OFF GRID, 2017

CURATOR Al Munro ARTISTS Emma Beer, Sally Blake, Julie Brooke, Kirsten Farrell, Jay Kochel, Al Munro, and Wendy Teakel DOWNLOAD THE CATALOGUE DOWNLOAD THE ROOM SHEET As the exemplar of high Modernism, the grid is ubiquitous within contemporary life in instances as varied as the structure of city buildings and streets, to the graphs of financial indexes and the organisational logic of museums, libraries and supermarkets. But just as the grid can be seen as a device implying control and rigidity, it can also been seen as an agent of movement and change. A grid is the form of many textiles, of nets which allow the flow of water as well as the containment of a catch, of the rhythms and patterns of the natural world. The artists in “Off Grid” respond to these ideas and more, some taking the history of the grid with modern art as a starting point, others exploring the potential for the grid to make sense of the richness and immensity of the natural world and others still making use of the grid as a form of logic to structure visual a material. The artists – Emma Beer, Sally Blake, Julie Brooke, Kirsten Farrell, Jay Kochel, Al Munro, and Wendy Teakel – work across a range of media to demonstrate the ongoing relevance of the grid within contemporary...
No feeling whatsoever, 2016

No feeling whatsoever, 2016

PHOTOGRAPHY Brenton McGeachie   ARTWORKS Hidden Persuaders series, 2014 Images of very small things series, 2016 Karesansui 1 & 2, 2016 These drawings explore scale and time through a singular output of pen to paper using a small plotter. The larger images, based on Japanese karesansui rock gardens, are 3-dimensional scans of inflatable rocks constructed while on a residency in Japan. These are 1:1 scale. The two large drawings, comprised of 35 panels, are made up of 1,513,159 lines, taking 11 days, 13 hours, 23 minutes and 31 seconds for the pen to travel 7.34 km path. The smaller drawings are all rendered circles, converted from constructed and found images. Each image represents a form that is 1,000-10,000 times magnified. Each dot on the page representing hundreds of the represented image, each image with up to 50,000 dots....
Avarice : Auspice, 2016

Avarice : Auspice, 2016

PHOTOGRAPHY Rob Little Digital Images (RLDI) and courtesy of Canberra Museum and Gallery This project continues an exploration of concepts of the unseen and in particular, the concept of ‘reading air’. Divised as an avarice pump, this gold inflatable harnesses attention, a funnel for...
Exact Fantasies, 2012

Exact Fantasies, 2012

At the culmination of his PhD, Jay Kochel presents Exact Fantasies, a series of four tableaux that explore the relationships between fetish, magic and interfacing the body. He uses material metaphors of containment, boundaries and fluidity to incorporate perceptions of purity and contagion. The tableaux allude to phantasmagoria and a Freudian sense of the uncanny, a sense of the familiar made foreign. This sense of misrecognition acknowledges the power of mimetic transformation that occurs through sympathetic magic, giving bodily power to objects that bear no resemblance to the bodies they reference.

Accursed Gilded Wishes, 2010

Accursed Gilded Wishes, 2010

This exhibition presents research in progress. As a result of recent fieldwork in Europe this body of work focuses on the magical artifact – reliquaries, voodoo dolls, votive objects, folk magic, juju, ex voto – objects that incorporate human remains or a mimesis of the body. Where there is a material and psychic strategy to harness a spiritual or magical affect. The transference of energy, heat or mana between body and object as a means by which the material world is animated, charged up, and exerts force over people – an exploration of gods in the making.

