Starts and Finishes (Paintings for Spiders) is a new body of work exploring through painting processes the important role and relationships of spiders in the natural world. The project examines the physical nature of spider vision and explores ways to translate this visually into paintings and painted objects. Scientists have widely recognised and celebrated the dexterity of spider vision, however little for visual output exists that demonstrates the viewpoint of the spider. The intention of this project is to produce works that represent the capability of spider vision and movement while considering an insect’s point of view in the world we occupy. This project belongs to a decade of investigation into the relationship between painting and the natural world, focused primarily on garden processes.
Luke Pither (b. 1975) trained in painting and printmaking at RMIT, Melbourne in 1994 before deferring to concentrate on a self-directed practice that combines the study of movement, colour physics and gardening in projects traversing multiple visual platforms. Between 1997 and 2010 he worked extensively in set design, dramaturgy and choreographic projects in Europe and Australia. Since 2002 he has designed permaculture and organic gardens in Australia as well as working collaboratively with permaculture design consultancy Very Edible Gardens, Melbourne. Pither has held solo exhibitions in Melbourne, Sydney, Germany (Berlin and Adlershof) and Antwerp (Netherlands), and his work is held in numerous public and private collections in Australia and overseas.
Dress Me Featherless
Gallery 2 + Screenroom + Boxset
Curator: Fiona Gavino
Artists: Shinya Akutagawa, Lyra Garcellano, Mark Salvatus, Mark Valenzuela,
The Philippines is a place of rich ethnicities where the people have tenaciously struggled for some 380 years against colonial tyranny and neocolonial occupation. Dress Me Featherless addresses this diversity and history in the contemporary ‘postcolonial’ present through new work by 4 early-career artists who are either from the Philippines or who have ongoing ties with the country. Through sculpture, film, and installation, the artists seek to challenge status quos and stereotypes concerning identity – national and individual. Curated by Fremantle (WA)-based Fiona Gavino as an outcome of her 2014 Asialink residency in Manila.
Shinya Akutagwa (Japan, Bangkok) is a conceptual artist who works with mixed media, installation, video and sound. He has studied painting, video and film, often using computer programming to combine interactive and architectural ideas to convey his concepts. akutagawashinya.com
Lyra Garcellano (Philippines) primarily works with installation and painting. Her works revolve around the politics of identity and are anchored in issues of displacement, movement, history and memory. lyragarcellano.com
Mark Salvatus (Philippines) works with familiar objects, chance encounters and everyday politics in a practice that involves various media from drawing, installation, photography, video, and street art to interactive and participatory projects. marksalvatus.blogspot.com.au
Mark Valenzuela (Philippines/Australia) has a practice which 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.
Fiona Gavino is an artist and curator currently based in Fremantle, WA (since 2008), after 12 years living in the NT where her cross-cultural weaving-based practice developed, and from where she curated two touring exhibitions largely comprising weaving/textile-based work: Call and Response (2006-07), and Organic Matters (2001). She recently curated the Perth International Arts Festival exhibition Yirrkala: works on paper, barks, sculpture at the Uni of WA’s Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery. Gavino’s practice encompasses sculpture, film, and installation. Her work is featured in Hot Springs, the Northern Territory & Contemporary Australian Artists (2012).
Barayuwa Munungurr, Ruark Lewis, Bengitj Ngurruwuthun, Jeffrey Ngurruwuthun
Opening Thursday 6 August, 3pm
Gallery 1 + Gallery 2 + Screenroom + Boxset
Rambangi / Together as equals explores the cultural poetics and politics of the homeland movement through a collaborative installation-based project involving 3 custodians of the Yarrinya site (a saltwater estate in Blue Mud Bay, north-east Arnhem Land) and a Sydney-based artist. The project stems from a history of collaboration since 2009 between Yirrkala-based artist Barayuwa Munungurr and Sydney-based artist Ruark Lewis, along with the involvement of Bengitj Ngurruwuthun and Jeffrey Ngurruwuthun. One of the key ancestral stories embedded at this site involves the ritual carving-up of the flesh and body of an ancestral whale, Mirinyungu, by Munyuku spirit men (Wurramala or Matjitji) who are brothers of Mirinyungu. The story holds significant and sacred ceremonial knowledge for Munyuku people and is manifest through myriad features of the Yarrinya coast.
All 4 artists will converge in Darwin for the realisation of an exhibition involving a wall-based installation, a traditional bark shelter, film, photography, bark painting, sculpture, and performance. The exhibition will take up NCCArt’s entire gallery spaces (Gallery 1, Gallery 2, Boxset and Screenroom) and is presented in association with Buku-Larrnggay Mulka Centre, Yirrkala, and as part of the 2015 Darwin Festival program.
Barayuwa Munungurr (b. 1980; also known as Djirkurrul, Gulukurru) is an early-career artist based at Yirrkala. Barayuwa largely paints the designs of his mother Bengitj’s homeland, Yarrinya (through Munyuku clan ties), which is also the motherland of his grandfather, Wonggu Munungurr, one of Donald Thomson’s key informants in the mid-1930s. As well as painting, Barayuwa makes spears, spear-throwers, clapsticks and yidakis. He is also a talented yidaki player. After showing in Buku-Larrnggay’s Young Guns II exhibition at Annandale Galleries, Sydney in 2008, Barayuwa held his first solo exhibition at Indigenart, The Mossenson Galleries, Perth in 2009. Barayuwa was represented in the MCA’s Primavera exhibition in 2014.
Bengitj Ngurruwuthun (b. 1954) is an artist, educator and linguist. She is the mother of Barayuwa, and sister of Dula and Gambali Ngurruwuthun, the great ritual specialists of the region during the 1970s through to the turn of last century. As an artist, Bengitj makes paintings and sculptures (including larrakitj/hollow log coffins) which usually relate to Yarrinya. Bengitj has played a central role in Barayuwa’s ongoing collaboration with Ruark, as a senior cultural adviser and in providing English translations of the Yolngu concepts and subjects underpinning Barayuwa’s art.
Jeffrey Ngurruwuthun (b. 1978) is Barayuwa’s cousin, and fellow custodian of Yarrinya and surrounding Munyuku clan country through his role as a songman. Jeffrey has performed with Barayuwa and Bengitj at several exhibition openings including for the 2014 Primavera exhibition at the MCA, Sydney and previously in Sydney at the Australian Museum, Cross Art Projects and Macquarie University Gallery.
Ruark Lewis (b. 1960) is a Sydney-based visual artist and writer. He works in a wide range of media such as painting, drawing, installation, artists-books, performance, public art, theatre and audio-video works. A graduate of the Sydney College of Arts, Lewis’s first professional position was Curator of poetry readings at the Art Gallery of NSW between 1984 and 1988; his first solo exhibitions (in Sydney) were transcriptions of sound and music, titled Transcription Drawings. Collaboration has played a central role in Lewis’s multidisciplinary practice, and has seen him work with Paul Carter, Rik Rue, Amanda Stewart, and Jonathan Jones (among others) who first introduced Lewis to Barayuwa in 2009. Lewis was the subject of a two-part survey exhibition at Hazelhurst Regional Gallery & Arts Centre and Macquarie University Gallery in 2012/13, which forms the basis of his forthcoming monograph Thoughtlines.