagined. The presence of the steel form denies the primacy of the printed photographic images, asserting the importance of experience in three dimensions. Then there are the painted elements, gestures made by hand directly on the surface of the wall and the frames of the prints. Each element of The Thirty Cases of Major Zeman defers to another, and together they evade any tidy resolution. Ash Kilmartin
MARK TITMARSH Currently lives and works Sydney
Mark Titmarsh PhD, (born 1955, Ingham, Australia) is a visual artist working in painting, video and text. In the1980s he won awards at Ann Arbor and Montreal International Festivals. Mark has worked as co-editor of the Visual Arts magazine, On the Beach and as a new image painter included in Perspecta, Art Gallery of NSW, 1989. In early 2006 he was a cofounder of the artist run space, Loose Projects. His screen based work included video and experimental websites that were exhibited in Multimedia Arts Asia Pacific in 2000. His paintings and film work are currently held in public collections across Australia, and in private collections in Europe and the United States. Mark is currently a tenured, part time lecturer in the School of Design, University of Technology, Sydney, Australia, where he has taught Image Making and Interdisciplinary Studies since 1999. Installation images from Black Rainbow 2012: Library of Congress 2012, acrylic paint, found book jackets, plastic, acrylic glass, variable dimensions
SANTINA AMATO Lives and works in Melbourne, Australia and New York, U.S.A.
Santina Amato graduated from the Victorian College of the Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Melbourne, Australia in 2007 and Honours in 2009 where she was awardedthe acquisitive Shelmerdine Award and the Alliance Francaise Award. Amato has participated in a number of residency programs including; Kala Art Institute International Artist-in-Residence Program in Berkeley, U.S.A (2009), Art Channel and Platform China Contemporary Art Institute Program in Beijing, China (2008), Victoria Universityâ€™s Summer Residency Program in Melbourne, Australia (2012), and is currently undertaking an Artist-In-Residence Program at NARS Foundation in New York, U.S.A. Selected exhibitions include Parked!!! (2006) Melbourne Fringe Festival (winner Melbourne Fringe Festival Visual Arts Award); What Is (Australia like) ?, (2008) curated by Kim Donaldson; Sub-urban Video Lounge, Rotterdam, Directorâ€™s Video Festival, Berlin, and FABS, Warsaw; Horses Shed Their Tails Once A Year In The Fall (2011), BUS Projects, Melbourne, Australia and Currents 2012 (2012), Santa Fe, New Mexico. Installation image: Cigarettes and Bees Knees 2012, video installation
SUB12 Proudly Supported by
The Substation Proudly Supported by
Exhibition installation photography by Andrew Curtis
Curator Jessica Bridgfoot
SUB12 Installation team
Visual Arts Committee
Ash Buchanan Jordan Marani Lachlan Petras
Alice Clanachan Richard Camilleri Carmel Kozlup Natasha Mian Sophie Perillo Donna Sadler
Kate Daw Max Delany Tully Moore
#1/3 limited edition catalogue
28 June—22 July Santina Amato Trevelyan Clay Ry Haskings Mark Titmarsh 26 July—19 Aug Rebecca Agnew Juan Ford Steven Rendall Sanne Mestrom
23 Aug—16 Sept Steven Asquith Sanja Pahoki Simon Pericich Masato Takasaka
1 Market Street, Newport VIC 3015 Tel: (03) 9391 1110 www.thesubstation.org.au