Canberra Contemporary Art Space’s annual emerging art exhibition, Blaze, is one of the local art community’s most anticipated events. Held in CCAS’s flagship space at Gorman House, the exhibition showcases Canberra based artists at the outset of their careers. This year’s edition, BLAZE XI, features the work of seven new contemporary artists working across video, painting, sculpture, installation and performance art practices. Like the previous ten instalments, BLAZE XI includes ambitious and challenging works – it is a celebration of the here and now, the up and coming. While no grand theme was intended for this survey, the collected works of Tom Buckland, Alex Hobba, Kon Kudo, Alycia Moffat, Cat Mueller, Josh Owen & The Uberigine, do offer an opportunity for reflection. Particularly, I think, BLAZE XI asks two relatively simple questions with potentially complicated answers:
how did we get here?
where are we going to next?
Image: Josh Owen, 4 States (detail), High Definition video with sound; 10'30". Courtesy of the artist
Currents is an interactive, physical map of the global network of undersea cables that carry the communication signals of the Internet. It challenges how we conceptualise the Internet as a 'wireless' technology rather than a physical infrastructure. Remapping a communication system normally regarded as invisible highlights the evocative fragility of a world physically connected by cables.
Viewers are invited to interact with the work through an analogue switchboard that illuminates specific pathways around the world. This interaction reminds us of the materiality of the Internet, where digital communication is entangled, chaotic, and subject to disruptions of the natural world.
The artist would like to acknowledge for their technical support; Daniel Hovenden and Keytie. This work was made for SafARI 2016
The artist would also like to thank ArtsACT for their support through project funding for this exhibition.
Image: Anna Madeleine, Submarine Cable Map, 2016, EL wire and electronic components, approx. 200 x 400 cm. Installation view, Kudos Gallery for SafARI 2016, Sydney. Photograph: Document Photography
The interface between Marie Hagerty’s paintings and their points of reception resists description. Hagerty’s work, more than most, is to be experienced in a zone of silence where the viewer is quite simply hypnotised by laminate constructs of exhilarating fluidity. Reminiscent of Modigliani’s voluptuousness stripped of figurative connotation, her luxurious overlay of form and virtuoso use of colour is paradoxically best described as sculptural, and calls to mind the organic abstraction of Jean Arp. Separated tonally by line and colour, floating in, around and over each other, her merging and elegantly parting shapes are like the translucent liquids of a lava lamp as they begin to warm and perform. The epitome of lyricism, Hagerty’s paintings express the artist’s vision and imagination through the sublime beauty of harmonious form.
There are two overlapping streams in Hagerty’s ouvre and the other is connected to constructivism with narrative tones and oblique architectural quotation from the curvaceous structures of modernist architects such as Harry Seidler and Oscar Niemeyer. In Hagerty’s recent (2015) plane girls series for instance, she conjugates female form and the machinery of flight in a feminist take on the mythology of ‘man and machine’: as if to ask were women independent of machinery? In these often smaller, succinct, sometimes three-dimensional works, she modernises Alexander Rodchenko’s characteristic styles to fashion revolutionary statements for the 21st century.
Image: Marie Hagerty, Ubu 2, 2015, oil on canvas, 157 x 274 cm diptych; courtesy of the artist
Tony Curran combines digital data-mining processes with the traditional practice of life-drawing and painting to test the boundaries between abstract and figural drawing and painting. The resulting works sit strangely between an abstract expressionist aesthetic and a post-digital graphic language.
Almost illegible presents recent oil paintings, drawings and videos that combine the aesthetics of the human made with machine-oriented production. The artist capitalises on two distinct visual clichés, the “human touch” of gestural abstraction and the “computational” aesthetics of colourful, hard-edged forms. Combining humanist and technocratic visual languages results in a visual paradox from the ideological incompatibility between the technological - a force of military and corporate interests, and the humanists’ ideals of individual liberty.
The traditional academic practice of life drawing acts as a foil for a techno-humanist paradox. By drawing on touch-screen devices, the artist records and stores a history of drawn gestures that are then retrieved in new combinations to produce fresh compositions. Through multiple sittings with individuals, the drawings build a database of gestural information about the people under observation, like an impotent form of big-data surveillance. The gestures are then recombined into cacophonies of colour and shape, removed from their proper anatomical context. Although they’re read as signifiers of human form they become almost illegible.
Image: Dr Doris McIlwain (Ouroboric #3), 2015. Oil on linen 113.5 x 83.5cm. courtesy of the artist
Ci-Lines continue Vue’s reinterpretations of Hmong textile designs and written languages through two and three dimensional line making across surfaces and spaces using industrial materials and processes. These are contextualised within the gallery space along with video and rave culture, allowing for a psychedelic sensory experience which blurs the line between the here and there, the exposed and the hidden, the confined and the liberated.
Image and statement courtesy of the artist
HIGH RISE LOW RISE
Curated by David Broker and Rebecca Ross
Anna Carey, Claudia de Salvo, Anja Loughhead, Monique Montfroy, Millan Pintos-Lopez and Kael Stasce
Essay and exchange by Chris Bennie
High Rise Low Rise is a contemporary art Contiki Tour; artworks packed in suitcases, curators on flights to far flung locales and artists emerging from airport terminals to the sea air of the Gold Coast. It is a touring exhibition of artists from Canberra and the Gold Coast whose disparate practices share regional connections, architectural references and touristic motifs. The exhibition focuses on the opportunity for exchange and highlights the importance of regional connectivity between art spaces, places and artists.
