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...
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...