Marlene Gilson’s histories of home

With an eye for capturing the colonial holds of history while communicating her profound spiritual connection to Country, in My Place – Before Marlene Gilson paints the history of her home. In vibrant, detailed and narrative-driven works, she shows the ongoing presence of Wathaurung people through the goldrush, alongside the building of Ballarat and the years that followed. Full story on Art Guide.

Overlapping Magisteria

Overlapping Magisteria takes its name from the idea that science and religion are entirely separate, non-overlapping realms of enquiry – one about material facts, the other about immaterial values. While the exhibition is not so much about religion, it does offer a counterargument to that kind of compartmentalised thinking by presenting five artists who blend multiple ways of sensing, experiencing and understanding the world. Full story over on Art Guide.

Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu

Nyapanyapa in Art Guide

Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu’s practice defies easy categorisation. The Yolŋu artist is known primarily for her bark paintings but she has also made ghostly fields of larrakitj, drawn on acetate, worked in multimedia, recycled materials and sculpted animals from beach hibiscus. Continue reading “Nyapanyapa Yunupiŋu”

Suspending belief

Published in Australian Art Collector, Issue 60, April – June 2012

After a hiatus of 24 years, performance artist Stelarc recently attempted another suspension in Melbourne. The performance was witnessed by a small group of art world VIPs at Scott Livesey Galleries. (The gallery closed the event to the public not because of safety concerns but simply because of the room needed for the winching system.)

Stelarc’s suspensions are somewhat legendary in the history of Australian performance art. In the intervening years since his last one he has continued to push boundaries in other directions. A recent project involved having a plastic ear surgically inserted under the skin of his arm.

His performance in March took place over a four metre long sculpture of the Ear on Arm project. Speaking to Australian Art Collector before the event, Stelarc explained the decision to sharpen the hooks once again. “This has occurred through an unexpected coupling of wanting to somehow reanimate and make more relevant these remote images of previous suspensions with a desire to expose the physicality of both the suspensions and the Ear On Arm project. The skin has always been a site for both exposing the body’s obsolescence and engineering its augmentations.”

The suspensions take “careful planning as to the mechanics” but the performance itself is handled more loosely. “It’s about allowing it to happen, with a posture of indifference, rather than expectation. At a certain time the suspension process will begin. And at an indeterminate time it will end.”

As for all the years since his last performance, the 66-year-old artist is unfazed. “They were always physically difficult. And previous suspensions never really prepared you for the next one. The problem will not be so much a problem of ‘all these years,’ but simply of managing another one.”

Footloose & fancy free

Published in Australian Art Collector, Issue 58, October – December 2011

For the first time, this year’s annual Primavera exhibition has broken free of the gallery, presenting curator Anna Davis with the chance to showcase young artists working in performance and public art, reports Jane O’Sullivan.

This year Primavera, the Museum of Contemporary Art’s young artist exhibition, is something of a homeless beast. The museum’s own gallery spaces were off limits because of the construction work for the new MCA wing. One option could have been to find a host gallery – as was the case with the MCA’s Tell me tell me exhibition earlier this year, staged at the National Art School – but curator Anna Davis thought there were more interesting avenues to explore.

Continue reading “Footloose & fancy free”