MAY SPACE

2015 Brenda May Gallery EXHIBITIONS

30 Years | 30 Artists | 30 Works

- anniversary exhibition, 2015

24 November to 19 December

This year marks the 30th year of Brenda May's career as a Gallery Director, from Access Contemporary Art Gallery in Balmain, Forest Lodge, and Redfern to Brenda May Gallery here at Danks Street. In 2015 we are looking through our archives to create a retrospective exhibition featuring one work to represent each year and a publication looking back over the last three decades. Featuring the voices of Gallery staff, clients, and art world peers, this comprehensive exhibition and publication will be a celebration of the many artists' careers both galleries have fostered.

... view exhibition


Waratah Lahy

- Not far from the truth, 2015

27 October to 21 November

My current work explores ideas of truth and distortion of memory. My images are derived from photographic documentation of events that are both personal yet ubiquitous. I focus on imagery which suggests a narrative, such as the open door, the empty room and the mirror, as well as looking for pattern, colour and repetition. The resulting painted images are not replicas of the photos; each is distorted and exaggerated in order to enhance a specific mood, feeling or interpretation of the scene. The differing scale of the paintings also addresses interpretation of memory - is a small painting more personal and private, is a large painting something to be shared? With this body of work I am asking: what is the truth? Is my memory the truth, or is the act of recreating a truth in itself?

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Nina Ross, 'Language and the body'

- Black Box Projects, 2015

27 October to 21 November

"Language and the body" is the premier screening of two recent works, 'Untitled # (pregnancy)' and 'Untitled #1 (origins of turn taking)'. Using self-portraiture performance video, these two HD videos draw on my experiences using and sharing language during pregnancy and with my newborn child.

'Untitled #1 (pregnancy)' responds to my experiences of strangers guessing the gender of my unborn child from the appearance of my large pregnant belly. I reenact an old wives tale I found via an online forum for pregnant women, which reveals the gender of their baby. This ritual portrays the bizarre, unscientific and (possibly) funny nature of the stranger?s comments.

'Untitled #1 (origins of turn taking)' seeks to investigate the influence of language at the beginning of an infants life. Specifically, how humans learn to communicate in conversation through interactions with others before any words are spoken. Particular influence in this process and to the work itself includes researching and experiencing the origins of turn-taking in language with my son together with linguist David Crystal's ideas on the origins of turn taking in conversation. 

Together these two works illustrate the development of my practice to investigate personal experiences of language on the body.

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Peter Tilley

- Second Self, 2015

27 October to 21 November

The shadow is one of the many visual elements within the tableau of everyday icons that populate my artworks. Its context has usually indicated an unseen presence beyond the frame of the work or signified an aspect of that which is casting the shadow. As a result of these earlier works, I have now become preoccupied with the shadow and its possibilities within a 3D format. The shadow as an expressive material object will be the point of difference and focus in developing my body of work for this exhibition. In some cases becoming the dominant 3D form, shadows will give insight into the figures' characters and provide linkages between the visual, the psychological and their manifestations.

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Mylyn Nguyen

- Once Upon a Time, 2015

29 September to 24 October

Once upon a time I broke every watch I was given only to find I could not work out how they worked. Music boxes were dismantled and the music making part pulled apart. The death of each ladybird in my Mylyn made jar garden brought me no closer to knowing why ladybirds didn't like me. I thought if I stared at my nose, my eyebrows and the shower hose, I would figure them out eventually. I unstitched dolls clothes, unwrapped bindi seeds and stripped toy cars to their wheels and discovered more why. Why a cloud? How do birds fly? How do kites? How does the moon know when to just appear? How does water come from a shower hose?

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Love. Lament. Loss.

- Black Box Projects, 2015

29 September to 24 October

'Love. Lament. Loss.' brings together the work of three artists who have explored these states in their complexity and intensity. Leslie Oliver asks students to recount a time they fell in love, offering stories of loves-lived and loves-lost. Todd Fuller's films explore the strength required to release a burden or a joy, and Nicole Welch stimulates deliberation through a use of loaded symbols, conceptually considering the effect of imperialistic ideology on the Australian landscape.

Oliver's empathetic documentary-style approach is contrasted with the mesmerising time-lapse technique employed by Welch. Fuller's hand-drawn animations offer a further divergent style of moving image artwork, conveying the varied ways in which the medium of video is being used by artists to create thoughtful and captivating narratives.

Videos by Todd Fuller, Leslie Oliver, and Nicole Welch.

