Machinations is an exhibition in Gallery 2 consisting of new large-scale, screenprinted poster works which survey military aviation machines currently used by The Australian Defence Force, including fighters, carriers and drones (UAVs: Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) which are increasingly used in the surveillance of Australian waters. Mutton’s imagery also taps into principles of ‘dazzle’ camouflage design – complex geometric patterning developed during World War I and used in Australian propaganda posters.
This body of work developed out of an artist-residency at Megalo Print Studio + Gallery, Canberra in 2015, and continues the artist’s exploration into the relationship that nations and communities have with the technology of war, as seen in previous exhibitions such as Rise of the Machines (2014), and Post War: Thousand Mile Stare (2015). ‘I am interested in the romanticism associated with military flying machines’, Mutton muses, ‘and the seeming disconnect with their capability as enablers of destruction and/or superintendence.’
Katy is an early-career visual artist who has held a number of solo exhibitions over the past 5 years, and participated in numerous group exhibitions including Women, the Homefront & War (Hawkesbury Regional Gallery, 2016), and Guarding the Homefront, Casula Powerhouse (2015). A graduate in printmedia and drawing from the Australian National University, these two mediums continue to inform her practice along with work in sculpture/installation. Katy has been the recipient of several prestigious grants/fellowships: in 2014 she was honoured with the Canberra Critics Circle Visual Arts Award for her solo exhibition Rise of the Machines, and with a Print Council of Australia Print Commission in 2016.
The works in Domestic Bliss (showing in NCCA's Screenroom) are made by emerging artists and first-time collaborators Liz Grylls and Nadine Lee. Each work uses the humble tea towel as the starting point to express more than the notion of ‘Stay Calm and Keep Drying’. As a common household item, the tea towel features in this exhibition as both a canvas and an analogy for home life. Both Liz and Nadine have a number of identities including artist, parent, partner, cultural representative. It is often easy to compartmentalise each identity, however Domestic Bliss seeks to highlight that regardless of what identity an individual may have or be assumed to have, they also have ideas and thoughts that are far greater than one single identity.
Liz enjoys working in a range of mediums and has used tea towels previously for works combining printed images and embroidered text, sometimes without any apparent correlation. In comparison, the embroidered text in Nadine’s tea towels raises direct questions based on the tea towel's use and the users themselves; for example, as symbols of forced domestic help, collectables, or as pieces of art.
Both Liz and Nadine live and work in Darwin. They have both completed a Bachelor of Creative Arts and Industries (Fine Arts/Visual Arts) from Charles Darwin University. Liz has completed Honours in Creative Arts and Industries (Fine Arts) at CDU while Nadine is currently completing an Honours degree (Visual Art) at CDU. Nadine has previously shown work in NCCA’s Boxset (2015).
Seven Sisters is an installation of painted hubcaps in NCCA's Boxset, referencing the ancestral sisters who are chased by Artwele, an old man also known as the Morning Star, or Kwerralye Pule. The artist writes:
The Seven Sisters are really important to all the women of my family. They are really important to all the other women across Central Australia. I call them Peltharre Sisters – that’s Arrernte. It means the same as Napaljarri. You might have heard that word? That’s the Seven Sisters’ skin name ... their section, all across Central Australia. A person’s skin tells them where they fit with everyone else. Anyway, the Seven Sisters got so tired of Artwele chasing them across the country that they jumped up into the sky to escape all the men who make trouble for women, just like him. But Artwele, he just jumped up after them and he’s still chasing those Seven Sisters up there in the sky. We see him every morning, still chasing them, poor things.
Jane Young is an Arrernte artist who is based in Alice Springs and works through Tangentyere Artists for which she is a founding member (2005). She and her family were also founding members of Keringke Arts at Santa Teresa (from the late 1980s). Jane has been exhibiting through Tangentyere Artists since 2006, mostly in group exhibitions. She generally paints on recycled metal and plastic hubcaps as well as linen. ‘I like to paint the shimmering of the little rocks in the Simpson Desert’, writes Jane, which accounts for the dense patterning and detail of her paintings and recalls her childhood spent with her grandmother taking her to special places in country. Other subjects include landscapes and bush tucker from the region. Jane is currently the Chair of Desart. In 2011, Jane’s work was part of the Darwin Festival Lighthouse Commission.
Ann Newmarch (b. 1945) O.A.M is a senior South Australian artist who was at the vanguard of feminist art in Australia in the early 1970s, making her mark as a printmaker, photographer, and painter in particular, and through community-engaged, activist projects such as public murals and, in part, her latest exhibition, … as the Serpent Struggles. Ann produced this significant body of paintings and prints during the 1980s, inspired by her experience of the Central and Western Desert areas of the NT and SA and by the challenge of a postcolonial view.
Ann’s engagement with Aboriginal art in these works is prescient of broader debates around cultural authenticity and representation, as surveyed by the later seminal exhibition From Appropriation to Appreciation (Flinders University Art Museum, 1988) which included her work.
The exhibition’s central motif of the car or car-wreck in the desert predates the cliché, just as Ann’s approach (to) and treatment of a desert Aboriginal aesthetic (in ‘dot’ painting) came at a time when the so-called desert acrylic-on-canvas movement was first beginning to take hold. Ann’s work responds to the immediacy of this movement and to the presence and palette of Aboriginal desert iconography. Her dotting/pixilation is also about the screen – both as and in reference to screenprinting and screen-mediated culture.
‘An artist has a responsibility as an image-maker to concerns wider than herself or her art’, says Ann, quoted in a recent article in The Australian about her politicised screenprints (Bronwyn Watson, ‘Ann Newmarch print at Flinders Uni tackles radiation and birth defects’, 16 July 2016). ‘It’s not much use being concerned only about women’s art when uranium is being mined and Aborigines are losing their land, and when Uncle Sam stings your armpit and your kids want to eat at Hungry Jack’s, and when TV takes the place of learning and doing.’
Since 1969, Ann Newmarch has presented over 30 solo exhibitions and participated in over 100 significant group exhibitions, including the well-known WACK! Art and the Feminist Revolution international exhibition, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2007) in which she was the only Australian artist represented. … as the Serpent Struggles is timed to coincide with the WOW (Women of the World) Festival, GYRACC, Katherine, 16-18 September, at which a number of prints by Ann will also be on display.
FLEDGLING: The Best of CDU Printmaking Students
Curated by Mats Unden
Pop up exhibition 1-2 Oct 9am-2pm
Opening Friday 30th September 6.00-8.00pm.
Fledgling focuses on work developed through experimentation; pushing the boundaries of printmaking materials and techniques. As the name implies, It is also the (gentle) pushing of CDU printmaking students - emerging artists - towards experimentation, professionalisation of creative practice and exhibiting work in a contemporary art space.
Exhibition will be opened by Professor Peter Kell, Pro Vice-Chancellor, LEBA, Charles Darwin University.
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.