Gallery One and The Cranny
Friday 2 – Saturday 17 December 2016
Opening Friday 2 December 6-8pm
Sally Clarke, Michelle Collocott, Christine Dean, Brenda Factor, Sarah Newall, Ali Noble + Nuha Saad, Rafaela Pandolfini, Margaret Roberts, Nairn Scott, David Sequeira, Phaptawan Suwannakudt
Join us for a walk and talk through the galleries with Christine Dean on Saturday 17 December from 3pm.
It promises to be fun and will be followed by afternoon tea and drinks to see out the last exhibition for 2016!
Grey Area denotes confusion or a lack of clarity between two mutually exclusive forms, states, categories or rules. Twelve artists respond to this indeterminate space.
A close shave, a near miss. Almost, but not quite. A moment, a form, an action. Change of course. Almost became something, then became something else, then became nothing. Scrutiny. It invited scrutiny. Even though it was nothing. Even though it was everything.
Sally Clarke is not an unsung hero of British food and doesn’t think she could live on just fennel, crabs and apricots alone. In fact she could never eat crabs. Sally Clarke did not feed Lucian Freud, nor sit for him. Despite this, a portrait of Sally Clarke by Lucian Freud exists. So, in fact, this proves that Sally Clarke did know Lucian Freud. She sat for him, in one of the most famous chairs in the world, for three works, hoping to dream up future menus. But Sally Clarke realised she wanted to work hard at sitting. She wanted to work hard at giving by sitting so he could take, which was also giving. In fact Lucian Freud gave Sally Clarke his all.
The Happy Moment was produced shortly after Michelle returned to Australia from London in 1969. The work depicts a procession of colourful figures and cut out abstract patterns passing through a hostile treeless landscape.
By combining a garland of festive shapes and human caricatures derived from magazines and newspapers representative of the graphic style of Carnaby Street set against a stark brown landscape painted in the gestural style of abstract expressionism The Happy Moment evokes a world of dualities. Through a mixture of materials and art historical styles a tension is constructed by combining collage elements referencing 1960s erotica, décor and women’s fashion with earnest painterly gestures using earthy tones.
Adding to the drama of the composition pop culture references sit uneasily against an abstract expressionist backdrop while masculine and feminine forms jostle for space in a universe of binary symbols. Careful observation reveals that the work isn’t actually a landscape but a portrait of a landscape where rocks and boulders become human shapes such as breast forms and nipples.
Superficially this work parallels that of the Annandale Imitation Realists but departs from their political and social agenda by visualising a more intimate diagnosis, not of post-war commodity culture but the condition of gender variance. By developing a visual language representing the conundrum of gender in an era that lacked a way to describe it The Happy Moment is a pioneering study of this socially grey area. (text: Christine Dean)
Michelle Collocott was born in Sydney in 1945. She studied at the National Art School, Sydney, gaining a Diploma in Design and Craft in 1965. In 1966 she had her first professional showing at Gallery A’s Summer Exhibition, and further exhibitions in Sydney and Melbourne followed. She travelled to Europe in 1968, and participated in exhibitions in London. Returning to Australia in July 1969, she took up a part-time teaching position at the National Art School and continued to show in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, including one person shows at Gallery A, the Australian Galleries Canberra and the Bonython Gallery in Sydney in 1971.
In 1973 Michelle was selected to show in New York at the International Telephone and Telegraph Acquisitive Award, with artists from thirty countries. This exhibition toured throughout the United States, including Miami, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Minneapolis. In 1973 and 1975 she was invited to exhibit in the McCaughey Art Exhibition at the National Gallery in Victoria.
Throughout the 1970’s and early 1980’s Michelle worked from the studio she had established near Oberon, NSW. During this period she had many solo and group showings in Sydney, Melbourne, Canberra, and regional galleries, as well as in London. In 1976, her work was included in the BHP Selection Exhibition of Contemporary Australian Art in Melbourne, and in 1980 she was one of the ‘Australian Artists Of Fame and Promise’ whose work was shown at NSW House in London. She also continued to teach, lecturing at the School of Art in Sydney, Mitchell College at Bathurst, and Wollongong College of TAFE. In 1979 she was guest lecturer at the School of Art and Design, Croydon College, London.
