CURRENT Exhibitions

Nicole Welch at Manly Art Gallery & Museum

- Manly Dam Project

6 December 2019 to 23 February 2020

Represented artist, Nicole Welch will be in a group exhibition at Manly Art Gallery & Museum for the Manly Dam Project.

'The Manly Dam area is a unique landscape rich in natural biodiversity, shaped by the interventions of engineering and science. Once the source of drinking water in Sydney's north, freshwater continues to flow from the catchment to the sea.

Along with a rich Aboriginal cultural significance, the area's European history is layered with stories of social and recreational activity.

Adjacent to this area, now known as the Manly Warringah War Memorial Park, is a hub of international research through the work of the Water Research Laboratory (WRL), a facility of the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UNSW Sydney.

Eight contemporary artists from a variety of practices have created new work inspired by place, history, water management and engineering.'

- Curated by Katherine Roberts and Ian Turner

Click here for Manly Dam Project

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Ruth Ju-Shih Li in group exhibition at Xinying Cultural Centre, Taiwan

- Every Moment With You

10 January - 1 March 2020

Ruth Ju-Shih Li has been invited to exhibit in a group exhibition Every Moment With You at Xinying Cultural Centre, Tainan, Taiwan.

Ruth Ju-Shih Li at CC Gallery, Taiwan

- Florilegium, 2020

14 January to 29 February 2020

Catherine O'Donnell, at Tweed Regional Gallery, 2020

- 'Fibro Façade', An installation by Catherine O'Donnell

31 January to 28 June 2020

> Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, 31 January to 28 June 2020.

     “Catherine O’Donnell’s draughtsmanship skills are some of the finest this country has even seen. Rather than create static replications of sites, she imbues her houses with a pathos and resonance which reveals her talents as a storyteller. It is this strength that draws audiences beyond the awe of her life-like drawings, evoking the shared experience of home...” - Lizzy Marshall, curator of 2168: Estate of Tomorrow
     Fibro Façade
is an installation comprising eleven meticulous charcoal drawings of elements from common fibro housing and an architectural tape outline connecting them. O’Donnell’s installation was commissioned by Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre and was on display there in 2018 in the solo exhibition 2168: Estate of Tomorrow.
     O’Donnell leaves the screen door ajar, pulls back the curtain, opens the window and shows the uneven lines of the venetian blinds to reveal that her renderings are equally about the occupants as they are about the structures that they call home.

Images by Silversalt Photography, courtesy of the Artist and MAY SPACE Sydney

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Sybil Curtis at Childers Art Space

- Structures in a Landscape, 2020

8 February to 29 March, 2020

Sybil Curtis has been invited to exhibit a solo show with Bundaberg Regional Galleries, exhibiting at Childers Art Space, Queensland. The exhibition Structures in a Landscape will feature many works from Sybil's studio and from her previous exhibition with MAY SPACE in 2018.

View information on Childers Art Space website.

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Waratah Lahy and Tony Curran at Tuggeranong Arts Centre

- Fake Nature

8 February to 7 March 2020

Waratah Lahy and Tony Curran are producing an exhibition of contemporary landscapes at the Tuggeranong Arts Centre.

'Fake Nature is an exhibition that features paintings of the landscape through a technological gaze. Artists Waratah Lahy and Tony Curran have separately produced contemporary approaches to the landscape highlighting photographic, algorithmic and Web 2.0 sensibilities towards nature.'

Waratah's landscapes depict contemporary suburbia, borrowing from the traditions of snapshot photography and 19th century phantasmagoria, while Tony uses algorithmic processes to create fake vistas that follow the conventions of folk landscape painting.

Click here for Fake Nature

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Suburbia - Kevin McKay

Kevin McKay, Rob Howe, Lucy O’Doherty, Zuza Zochowski at Shoalhaven Regional Gallery Nowra

15 February to 7 March, 2020

"In this exhibition four artists come together to explore what the Great Australian Dream looks like through different eyes. From urban scapes with industrial and commercial buildings, to idiosyncratic depictions of post war architecture and suburban streetscapes that could be anywhere. As they reflect on their own experience of home, community and place, these works reflect back to the viewer our own nostalgia, formed through popular culture and personal experience".

"With similar colour palettes across different media, these artists show how our perceptions of suburban life are embedded deep within our collective psyche".