Touch me Gertrude Stein, 2009

Touch me Gertrude Stein, 2009

In Jay Kochel’s Touch Me Gertrude Stein a sparse collection of transparent assemblages is carefully arranged in the gallery: some suspended mid-air, others laid out on the ?oor or placed on a shelf. The artist has cast in clear plastic an assortment of tools, consumer items and accessories, a shining sample of detritus for a future archaeologist of our times: i-pod, scuba-mouthpieces, vibratory massager, thongs, enema-nozzles, foot-pumps and toilet plungers. Spot-lit in the dim gallery space, the objects are presented in seemingly incongruous pairs, joined together or connected by thin plastic tubes. The height of each object corresponds to the body part that would most appropriately interact with it: headphones hang ready for the head, foot-pumps lie in wait for the feet. On first inspection each object is a meticulous replica of its original, down to the engraving of non-slip grips and the glinting texture of screw-thread. And yet on closer observation the forms are not perfect and it is hard to determine by eye if they are hard or soft. The Slumpy bottle and pump is just that, and there is a sense of plastic fluidity about even the best-replicated objects that adds a tinge of the uncanny, as if we are observing a temporary stage in the creation or dissolution of each piece.

Retroactive III, 2008

Retroactive III, 2008

In the Retroactive series, artists were introduced to one another and given an open ended opportunity to respond to each other’s work through contemporary ideas and issues. The process is ‘retro’ in the initial reflection upon art and artists, and indeed becomes ‘active’ in the thinking, speaking and making process. The common visual art-making background between artists, yet at different points in their career, creates unbounded relationships where exchanges of elastic ideas can happen. Art making in Canberra occurs with a backdrop of rolling mountains, gum trees and kangaroos, between the book-ends of national institutions and Summernats. Conversations in Canberra are swept along in the fresh air and sparkling light of a town unlike any other. These conversations allow artists to engage in a sense of familiarity with one another. It is Canberra’s intimate scale that enables artists to get to know each other, their work and in turn to paddle with big ideas. The Retroactive exhibitions were about conversations between established artists and emerging artists. I selected the pairs of artists intuitively based on my knowledge of their work. Some artists that were paired together had not known each other previously on a personal level. The art became a vehicle for an ongoing visual dialogue between these artists; the content was through the initiative of the paired artists and their conversations that preceded the making. In the first Retroactive exhibition, established artists were asked to exhibit a significant piece from an early point in their career. The emerging artists were then asked to respond to this work and create a conversation piece with the established artist. In the second exhibition, Retroactive II, emerging and established artists were paired, however they each had to find an artwork they both responded to, in effect, finding an ‘absent hero’. The artists then worked collaboratively or separately to create artwork in response to this shared piece. The resulting works were displayed with a small reproduction of the inspirational artwork they were responding to. In Retroactive III, emerging and established artists were connected once more, however this time they were asked to find common ground in the form of a location, or place. This sense of place could be conceptual or actual. The artists initially worked from this place to create the resulting artworks, both collaborative and individual. From initial conversations, big ideas grew and mentorship has continued beyond the individual exhibitions .The results are stimulating and open ended, revealing material and conceptual links that cross five decades of Australian art making.

Julian Laffan, Curator of the Retroactive Series, 2010

Sequence, 2008

Sequence, 2008

ARTWORKS This is not a Pissing Contest, 2008 Tide Lines, 2008 The Night Before the Morning After, 2008 ARTISTS Geoff Farquhar-Still Tim Foster Elizabeth Kelly Jay...
I wish I was David Bowie, 2008

I wish I was David Bowie, 2008

I wish I was David Bowie is an exhibition that de-skins the surfaces of the everyday. Objects, video and photography explore the constructions of gender and self by examining the personal objects of intimacy.

The persona of David Bowie the pop-icon icon acts as a focus for our personal wish fulfillment, our constructed self identity from the popular culture surrounding us. A persona which we all construct from interactions with the everyday.

Toys begin as a form of social construction, of context given to us to engender learning through play. A way of relating to the world we are born into. A ready-made meaning that elucidates the world of culture, a script for the skins we wear. By de-skinning these personas, what is left? The unnerving familiarity of something recognisable but not known?

The viewmaster series represents a loss of innocence, a form of nostalgia. I only see a flat world, a half world. The depth of things becomes a surface, a skin. The ways of seeing an exteriority, a surface of things, the skin we put on, creates us, to others and ourselves.