Inheritance is an exhibition of wood and metal sculpture by emerging artist Joel Mitchell, featuring large-scale seedpods that have been made from reclaimed, discarded wood. Sustainability is an important aspect of Mitchell’s practice, in which he never cuts down living trees or takes from existing habitats, preferring found wood that has often been dumped or discarded.
“I find the process of seeing potential in discarded wood, then cutting, carving, grinding and sanding until it is realised, a deeply therapeutic process. This practice has many parallels in seeing the potential within myself and others.”
Mitchell’s inspiration comes from “Darwin’s unique and diverse landscape”, although his love of nature was cultivated growing up in the Blue Mountains, NSW. Themes from his work with youth, in outdoor education and reflections on parenthood also feed into his practice; correlating concepts of hope, restoration, beauty, brokenness and inheritance with his personal experiences and the natural world.
“I am intrigued with seed pods, as their primary function is to grow, protect, nurture and release life to the next generation. A tiny seed holding all the DNA of the parent plant, lays dormant, until the conditions are right to germinate. Only then do we see its full potential and beauty (or destructive nature) realised.”
Joel Mitchell holds a Bachelor of Creative Arts and Industries from Charles Darwin University, he won first prize in the 2013 Wetlands Australia Photography Competition (Flora) and has recently had a public artwork installed in a leisure precinct in Darwin . Inheritance marks Mitchell’s first solo show at the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art.
The ghost of art practices past haunt Darwin artist Leon Waud out of a 14-year hiatus and back once again to making art. His exhibition in Gallery 2, ’The Other’, is comprised of sculptural works, paintings and interactive digital film. Ghostliness is a lingering theme of this work, not only in the sense of apparitions but also as ‘traces’ - moments, gaps and juxtapositions which suggest the eerie presence of the in-between.
Ghostliness for Waud is also a manifestation of fear and the power of a fearfulness he has imbued in certain objects:
"This fear seems to be completely irrational but however it is there existing outside of rationality; this for me was the other."
Leon Waud is a Darwin-based artist who works across a range of mediums. He holds a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the Queensland University of Technology. He has held solo shows including Same Shit Different Room, Soapbox Gallery, Brisbane (2002) and No Fixed Address, Development Space, Metro Arts Brisbane (1999); and participated in a number of group shows including: Serendipity and Lunacy (in contemporary photography), Soapbox Gallery, Brisbane (2002), Between Now and Tomorrow, Gallery 482, Brisbane (2002) and Endzone, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2000).
Headshots is a installation which features an array of ceramic balloon-like heads and light projections. The balloon-heads are inspired by the artist’s recent visit to this home country of the Philippines, where a new craze had sprung up consisting of giant brightly coloured inflatable toys. Vendors lined the streets, some of which were so full almost everything else was obscured from view.
“These toys, sold for next to nothing and made for less, lined the streets. On some streets there were so many vendors that the inflatable toys obscured almost everything else from view. Cheap, synthetic, short-lived and easily replaced, the inflatable toys seemed to encapsulate many of my anxieties about change in my country.”
Mark Valenzuela's (Philippines/Australia) practice combines painting, drawing and ceramic installation. Internal and external conflict, anxiety and repetition are residing themes that Valenzuela explores to reveal the ways that an individual adjusts, conforms and rebels against his/herself and the society in which they live.
Valenzuela has exhibited widely in his home country of the Philippines, Australia, and internationally. Most recently, Valenzuela has exhibited at Vargas Museum (Philippines) and the 3rd Jakarta Contemporary Ceramics Biennale at the National Gallery of Indonesia, and Asian Art in London with One East Asia.
This is Valenzuela’s second showing at the Northern Centre for Contemporary Art (Australia) after his inclusion in the group show Dress Me Featherless (2015) curated by Fiona Gavino.
Valenzuela is a recipient of the 2015 Cultural Center of the Philippines Thirteen Artists Awards and the Arts SA Individual Development Grant (Australia). His solo exhibitions Warzone and Zugzwang were shortlisted for the 2008 and 2012 Ateneo Arts Award respectively.
In addition to his own artistic practice, Valenzuela has organised and curated numerous exhibitions over the past decade. In 2013, Valenzuela co-founded Boxplot, a flexible arts project aimed at supporting opportunities for collaboration between Australian and Southeast Asian artists.
Valenzuela is represented by Artinformal, Manila.
The Northern Centre for Contemporary Art is nestled in the heart of the Darwin suburb of Parap, home to vibrant local resident Paula Roberts. Roberts approached NCCA with the idea of presenting a selection of recent paintings of landscapes drawing on her mother's country (Roper River, Southeast Arnhem Land) and her father's country (Mataranka). The resulting selection focuses on the diverse life of the wetlands, particularly the waterlily which is Paula's mother's Dreaming. 'I want the work to give recognition to my mother', says Paula.
In her own unique fashion Roberts transformed the gallery frontage into a makeshift residency space, painting away over the period of several months, even setting up an ad hoc community art space in Vimy Lane for her friends and family. Roberts's vivid and celebratory style translates clearly through her painting, which is on display in the NCCA Boxset window, overlooking Vimy Lane.
Paula Roberts is an artist from Ngukurr who also calls the famous Elsey Station at Mataranka home. 'Ngarla Walili' is Paula's Aboriginal name in Mangarrayi language. Paula's mother, Betty Roberts, is one of the Joshua sisters of whom several have become well-known artists including the late Gertie Huddlestone and Angelina George. Paula's paintings generally celebrate country, the rich colours and flora/fauna of the Top End, often in a picturesque figurative style but also sometimes with a level of semi-abstraction. Paula has previously painted through Ngukurr Arts.
This year’s Member’s show is bent on portraiture but not just any portraiture. As the ‘Peer Review’ title suggests, the focus is on artists portraying each other. The idea comes from the annual Blunt Edge Portraiture Award in Cairns which began as a way of bringing the arts community together, particularly where an artist is asked to portray a fellow artist they have yet to meet.
So get thinking and talking and find yourself a local artist to portray, or you can opt to be part of a ballot to determine who you will portray. Work can be in any medium and there are no size restrictions. You just need to be a current NCCA member at the time of submitting your work.
Deadline: Work needs to arrive at NCCA Monday 7 November or Tuesday 8 November 2016; the exhibition will open 6pm Friday 18 November and run till Saturday 17 December 2016.
Enquiries: t: 08 8981 5368; e: firstname.lastname@example.org