EXTRA May to July 2019
Winners Announced at 58th Annual Venice Biennale
The winners of the 2019 Venice Biennale Official Awards have been announced.
Lithuania won the coveted Golden Lion for the Best National Participation with the exhibition Sun & Sea (Marina).
The Lithuanian Pavilion was the popular hit of the opening week of the Biennale, as audiences queued for more than two hours to experience the visceral ‘opera-performance’. A collaboration between composer Lina Lapelytė, director Vaiva Grainytė and writer Rugilė Barzdžiukaitė, the pavilion was transformed into a holiday beach scene that explored the seriousness of global environmental anxieties. Through the assemblage of beachgoers and the gravitas of live operatics, the Pavilion’s unassuming frivolity gave way to a pointed warning of ecological disaster.
American artist Arthur Jafa won the Golden Lion for Best Participant for his film The White Album, included in Ralph Rugoff’s International Exhibition May You Live in Interesting Times.
Jafa’s work draws on popular imagery, archival materials, memes, music videos and viral news to weave a visual fabric of black experience. The White Album is longer and more complex than previous work, and in a barrage of “black aesthetics” – defined by the artist – Jafa exposes the fragility of self-imposed whiteness.
Cyprus-born, Berlin-based artist Haris Epaminonda won the Silver Lion for Promising Young Participant for her work Chimera.
The 58th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia runs until November 24, 2019.
Image credit: Arthur Jafa, 58th International Art Exhibition - La Biennale di Venezia. Courtesy: La Biennale di Venezia
IMA Annual Gala Honouring Madonna Staunton
IMA Annual Gala and Benefit Auction
Honouring Madonna Staunton
Friday June 14, 6:30pm–late
The Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane will host its Annual Gala and Benefit Auction on Friday June 14. The Gala will move off-site for the first time and will be hosted at The Calile Hotel.
This year, the Winter Gala’s Honouree is artist and poet Madonna Staunton. Staunton is one of Queensland’s greatest living artists working in painting, collage and assemblages. Staunton exhibited in the 1979 Biennale of Sydney and has been the subject of two major survey exhibitions at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art. Staunton’s work is defined by a subdued palette that emphasises a particular dichotomy between accuracy and approximation. Throughout her career Staunton has abandoned mediums, expanded in scale and most recently returned to painting, all demonstrating her tenacity as an artist committed to improvement.
The Gala includes an auction of works donated by artists and makers such as Tony Albert, Megan Cope, Robert Andrew, Sonja Carmichael, Agatha Gothe-Snape and many more – online bidding is available.
Image credit: Radha (Shahmen Suku), First Thursdays at the IMA, 2017. Photo: Louis Lim
Sam Shmith at ARC ONE Gallery
the sacredness of something
On show until June 22
On first view, Sam Shmith’s large-format works on paper appear to surrender to the obvious dissolve of distraction – the suggestion that our contemporary dependence on digital consumption inhibits sustained concentration. Shmith’s exhibition, the sacredness of something, presents the viewer with two options: attention or distraction. The body of work is pointedly and intentionally distorted, each work systematically lacking a clear focal point to emphasise the layers of imagery, light and technology that populate everyday life.
However, the abstraction of Shmith’s work should not be misguided. The prints are not a literal translation of the frenetic pace of contemporary culture but an invitation to manage the contest between confusion and concentration. Shmith’s work is a feat in the pairing of disharmonious elements: scale and detail; the landscape and the figurative; foreground and background.
Ultimately, the viewer must relate themselves to the work and occupy the human presence that is alluded to but never fully exposed. Shmith invites agency, and as the exhibition’s title suggests, we must now work harder to find what we value in the world around us. With both fear and doubt, the refraction of light that suggests the sparkle of an iPhone forces us to reconsider what we define as sacred.
Image credit: Sam Shmith, Untitled (figure, glass, landscape / consecutive), 2019, pigment print on paper, diptych, sheet: 168 x 110 cm, each, 168 x 220 cm, overall. Courtesy of the artist and ARC ONE.