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Julian Laffan

- Voyages, 2020

19 February to 8 March 2020

'My work is a voyage through rooms, selecting moments upon which to reflect as hand-carved meditations.  These images depict remnants and mementos of significance, alongside objects that are ordinary or everyday. The process of selecting, carving and hand-rendering is a means of remembering, gathered and arranged as new understandings. Both the momental and the seemingly insignificant are united in a single frame. A red snuff bottle evokes recollections of conversations in a Mongolian ger beside the red matchbox for the evening's fire. A can from a wharf in Mapua, New Zealand sits alongside a sweets container from Verona, Italy.  Each work exists as an unintentional relationship, as reflections of multiple places in a single captured moment, suspended as a carved and painted image in timber.

These works connect to the historic period when illuminated manuscripts were replaced by that of the printed image. Each work is a return to the notion of hand-coloured individual pieces, working in direct opposition to their potential as a replicated image in the digital age, signifying the importance of knowledge. This journey through an interior is an investigation into daily spaces, a new voyage of discovery for both the artist and the viewer.'

- Julian Laffan, 2019

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Catherine O'Donnell

- Suspended Narratives, 2020

19 February to 8 March 2020

'My art practice gives emphasis to the suburban landscape by abstracting and reinterpreting its overlooked dwellings. Using minimalism, I isolate these modest buildings from their contexts and represent only their structures to explore their compositional potential and underlying symmetry, striving to offer a renewed vision of these often-bleak landscapes.

Through my drawings, I aim both to present the formal aesthetics of the buildings and to extract the sense of humanity that emanates from lived-in spaces. I employ realism to ignite the imagination of the viewer and invite them to look beyond the mundane and banal. My work intends to reinterpret and reinvigorate inhabited environments by accentuating attributes of life and longevity, beyond physicality.

While my work displays a high level of realism, my interests do not lie in simple reproduction. Rather, I delete extraneous information and reveal signs of life, both historical and contemporary. Small moments of suspended narrative enter my images through detail; an open window or drawn curtain suggests habitation and bears witness to lived experience. These moments maintain an element of the personal within the impersonal, and as such, my drawings become active reminders of human existence. The viewer is called to delve into their own memories of home and to contemplate the individual narratives embedded in these common-place structures.

At the heart of my artistic practice are my interests in minimalist architectural structures, the pictorial power of illusion, scale and perspective and the pursuit of a shared narrative. My works seek to combine these elements to illuminate narrative within structure and to find life within the minimal.'

- Catherine O'Donnell, 2019

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Todd Fuller in the Tom Bass Prize for Figurative Sculpture 2020

- Juniper Hall, Paddington

6 - 22 March 2020

Todd Fuller has been named a Finalist in the Tom Bass Prize for Figurative Sculpture 2020 with his work Harry II (2019).
The exhibition is open from the 6th to 22nd March, with prizes announced on the 5th March.

Click here for more information on the Tom Bass Prize

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BLACK BOX PROJECTS Presents, Nicole Welch

- Yarrahapinni, 2020

11 to 29 March 2020

'The Yarrahapinni time-lapse film records tidal flow into an estuary, symbolically referencing the rejuvenation and reawakening of a wetland environment. Recorded on location in the Yarrahapinni Wetlands National Park it is an affirmative work that celebrates our capacity to rebuild fragile ecosystems. The Yarrahapinni Wetland Restoration Project undertaken by the Water Research Laboratory team in collaboration with the NSW National Parks, has successfully rebalanced the hydrological and water quality conditions to naturally encourage the regeneration of what was a highly acidic wetland. It is now a thriving estuarine wetland with greatly improved bird and fish habitat and with regenerating mangrove and saltmarsh endangered ecological communities.
The scientists use of remote and on ground monitoring and sensing techniques, including satellite and infrared mapping was of particular interest to me, as they are technologies that I have used in my arts practice to record landscape, and to extend and collapse time. For wetland restoration projects this visual data is collected to analyse changes in wetland distribution, vegetation, tidal inundation and health of the estuary over time. Constructed from 4800 high resolution photographs captured over several hours the Yarrahapinni infrared time-lapse film mirrors the use of these scientific methodologies to speak to the potential of environmental restoration and rejuvenation. 
The area is in the country of the Dunghutti and Gumbayaggir nations (a sharing place). I pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging and give thanks for the opportunity to make work at this significant location.'