High Rise Low Rise emerged from Rebecca Ross’ [Artistic Director,The Walls] mentorship with David Broker [Director, Canberra Contemporary Art Space]. During conversation and research, in both Miami and Canberra, David and Rebecca identified some uncanny similarities between Canberra and the Gold Coast and then set out to explore their differences, connectivity, and the architecture of these purpose built regional cities, each inviting 3 local artists to exhibit in both Canberra and the Gold Coast.
Canberra Artists: Kael Stace, Millan Pintos-Lopez and Anja Loughead
Gold Coast Artists: Claudia De Salvo, Monique Montfroy and Anna Carey
Image: Anja Loughhead, Where the bloody hell are you?, 2016, tea towels and fabric, dimensions variable
I am interested in space and place; in the ideals of mend and make do; in what can be done with that which surrounds us, words, pictures, ideas, material resources and so on. These paintings and the floor piece are made from reclaimed materials, and have grown out of my mural practice.
Wall works are captured moments of my performed wall productions. Small elements of interesting effect/affect. They extend an ongoing mode of image production, a kind of journal, becoming more codified and less illustrative year by year. These often start during mural production on portable grounds, then retreat to the studio for reflection, refinement and resolution.
Floor pieces, such as street studio (2016), are bits of the world remade for the gallery. They become places upon which to perform paintings. Places because they bring context with them. They come already storied and yet remain available to new narratives. The street studio –my car- acts as a self-portrait that describes the connection between my mural productions; the counterpart wall-works; and my sculptural practice.
Words are like any other resource, commonly available but not strictly fixed. Words gather towards meaning, but the outcome can be shifted with context. #tagging is a kind of digital breadcrumb trail, but fidelity to spelling can be just as obscuring. Misappropriated words point two ways; at their source and towards new meanings.
Artist statement and image courtesy of the artist
The exhibition title I haven’t made the work yet, but I’ll be there a week beforehand which should be plenty of time, provides a precise account of Jason Phu’s approach to art making. His unpretentious titles tell his stories and could be notes scribbled in a diary, for instance, I walked into Glenn's office and he offered me a cup of coffee but didn't have any which was very rude, then he said "you should draw on rubbish," and I said "ok," and then I left. Phu is blunt, funny, loves pizza and Chinese dragons. The craftsmanship of his ancestors is given a contemporary makeover as Phu adeptly connects the finely tuned calligraphic skills of Chinese painters with street arts of the 21st Century.
CCAS Director David Broker said, “Many people will be shocked by Jason Phu’s crude texts on walls and discarded objects such as doors, fridges and microwaves. He is an artist who pushes his luck, however, like the masters of scroll painting and calligraphy he sometimes references, Phu is a highly skilled practitioner who intuitively gets it right. When it comes to making dynamic art from trash he has no peers.”
Image: I walked into Glenn's office and he offered me a cup of coffee but didn't have any which was very rude, then he said "you should draw on rubbish," and I said "ok," and then I left. mixed media installation (texta, spray paint, ink on used mattresses, washing machines, fridges, detritus), dimensions variable, 2015, Commissioned by Art Month Sydney.
Photo: Document Photography
Opening with Martin Scorsese’s 1967 student film of the same name, The Big Shave is comprised entirely of clips depicting men shaving in cinema. Moving between more than 80 years of cinema history, the work operates as something of a life cycle; beginning with a montage of shaving cream being applied and finishing with a collection of post shave clean ups. Within this it examines tropes such as barber shops, women shaving men and various injuries. Inspired by the found footage art of Christian Marclay, Tracey Moffatt and Candice Breitz the work explores representations of masculinity and male identity.
There’s not enough love in the world right now but as always Canberra Contemporary Art Space has the solution. With our annual Member’s Show coming up, LOVE seemed like an appropriate theme.
For centuries, artists have tackled love: from Rembrandt and Rubens to Lichtenstein and Robert Indiana’s ever-reproduced Love (1965). For the 2016 Member’s Show we call upon the Canberra arts community to show the love through their own lens. With a $500 first prize up for grabs and $250 for the runner up its well worth taking the plunge and entering into the LOVE revival.
In the words of CCAS’s David Broker, “Love is central to life and yet it remains both perplexing and mysterious. It may sound strange but love makes me think of Dr. Suess who once observed, ‘We're all a little weird, and life's a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.’ That weirdness is bound to be evident in abundance as CCAS members explore the immeasurable galaxies of love. ”
The exhibition opens on Friday the 7th October with the winner announced on the night. This year’s judge is the LOVEly Monika McInerney, Creative Program Director at Belconnen Arts Centre.
The deadline for entries is Friday September 30th and CCAS accept all mediums the only restriction is size, all entries must be 1.5 x 1.5m or less. Entry is $35 and open to all CCAS members, it’s incredibly easy to sign up to be a member when submitting a work if you aren’t one already, we welcome everybody.
Entry forms can be found here!
Don't hesitate to get in touch with CCAS HQ for further info!