Allan Fox at Gippsland Art Gallery
On show until July 28
For a painter whose work was first shown in Sale 52 years ago, Allan Fox continues to bring an energetic contribution to the legacy of Australian geometric abstraction. Good Vibrations is an expansive exhibition of more than 70 paintings perfectly executed, tightly packed and tensely contained within the pictorial frame. As each work varies in perspective and composition, Fox’s exhibition accumulates a collective intensity. En masse, the internal geometry of colour and tone communicates the artist’s lifelong obsession with precision.
Fox commenced work on his Sale exhibition in 1967 three months prior to the landmark exhibition Two Decades of American Paintings and a monumental 18 months prior to The Field, both shown at the National Gallery of Victoria. A Melbourne native and current Gippsland local, Fox shows a commitment to international currents that positioned his hard-edge geometric abstraction within a global legacy. Fox has held on to the revolutionary principles of formalism for its rejection of cultural and historical pretences but he has since excluded himself from the mechanics of the art world, signalling a personal commitment to the disciplined and dynamic outcomes of his painting. It is this singular passion that is the spirit of Good Vibrations.
Image credit: Allan Fox, Untitled, 2016, gouache on paper, 55.7 x 53cm. Courtesy of the artist.
David Frazer at Australian Galleries Melbourne
The Tangled Wood
May 28 to June 16
David Frazer’s practice is defined by his craftmanship. Working in etching, linocut, wood engraving and lithography, Frazer’s printmaking explores the fragility of rural environments and the idiosyncrasies of human interaction. The Tangled Wood becomes a metaphor for the flaws of human experience.
Image credit: David Frazer, The Tangled Wood (composition I), 2018, etching, 80 x 120 cm, edition 40. Courtesy of the artist and Australian Galleries Melbourne.
John Wolseley and Mulkun Wirrpanda at Geelong Gallery
Molluscs / Maypal and the warming of the seas
On show until June 2
John Wolseley and senior Yolngu artist and clan leader Mulkun Wirrpanda extend their decade-long collaboration in an exhibition that considers the fragility of the earth’s ecosystems. The uniting of Wolseley’s unique woodblock prints and Wirrpanda’s lyrical bark paintings results in a commanding meditation on the mollusc: a powerful indicator of changing oceanic conditions and water systems. John Wolseley and Mulkun Wirrpanda will show concurrently at Australian Galleries from July 23 to August 11 alongside new work by Mary Tonkin.
Image credit: John Wolseley and Mulkun Wirrpanda–Molluscs / Maypal and the warming of the seas, installation view, Geelong Gallery. Photographer: Andrew Curtis. Courtesy of the artists and Geelong Gallery.
Pierre Mukeba at Hamilton Gallery
On show until July 7
Pierre Mukeba’s figurative paintings have an arresting quality. The bodies portrayed are both personal and political, resulting in a genuine commentary on the experience of African communities in Australia. Throughout his work, Mukeba’s use of textiles synonymous with African culture, subsequently produced and appropriated by the Dutch, becomes symptomatic of persistent colonialism.
Image credit: Pierre Mukeba, Discrimination, 2017, brush pen and fabric applique on cotton, 180 x 200cm. Courtesy of GAGPROJECTS | Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide.
Heidi Yardley at Nicholas Thompson Gallery
On show until June 9
Heidi Yardley’s new body of work combines the influence of Surrealism and Victorian era portraiture to produce delicately rendered charcoals imbued with an otherworldly spirit. Through the veiling and obscuring of the female body, Yardley explores themes of loss, the afterlife and transient spirits. The mysterious figures evoke the real and unreal of life and death.
Image credit: Heidi Yardley, The thin veil, 2019, charcoal on primed paper 153 x 115 cm. Courtesy the artist and Nicholas Thompson Gallery.
Sounds Like. at Town Hall Gallery
On show until June 30
Sounds Like. brings together the work of Roger Alsop, Vicky Browne, Megan Alice Clune, Julian Day and Camille Robinson in an immersive sound, sculpture and performance installation. The exhibition rejects a dependence on the visual to explore the effect of sound on engagement and imagination. In Vicky Browne’s work, for example, the strict division between the tangible and intangible dimensions of audibility are poetically blurred – a theme explored throughout the exhibition.
Image credit: Julian Day, Cold Front, 2018, reflective mylar, speakers, dimensions variable. Installation view, Town Hall Gallery, 2019. Photo by Christian Capurro. Courtesy of Town Hall Gallery.