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Untitled Show

- curated group exhibition, 2015

29 September to 24 October

'Untitled' would appear to be the most common name attributed to a work of art. Despite the word denoting nothingness, the power of the untitled work is that it has the ability to express the opposite. Artists usually name works to convey something further about the piece to an audience, whether that is a feeling, a description, or a nod to its inspiration. An untitled work, on the other hand, asks the audience to think and question a little more in order to uncover meaning. Therefore, an encouragement and validation of a plethora of impressions and responses is formed.

The works in this exhibition will differ in style, medium, inspiration and affect. The only unifying quality will be that the works do not allow audiences to rely on a title for further instruction, and will instead be entirely open to interpretation.

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Nicole Welch

- Eastern Interiors: explorations from Bathurst to Albury, 2015

1 to 26 September

Through the placement of specific historical objects into the landscape and by throwing projections onto the terrain, I aim to illuminate representations of Australia from the past by bringing them into the present. The resulting works are hybridised landscapes that reveal the multiple historical paradigms informing our present-day relationship to country.

In the Bicentennial year of the settlement of Bathurst and the subsequent opening of the eastern interior of Australia to exploration, I will follow the early pathways journeyed, stopping at significant locations to enact installations in the landscape. The region as a whole is richly represented in Australian historical collections, from explorers' journals, to drawings, prints and paintings. The English explorer Thomas Mitchell depicted these regions in his journals of discovery titled, 'Three expeditions into the interior of Eastern Australia, 1835' from which the title of the project is borrowed. An antique mirror and descriptive text taken from journals will reflect and emerge from the terrain, resulting in truly incongruous images that record in real time both past and present ideologies.

"I acknowledge the Wiradjuri, Gundungurra, Ngarigo and Dharug nations who are the traditional custodians of this land on which I have made this work. I pay my respects to Elders both past and present and extend that respect to other Indigenous people present." Nicole Welch

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James Guppy

- In Flagrante Delicto, 2015

1 to 26 September

Forty years ago I gained an honours degree in economics. While I turned away from that discipline long ago, I can't help but watch the business of the world through that particular lens. I must say I'm not impressed. Now with the posturing, asset stripping, hostile takeovers, the whole culture of contemporary capitalism is very different. We look to our leaders for models of ethical behaviour. Our expectations are low, yet we are still disappointed, hence the subject matter that pulled me into these paintings.

I am first and foremost an artist and as such my principle desire is to create engaging artworks. The visual aesthetic here is not contemporary, nor modern. I want a tension between the ideas and those pre-modernist notions of beauty. I hope it makes the actions of these men even more reprehensible.

... view exhibition


Nicole Welch, 'Eastern Interiors'

- Black Box Projects, 2015

1 to 26 September

An antique mirror, a symbol of history and perception, reflects the sky as it transitions from day to night in the video work 'East West'. Referencing the enduring navigational function of the sky, this video alludes to the way Nicole Welch creates her work, traversing through bushland to find, punctuate and capture striking locations. It also pays homage to the early colonial explorations of New South Wales that Welch references throughout the series 'Eastern Interiors: explorations from Bathurst to Albury'.

"I acknowledge the Wiradjuri, Gundungurra, Ngarigo and Dharug nations who are the traditional custodians of this land on which I have made this work. I pay my respects to Elders both past and present and extend that respect to other Indigenous people present." Nicole Welch

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Sydney Contemporary

- Carriageworks (Booth A20), 2015

10 to 13 September

The Gallery will be presenting a small selection of new paintings by James Guppy and photographs by Nicole Welch in the second edition of Sydney Contemporary, Australia's newest international art fair. See you at Carriageworks from 10-13 September 2015 at booth A20.

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'Screen Surface', curated by Geoffrey Weary

- Black Box Projects, 2015

4 to 29 August

It is easy to fall into old habits of interpretation. This is particularly true of screen-based artworks when they resemble a narrative or documentary film. Invariably the question of meaning becomes associated with content and ?form? is of little consequence. The works selected for this exhibition are engaged in a two?way interaction where social, environmental and identity issues are mediated through highly personalised approaches to the treatment of the surface of the projected screen image.

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Irianna Kanellopoulou

- Wanderland, 2015

4 to 29 August

This work captures the adventures and wandering tales of protagonists with a hidden, throwaway past. Released from their captivity, these characters and found objects are given a renewed purpose and claim a re-discovered and re-invented identity. These previous "throwaways" are now the new heroes in a surreal, super reality and blur the line between ambiguity and recognition. Fragments of dialogues are whispered and tales are unravelled. We are allowed only glimpses into this new stage of these merging, independent worlds, as we are never shown the whole story.