In 1986 Michelle relocated to Sydney, establishing a home, studio and window gallery in Darlington. In the same year she was represented in the Modern Australian Paintings Survey Exhibition at the Charles Nodrum Gallery in Melbourne. While continuing to exhibit widely in Australia and overseas Michelle has expanded her interests to other forms of visual expression, including photography and horticulture. Since 1993 she has made several study trips to Europe, and she has recently exhibited at the Belgrave Gallery in London.
During 1995 she participated in redesign concepts, and making, of Australia’s new National Flag, this resulted in some five or six exciting alternatives. The opportunity to again explore landscape came in 1998 when location of six acres near Oberon has allowed her to plan and commence another garden. “3 Ponds”, Sky, Earth and Water being driving elements; this documented by some 200 poster sized photographs, and 20 paintings. Series A & B was exhibited at Bryanhooper Gallery Sydney September/October 2003. Other exhibitions of note took place at the New England Art Museum and Sir Herman Black Gallery in Sydney University. Michelle’s work is represented on corporate fine art collections, such as those of IT & T in New York, BHP, Westpac, Commonwealth Bank, and Rainier National Bank, Seatle; the permanent collections of the Australian National Gallery, Art Gallery of South Australia, and various regional galleries; and the collections of educational and municipal bodies such as the University of Sydney, University of Technology, Sydney, Mitchell CAE, Conservatorium of Music, and North Sydney and Ku-Ring-Gai Councils.
Most recently the archival establishment of some 70 major paintings has become and ongoing project of hers. The New England Regional Art Museum at Armidale has work dated from the early 1960’s to current paintings completed.
The quote used in the work was derived from a book by Roberta Perkins, published in 1982 called The Drag Queen Scene, and was the first academic study of transsexualism in Australia.
Christine Dean graduated from the University of Sydney in 1986 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Art History. Subsequently she complete a Graduate Diploma in Visual Arts at Sydney College of the Arts and a PhD at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales. Christine has exhibited locally and internationally in exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, the Art Gallery of New South Wales and Toby Fine Arts, New York. In 2000 Christine was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Fellowship and in 2001 she undertook an Australia Council residency at the 18th Street Arts Complex, Los Angeles. Her art practice navigates issues related to gender, sexuality, abstraction and formalism and since her gender transition Christine has been researching the history of transgender art.
Brenda Factor is the maker of many things – ranging from contemporary jewellery to giant inflatable pink fig leaves.
An enduring feature of her work is a love of colour, repetition and pattern.
In 2011 Brenda Factor set up SquarePeg Studios in Sydney and achieved a long held dream to develop a supportive, creative and vibrant space for contemporay jewellers in Sydney. As well as devoting time to making SquarePeg Studios as fabulous as possible, she is continuing to expand her art practice in new directions.
Sarah Newall employs ‘low art’ materials, handmade craft and hobby activity to investigate the relationship between everyday objects and contemporary art in an era of mass marketed design. Her primary interest is in the private domestic spaces we inhabit by creating objects that embellish this sphere. She makes domestic surfaces, bouquets, pot plants and customizes furniture to reference that which embellishes, beautifies and personalise space. Newall’s research therefore creates a site for ‘resistance’ against a utopian ideal that means the same perfect world, or lounge room, for everyone.
Ali Noble + Nuha Saad
The origins of our collaboration began as a mutual tension within our practices between ornament and minimalism. Our exhibition “Glitter is Going Under” (Airspace Projects 2015) was a playful riposte to the early twentieth century thinking of Adolf Loos (Ornament and Crime 1929), and Le Corbusier’s declarations regarding the self-indulgence and vanity of the decorative arts (In the Decorative Arts of Today 1925).
Our intention is to continue to expand the experimental and collaborative possibilities of our alliance by exploring the Grey Area of ‘ownership’ within a creative partnership. By creating the work together in-situ, our motive is to explore the notions of authorship and symbiosis. Our methodology is both playful and thoughful, underpinned by curiosity and a shared love of materiality.