- Nicole Welch, 2020

Graziela Guardino

- Finite Infinity, 2020

11 to 29 March 2020

'Finite Infinity (2020)— a series of mixed-media paintings — takes inspiration from poems that express opposing notions in line with my exploration of the binary forces that life presents. The work is of a restrictive palette, ambiguously portraying the dichotomies of experience such as absence and presence, darkness and light, and fragility and resilience; aspects that have accompanied human existence. Consequently, Finite Infinity offers a visual metaphor for how these opposing dualities can simultaneously exist and cause ripples or understanding in our lives.

The materials used — linen, wood, brass, thread and paint — were chosen for their transformative qualities. Through a continuous process of experimentation — building, deconstructing, cutting, painting, pulling threads and sewing — symmetrical and asymmetrical forms are created and juxtaposed to evoke a sense of space, volume and distance while the textures and layers unveil the degree of psychological responses of such experiences. The titles of each piece, on the other hand, directly reference fragments of poems to offer a deeper insight into the abstract ideas presented in the work.

Overall, the exhibition is a thoughtful reflection on my past experiences and attempts to reconcile these dichotomies by creating a space for viewers to contemplate their own experiences. The binary forces that play out in our lives, collectively form an endless tapestry of human experience, the meaning of which can only be gained by taking a step back.'

- Graziela Guardino

Merrick Belyea

- Anthropocene Landscapes, 2020

11 to 29 March 2020

Merrick Belyea’s paintings are deeply focused on the curious human appetite for destruction. Environmental concerns are central to his recent paintings, referring to a potential for devastation, pointing to a future of mechanical scarification of the landscape. Paring back the veneer of previously prepared paint layers reveal the detritus of process and the fragility of surface.

This will be Merrick's inaugural solo exhibition with MAY SPACE.

Catherine O'Donnell in the 47th Muswellbrook Art Prize 2020

- Muswellbrook Regional Arts Centre

15 March - 10 May 2020

Catherine O'Donnell has been named as a finalist in the 47th Muswellbrook Art Prize 2020 with her drawing Union Street, London #2.

The exhibition runs from 15 March until 10 May, with prizes announced on 14 March.

Click here for more information about the 47th Muswellbrook Art Prize.

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- A curated exhibition selected from members of Sydney Printmakers

1 to 26 April 2020

Sydney Printmakers is a self funded, self directed, independent organization successfully spanning nearly 60 years. Members are practicing artists and art professionals who have a specific focus on print, however continue to work across all media including digital and more experimental approaches. The group shows regularly in NSW, across Australia and overseas.

The following is an except from the intro essay for the 50th Anniversary Exhibition catalogue, by Professor Sasha Grishin AM, FAHA, The Sir William Dobell Professor of Art History Australian National University

"Sydney Printmakers is a unique phenomenon in Australian art with few parallels anywhere in the world.  Although numerous exhibiting associations of printmakers have cropped up from time to time in Australia, what distinguishes Sydney Printmakers is three things.  Firstly, no other exhibiting organisation of printmakers has so effectively represented the best printmakers of a city and has done this so comprehensively.  Secondly, no other organisation of printmakers in Australia has managed to sustain itself independently over such a prolonged period of time without becoming a de facto filial of an institution, such as an art school.  In other words, Sydney Printmakers have remained truly independent.  While thirdly, no organisation of printmakers has managed to survive for fifty years without extensive periods of dormancy".

Ruth Ju-Shih Li at Kyoto Ceramics Centre, Japan

- Australian Flowers Exhibition, 2020

17 to 29 April 2020

Australian Flowers Exhibition, a group exhibition with Ruth Ju-Shih Li at the Kyoto Ceramic Centre, Japan.

Jane Grealy

- Dog Park and Other Things, 2020

29 April to 17 May 2020

‘This series of paintings and watercolours are based on both real and imagined observations of people, their dogs, and the surrounding landscape. Most days begin in the early hours of the morning at the dog park with my own companion, Zozo, as people begin to trickle in with their dogs and the scenes from which I conceive my works come to life. This series exposes the half-seen glimpses of life at the dog park — as breeding and behaviour are scrutinized, friendships endure, intense rivalries form, unrequited love lingers, new life and death occur in the life of these dogs and their owners. I am fascinated by the change in environment, from the highly urbanised inner-city suburbs of Brisbane, to a dog park hidden and framed by tall trees and softened by birdsong.

I love the dogs, the people, and the trees -  equally I think.’

- Jane Grealy

Catherine O'Donnell at Blue Mountains City Art Gallery

- Occupied, 2020

16 May to 28 June 2020

Represented artist, Catherine O'Donnell has been invited to participate in an exhibition at the Blue Mountains City Art Gallery, curated by Rilka Oakley.