... view exhibition


...a piece of string...

- curated by Al Munro, 2015

4 to 29 August

Textiles are ubiquitous... they are our tea towels, our footy socks and our great Aunt's floral curtains. Textiles also mark rites of passage: birthday dresses, wedding gowns, school uniforms. But textiles have also been at the centre of some of the most important concepts maths and science. The word line - one of the most fundamental units of Euclidean geometry - is derived from the Latin linea or linen, recounting the string used in ancient times to measure parcels of land. And the nautical unit for measuring speed - knots - refers to the knotted rope which was used to calculate how fast a boat was travelling prior to mechanical devices.

And it is precisely because of this combination of everyday-ness and fundamental spatial qualities that textiles provide artists with a rich ground for exploration.

'...a piece of string...' presents the work of Jacqueline Bradley, Kirsty Darlaston, Lucy Irvine, Melinda Le Guay, Jemima Parker, and Al Munro to demonstrate the diversity of artistic possibilities offered by textile-based art media. These are artists who engage with textile forms in order to test the boundaries of art/craft and to work with the specific material and cultural associations of fibre. The exhibition points to the diversity of current textile art practice and alludes to the endless possibilities a single ball of string might provide...

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Lezlie Tilley

- camouflage, 2015

7 July to 1 August

525 Concealment

N. concealment camouflage confinement hiding covering up disguise deception masquerade anonymity incognito smoke screen hidden agenda evasion misinformation white lie subterfuge trickery suppression cover-up duplicity secrecy mystery clandestineness secretiveness conspiracy plot cipher code

Adj. concealed hush-hush covered hooded masked veiled smothered suppressed underground unintelligible obliterate stifle disguise obscure eclipsed stay in the shadows bamboozle cryptic unnamed covert arcane confidential lurking hugger-mugger evasive vague silent

Vb. conceal cover up paper over whitewash blot out bury muffle keep secret give nothing away not utter a syllable make no sign be discreet stay in the shadows bamboozle draw a veil over make no sign prowl lurk skulk conspire pussyfoot blindfold

Tiny pieces of river gravel are arranged according to the laws of chance on a formal grid, expressing a rhythmical pattern that carries a multiplicity of meaning for camouflage when covered by a layer of paint.

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Claire Anna Watson, 'Heterochiral Sequence'

- Black Box Projects, 2015

7 July to 1 August

In 'Heterochiral Sequence', plant matter is transposed into an otherworldly environment. This new work investigates the way that food is presented to us; it seeks to subvert the glossy magazines that market comestibles and contemplates how synthetic technologies are influencing our way of life.

The work arises from an ongoing fascination for plant life and our intrinsic connection to the natural world through the food that we eat. It explores how this relationship is fraught with tension, the effects of an ever-changing world. In this work, the subject itself is given agency; food is a spectacle, animated ​in an effort ​ to seduce the viewer​ into a state of contemplation​.

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Robert Boynes

- In Plain Sight, 2015

7 July to 1 August

As the title implies, the subject and content in this work is available to us all. It is clear. It is ubiquitous. Just because it is there, it does not mean that we see it. Peripatetic patterns of motion may be unseen or unsighted. By stopping this action or slowing it down, the viewer is invited to become part of the act, remembering glimpses or chance encounters that we would not normally scrutinise. At times there are media images that are seared into our brains and memory so clearly that we become dumb to their existence. These images are all around us. They are in plain sight.

... view exhibition


'Mouthfeel', curated by Megan Fizell

- Black Box Projects, 2015

9 June to 4 July

Mouthfeel is defined as the physical sensations in the mouth created by food or drink. The objective of this exhibition is to stimulate a synaesthetic response in the viewer through the observation of these films. The mouth is used by these artists to trigger the sense of taste and touch by the ingestion of edible and non-edible substances.

Films by Hillerbrand+Magsamen, Hannah Raisin, Nina Ross, Martynka Wawrzyniak (courtesy of Envoy Enterprises, New York City), and Elizabeth Willing.

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Multiples

- curated by Akky van Ogtrop, 2015

9 June to 4 July

An exhibition of prints, books, photographs and sculptural objects.