A form of perspective is about the form repetition can take and a perspective of objects as they loop in and around every day life.
Rafaela Pandolfini is an artist based in Sydney. She is interested in the expression of emotion as form and more recently ways to get through the every day.
Red Check Remnant is a remnant of Red Check, an installation to mark the closure in 2004 of the old Tin Sheds Gallery at 154 City Rd. In Red Check two swings hung from Tin Sheds’ rafters above 3m x 3m iron-oxide squares on the ground, in the Tin Sheds building that had been cleared of all its gallery accoutrements. On the opening night visitors swung on the swings till late, spreading the iron oxide all around, as seen on http://www.margaretroberts.org/redcheck.html. Red Check Remnant documents Red Check using its swings, some of its iron oxide and a substitute building.
Since the early 1990s Margaret Roberts has made installations in which the audience physically participates, thinking of it as a way to acknowledge the value of place. From about the same time that Red Check was made, she has also been experimenting with the documenting of spatial artworks in ways that acknowledge their actual space rather than folding it away into the virtual space of photographs. Red Check Remnant extends that experimentation into the documentation of her own work.
Margaret Roberts studied art at Sydney College of the Arts, has been exhibiting for 25 years, is co-founder of Articulate project space and teaches at the National Art School.
The title of this suite of collages is taken from a work by composer Philip Glass, 1000 Airplanes on the Roof
‘What Time is Grey’ (Track 6 of the CD) is relentless repetitive, strangely mysterious and curiously predictable.
1000 Airplanes on the Roof is a melodrama in one act by Philip Glass which featured text by David Henry Hwang and projections by Jerome Sirlin. It is described by Glass as “a science fiction music drama”.
The work was commissioned by the Donau Festival, Krems an der Donau, The American Music Theater Festival, Philadelphia, and West Berlin City Council in 1988. The opera premiered on July 15, 1988, at the Vienna Airport in Hangar #3. The performance featured vocals by Linda Ronstadt and was conducted by Michael Riesman.
David Sequiera works in a range of media to explore notions of language and information through colour and geometry. A self confessed hoarder, David collects books, vases, flower petals, leaves, orange domestic ware and plastic plates which all find their way into his practice. David’s interests include museums, libraries, flea markets and junk shops.
Over the last 20 years he has exhibited his work extensively through out Australia at venues including the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Museum of Contemporary Art. His work has been regularly profiled in art journals including the Sydney based magazine, Art and Australia and the Los Angeles based Art & Text. He has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Australia Council’s studio residency in Paris and the Collex Museum of Contemporary Art acquisitive prize.
My work is informed by the experience of living and working in between two cultures, and moving between different artistic traditions. Before I migrated to Australia in 1996, I led a team of painters, and completed many mural projects in Buddhist temples in Thailand during the 1980s–1990s. I was one of the first two female painters to work in this traditionally male-dominated field. I also formed, and led an artist group, Tan Kudt, to showcase works by painters in the mural team. Because of this background, Buddhist imagery and narratives have been ongoing references in my work for decades.
Since I moved to Australia, my challenge has been to combine the skills of traditional painting with new expressions in contemporary art. My work has been mainly concerned with negotiating the identity of being in-between places and cultures. The work presented in Grey Area deals with landscapes that are imbued with memories and stories. It offers a sense of place in the world by exploring both Australian and Thai context of being, and how these two sentient beings relate to each other.
In 2003 I participated in an artist residency at Bundanon to explore the Australian bushland and paddocks by the Shoalhaven River. The landscape was covered with lush green new growth that contrasted with burnt tree trunks after bush fire. I built a series of paintings titled The Elephants and the Bush, which depict elephants among the trees and led to the next series, The Elephants and the Journey, in which I first explored insertions of Thai text in my painting. This was the way I engaged with the idea of translation in visual art, and often use Thai language as a visual form, abstracted from the original context, which I explored further in the Bhava series (Bhava is a Pali term that is commonly used in Thai and means the state of being).
The process of my work is carried out through forms of translation in which one continues to examine places and experiences. The context remains neither here nor there; it is the grey area.
Phaptawan Suwannakudt CV 2016