Sybil Curtis

- When Rivers Die, 2020

20 May to 7 June 2020

'Along the western shore of Lake Kati Thanda (Lake Eyre) is a line of springs where one of the edges of the Great Artesian Basin comes to the surface and discharges freshwater. This has made it possible for people, wildlife and plants to live there. As a nation building project in the late 1800s, a railway line was built from Adelaide to Alice Springs, with steam trains dependent on this good supply of freshwater. Ironically the line suffered continuous damage mostly from flooding and the arrival of diesel locomotives saw it abandoned in the 1960s.

Early European explorers expected the inland flowing rivers would be filling a vast sea and were dismayed to find they disappeared into a network of dry channels or bitter salt lakes. It is a rare occasion that any rivers actually ‘flow’ into Lake Kati Thanda and it fills with water. I have only seen it as a glittering white surface of salt that stretched to the horizon with a shore of sand, gravel and sparse vegetation. Into this stark landscape intrude the remains and ruins of water towers and train stations as reminders of our hubris.'

- Sybil Curtis, 2019

Image: Sybil Curtis, Curdimurka, Kati Thanda 2019, oil on linen, 125 x 125cm

Miriam Innes

- Unequivocally New York

22 July to 9 August 2020

'For two decades I have executed my drawing with charcoal. Charcoal, a medium which derives from nature; essentially a charred, burnt wood used to create mark makings and tones in drawings. While creating with charcoal, its physical presence reminds me of my childhood picture making, with a piece of bog oak. The bog oak, thousands of years old, was taken from beneath the layers of peat lands in the west of Ireland, where rural families, like my own, spent long summers ‘saving the turf’.

The process of using a natural simple medium to recreate man-made architectural structures, has essentially, being a core value in the work and its execution. Fascinated with urban environments from an early age, captivated by pictures, movies, stories and eventually experiencing cities; it was New York City, that left a lasting imprint and a desire to investigate and convey it, as a subject in my practice.

Capturing the city, its unique urban characteristics and beauty, whilst sharing the lasting impact I felt when there, together with a strong awareness of contrast and perspective within the work, was a crucial part of this investigation. The medium, subject-matter and scale of the drawing depend and rely on contrast and perspective for an inclusive audience and an immersive experience.

Showcasing it through charcoal, merging both passions to deliver NY Rambling, a simple, gray-scale, soundless environment, unlike a regular New York sensory experience. It offered an opportunity to view the city in urban details, to view it through the eyes of the artist.

Finally, inviting viewers to share an experience strolling along sidewalks, crossing streets, sharing a coffee perhaps, grabbing a bargain in China town or hanging on the edge of a rooftop. Taking in the expansive area congested with gritty details, bricks, shadows, taking care to avoid that smoke stack!'

- Miriam Innes

Agnes Tyson

- The Space Between, 2020

22 July to 9 August 2020

MAY SPACE is proud to present a new series of work by Agnes Tyson, The Space Between: Where Architecture Meets the Land.


Image: Agnes Tyson, Winter Mornings at Bundanon Trust  2019, acrylic on linen, 88 x 60 cm.

Catherine O'Donnell and Waratah Lahy at Canberra Museum + Gallery (CMAG) 2020

HABITAT: Ways of living - A group exhibition curated by Mark Bayly

1 August to 7 November 2020

Communities are formed by people and the built environments they construct and reside in. This exhibition examines imagery derived from, or alluding to, the built environment and ways of living in specific locations with particular identities. These material and social constructs take multiple forms - from high-rise, high-end apartments to prosaic suburban divisions, to locations where people have endured the collapse of their communities.

The focus of this project is how contemporary artists and designers translate their responses to the built environment. In doing so, the exhibition tells individual stories of the resilience and imagination of the human spirit.

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Ruth Ju-Shih Li - Taiwan Ceramics Biennale, 2020

- Represented artist, Ruth Ju-Shih Li, Special Prize Winner 2020

9 October 2020 to 11 April 2021

Represented artist Ruth Ju-Shih Li has been selected to participate in the Taiwan Ceramic Biennale and International Competition for 2020.

Established in 2004, the Taiwan Ceramics Biennale is organised by the New Taipei City Government and hosted at the New Taipei City Yingge Ceramics Museum.

Ruth Ju-Shih Li's entry Florilegium has been selected as a Special Prize winner for the Biennale. 

View the list of winners