The ideology behind the artist's multiple is born out of the anti-art movement, fuelled by Dadaism, Fluxus, Conceptual Art and Pop Art.

Creating artist's multiples, typically in short runs, allows artworks to be accessible to a larger portion of the population via the employment of economical materials and processes. Also, by making reproducible artwork, the sacredness of the object itself decreases, allowing for the concept behind the work to take precedence and for these concepts to reflect the interests of their audience: the general public.

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Janet Tavener

- Memento, 2015

5 May to 6 June

In my previous work ice sculptures of both heirloom and exotic fruits were photographed as they melted in a constructed glacial landscape. These works acted as a metaphor for shrinking polar icecaps, indicators of global climate change and fragility of our food system.

In the new series 'Memento' the crystalline fruit and vegetables are no longer floating on a melting surface but have sunken into the ocean - semi submerged as they are swept along the icy current. Objects such as a skull and fly, symbols of decay and transience, join the icy fruit and vegetables that once nourished and sustained life. The photographs have an innate sense of loss - a frozen moment in time that has already passed.

While dealing with the present, the work is also steeped in the traditions of the still life painting dating back to the 17th century in which the depiction of everyday objects represents our temporality - a Memento Mori, and our folly if we believe we can cheat nature.

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Ashleigh Garwood

- Of Other Spaces, 2015

5 May to 6 June

'Of Other Spaces' are allegorical images that exist to question the influence and power that landscape imagery holds in neutralizing societal frameworks and cultural understanding. 

The majority of early painted landscape imagery that is presented at Australian national art institutions is of a rugged, but peaceful and unified environment. There seems to be a hidden ideological agenda that informs the portrayal of the landscape, which in turn promotes that ideology. My project, 'Of Other Spaces', is a way of examining the process by which this is achieved, by which our collective memory is affected.

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Head On Photo Festival, 'Moving Image Prize Finalists'

- Black Box Projects, 2015

5 May to 6 June

The Head On Moving Image Prize was established in 2014 and forms part of the acclaimed Head On Awards which are the centrepiece of Head On Photo Festival.

Head On is Australia's largest photography festival celebrating excellence in all genres from photo-artists from across the globe and provides a major platform for discovering new talent, re-discovering established artists and exploring new technologies and ideas.

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Paper Works III

- curated group exhibition, 2015

14 April to 2 May

Paper is such a commonplace and pervasive material. We write on it, read it, drink out of it and eat off it, yet in terms of conservation it is considered one of the most fragile of mediums in the art world.

This third installment of our Paper Works series endeavours to illustrate the diversity and versatility of paper, providing a glimpse into the range of creative potential for this medium.

Artists include Lee Bethel, Daniel Chant, Glen Clarke, Todd Fuller, Lisa Giles, Nicci Haynes, Bettina Hill, Therese Kenyon, Melinda Le Guay, Jo Meisner, Louise Morgan, Nicola Moss, Helen Mueller, Al Munro, Mylyn Nguyen, Janet Parker-Smith, Pamela See, Liz Shreeve, Lezlie Tilley, and Elizabeth Willing.

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Todd Fuller, 'Little Star'

- Black Box Projects, 2015

14 April to 2 May

By night one way, by day another,
the spinning ball of blue and the others of light.
One falls from the sky.
The dream.
To catch that ball, to be that star.

Zvezdochka, or Little Star, was the 11th dog to be sent into space by the Russians. Like the others in the program, she endured extreme conditions as a scientific experiment into the effects of orbital travel on a living creature. Fuller?s film addresses themes of loss, love, friendship, desire, ambition, and yearning while his Australianised Little Star invites you into the imaginings of a dog who dreams of space.

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Kevin McKay

- Glory Days: South Sydney Studies, 2015

17 March to 11 April

This series of small paintings explores the unique urban landscape surrounding the Brenda May Gallery. I enjoy finding beauty in the everyday and immersing myself in a locality where traditional working class terraces, public housing towers and contemporary development produce surprising geometries animated by atmosphere and light. They were painted en plein-air and in the studio during the summer of 2014-15.

- Kevin McKay, 2014

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'Resolving Ruins', curated by Screen Space

- Black Box Projects, 2015

17 March to 11 April

The artists in this exhibition all take the detritus of human activity as their starting point and transform and resolve this in unique and often mesmerising ways.

Videos by David Mutch, Leela Schauble, Zoe Scoglio, and Polly Stanton.

