2014, metal-inlay woodblock;
image courtesy the artist
enamel paint, tar, bitumen, leaf litter, oil paper; image courtesy
the artist and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne
A collaborative work between artists Michelle Culpitt (Darwin) and Annee Miron (Victoria), Burrow is inspired by a road trip from Alice Springs to Darwin taken by the artists in 2013. During the trip the artists were struck by the 'blackened folds in the landscape that hinted at burrows'. Apart from Culpitt's photographs partly serving as documentation of burrows and burrow-forms in the landscape, the artists also interpret the burrow more broadly as 'an opening, a passage between the known and the unknown, both an archaeology and architecture of the places and spaces between, beyond and underneath'. (Artists' statement, 2013) The exhibition, shown in NCCA's Gallery 1, combines Miron's sculptural installation (using found, woven cardboard) and Culpitt's photography (including explorations into polymer and copperplate gravure photographic printing along with duratran and digital prints).
Unco is a selection of recent video work by seven Australian artists/artist-duos showing in NCCA's Screen Room. The selection is curated by Ian Haig, Senior Lecturer in Expanded Studio Practice, School of Art, RMIT University, Melbourne, and premiered at The Torrance Art Museum, Los Angeles, in August 2013. In tune with the Australian vernacular of its title (‘unco’ meaning ‘physically uncoordinated’), Unco ‘plays with the idea of wrong thinking, odd audio/visual pairings … ‘. ‘Many of the works’, writes Haig, ‘offer a re-reading and negotiate popular culture in different ways, providing a perverse and darkly humorous take on the worlds of contemporary screen culture’. Featuring the work of Soda Jerk, Ian Haig, Heath Franco, Emile Zile, Martine Corompt, Philip Brophy, and Deigo Ramirez.
Grain & Gold, Darwin-based artist Brittany Jones offers an array of unmilled, lacquered wood 'slices' whose surfaces are adorned with pokered patterns incorporating intricate metal and enamel inlay. Rendered with exceptional skill and presented as an overall installation, Jones's sculptural objects reflect her interest in graphic design, typography, and the interplay of art and craft.
'I have always been a painter/crafter', writers Jones, whose practice as an artist/designer goes by the name of baked goods, a nod to her 'need to create handmade, tactile things'. Jones moved to Darwin from Melbourne in 2012. She has exhibited her paintings in numerous group shows in America (in Atlanta, Georgia, and at the Gasparilla Festival of the Arts, Tampa, Florida, for example) and in Australia (including Hidden Faces of the Archibald, Melbourne, 2012). Grain & Gold is her first solo exhibition.
Banksia and Feathertop Grass is an artwork from a series of work collectively titled The Paper Series, for which Body hand-makes paper from found plant fibres and then films the paper over a time period of 24 hours. This process results in the video and its subject exhibited side-by-side as a memory of the artist's process, and in line with Body's overall work which seeks to memorialise the artist's past-present body within creative process and action. Body is a Sydney-based (Darwin-bred) artist. A Master of Fine Arts graduate from the UNSW College of Fine Arts, she has been awarded studio residencies in Spain and Sydney, and is currently artist-in-residence at the Sydney TAFE Institute, St George School of Art. Body has exhibited her work at numerous commercial and public contemporary art galleries in Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne. Her work for NCCA's Boxset is part of the Dispatch project of curated window spaces, curated by Brisbane-based Richard Stride.
NCCA presents Vexed, a solo exhibition by Fiona Foley in the main gallery and screen room. Taking its name from Foley’s 2013 video work which was filmed in Alice Springs, Vexed concerns the disruption to traditional courting and betrothal/marriage customs wrought by colonisation. Implicit in this scenario is the vexed and changing role of Aboriginal women on the colonial frontier. The exhibition will feature retrospective works by Foley that address the same theme, as well as a new letter-based sculpture spelling the words ‘Black Velvet’, produced in association with Brisbane-based Urban Art Projects.
Fiona Foley is a Badtjala artist from Fraser Island (Thoorgine), Queensland, who resides in Brisbane. She is one of Australia’s leading contemporary artists; in 2014 she was awarded the Australia Council’s Visual Arts Award, recognised as a ‘fearless advocate for Indigenous political and social equality’.
Arnhem H-way is the outcome of a recent residency at Gunbalanya (Oenpelli) where Betheras chanced upon a roadworks crew. Working with the roadcrew's offcuts - sheets of oil-based paper laden with tar and bitumen - Betheras began to assemble the offcuts in various combinations. Part readymade, these works represent a signifcant experimental departure for the artist better known for his high-key figurative and semi-abstract paintings. Some works bear more of the artist's painted mark than others while the raw expression inherent in the overall project conjures names like Anselm Kiefer, a conscious influence for the artist who was surprised to discover that Kiefer too had visited Gunbalanya (in the 1990s).
Melbourne-based Betheras began his artistic career as a street/graffiti artist before moving into a career as an AFL footballer for Collingwood. He maintains his connection to football and has run various football academies in Aboriginal communities within the NT. 'The football connection allows me to enter places', writes Betheras, 'and from that I am able to produce artwork specific to those places and to the experience of being there'. The 'higher states of consciousness and physicial application needed to perform at the highest levels of sport', according to the artist, are also manifest in his artistic process as a painter.
The comforting promise comprises a bunch of soft banana sculptures made of the plastic sheets that are used to make cheap travel packing bags, and cotton fillings. This work underlines the tradition of consuming imported food in Australian society, inspired by some histories which record that bananas were first brought to Australia by Chinese migrants in the mid-1800s. Zhou fashions her 'bananas' from the travel bag material that has cultural associations with Asian migrants, prompting us to consider the Asian influence in Australia's food industry. Zhou is a Chinese-born artist who migrated to Australian in the mid-2000s. A previous resident of Darwin, she now resides in Melbourne where she is undertaking a Masters in Visual Arts at Victorian College of the Arts.