... view exhibition


Emily McIntosh

- Synthesis, 2015

17 March to 11 April

This new work investigates themes of cell regeneration and repair. The development of stem cell therapy and the mapping of the human genome (DNA), has provided much insight and scope into how these incredible processes then occur within live organisms and now can often be controlled, enhanced, and manipulated within a laboratory or even though the more indirect influences of lifestyle, stress and heritage.

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Small Publishers

- curated by Akky van Ogtrop, 2015

17 February to 14 March

"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some are to be chewed and digested."
(Francis Bacon in "Bacon's Essays" by Francis Bacon and Richard Whately, 1857)

Artists' books can be handcrafted or commercially printed; unique, or in limited or unlimited editions. Forms range from the traditional codex to sculptural works, or they may have audio, video, installation, online and performance components. Many artists' books are self-published, or are produced by small presses or by artists' groups or collectives, usually in limited editions.

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Janet Parker-Smith

- Questionable Intentions, 2015

17 February to 14 March

My recent work extends my fascination with humans and nature and their boundless capacity for re-invention and rejuvenation. Using the transmutation of humans and animals, morphology and the desolation of our environment the work explores the human collective chaotic and purposeless existence on the universe. While the works appear absurd in their construction they engage with representation, evolution and metamorphosis. They show animals and humans that could be described as halfway between life and death. They are detached souls - not harmonious in character. They are stuck somewhere between the artificial and the uncultivated, and the wonderful and the outrageous.

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Nicholas Tory, 'Make'

- Black Box Projects, 2015

17 February to 14 March

Locked away in a cupboard and visible through a peephole is Nicholas Tory's miniature video installation, 'Make', presenting the life cycle of a worker and his creation. In this work, Tory asks himself the question, "is my desire to create work, a fear of becoming redundant?" while also exploring ideas around obsessive work behaviour, and the possible absurdity of his own ephemeral art practice.

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Todd Fuller, 'Summer's End'

- Black Box Projects, 2015

17 February to 14 March

An umbrella is a very special thing:
It shields us from the rain,
keeping us warm and dry.
In the harsh or glorious sun,
it creates shade and comfort.
There is nothing sadder than a man clutching
an umbrella as it is ripped from his hands,
it tumbles and flips across the pavement,
or is thrown from his grasp.
There is nothing sadder than a weary withered umbrella,
alone in the gutter after a storm.

... view exhibition


Sculpture 2015

- Sculpture Park, 2015

28 January to 14 February

The 2015 edition of our annual sculpture exhibition will feature artworks that are capable of withstanding the elements. As these works are intended for outdoor settings, curatorial attention will be particularly paid to functionality, scale, construction and visual impact.

Scheduled each January, this show continues the tradition of opening our year with an exhibition seeking to exhibit the best and most interesting contemporary sculpture. Although there are no restrictions for this exhibition, we will only consider work made by professional sculptors that has not previously been exhibited in Sydney.

... view exhibition


Daniel Connell, 'Obsolete'

- Black Box Projects, 2015

28 January to 14 February

Daniel Connell tailored a dress made from polyvinyl acetate to create his video piece 'Obsolete'. This material, whilst being synthetic, a product of the contemporary age, possesses none of the longevity you'd expect - as rain falls, the material dissolves against the skin of the protagonist as she meanders through a landscape of dense undergrowth. In doing so, a gesture is staged in recourse to a set of modern values where the object is not always seen for it's immediate worth.

... view exhibition


Art Stage Singapore

- Marina Bay Sands Exhibition and Convention Centre, 2015

22 to 25 January

Across fifteen panels, 'Long Take - Slow Dissolve' encapsulates the aesthetic and energy of a contemporary, urban environment. Though the artist uses layers of iconography that are site-specific, such as the National Gallery of Victoria's "water-wall" and a veil of hanging ping-pong balls installed at the end of a tiny alley in Melbourne, Robert Boynes' work evokes the overall energy of the big city, imaging no particular place and therefore lending itself to reflect any modern metropolis. Fractured imagery of crowds, references to the chaotic noise of communication, glowing fluorescent lights and junctions of human interaction are composed in a linear narrative - colours and shapes radiating from the canvases throughout the strip. The heat and activity of many of the panels in 'Long Take - Slow Dissolve' are grounded and juxtaposed with moments of strong colour and texture, though a definite emphasis on the human form in relation to urban spaces is always evident. Though each canvas is compiled of multiple layers, they exist as fleeting moments; peripheral glimpses of a familiar city-scape.

... view exhibition


MAY SPACE

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