2019 MAY SPACE EXHIBITIONS

Keiko Matsui

- Concave, 2019

16 October to 3 November, 2019

'For some time now I have been making sculptural vessels, pursuing simplicity and eternal beauty in my work. With this exhibition, I am choosing to challenge the form these vessels take. With endless options available to me, I have chosen to produce concave shapes, utilising both coarse stoneware and smooth porcelain. Curved and organic lines lead across each form, where each concave could be part of an arch or cave; an alcove or nest; a hollow or aperture, inviting viewers to reach out and touch the object.

The new forms may look simple, yet the process is quite complicated. Each form is thrown, section by section. I cut and alter the form, rejoining pieces to create the complex curves and concaves, combining the textures of both the coarse and smooth clay bodies. By limiting my colour palette to a monochromatic range of black and white, with a hint of gold or silver, the form of each ceramic is clearly allowed to speak.

This series of vessels is one of contrast. The contrasting colours, textures and materials, working together in each object embody the disparate elements of my own personality. Within the black stoneware, I see my strength, boldness and resilience, while the white porcelain is my fragility and sensitivity. I believe the duplexity in each form not only speaks to the duality in my nature but to the contrasting aspects present within everyone.'

- Keiko Matsui, May 2019

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James Guppy

- What is left behind, 2019

16 October to 3 November, 2019

     In the Northern Rivers fires are very much a part of life here… bushfires, the canefields, the winter burnoffs.
     
A few years back we burnt a few big camphor laurel stumps that had been felled many years ago to make way for orchards and gardens. As we kept a watchful eye on the fire… we took photos. The flames, smoke and slow charcoaling of the wood were mesmerising.
     The photographs looked like alien landscapes; strange and evocative of some other place. It was their ambiguity; the images were of burnt root balls but the scale was confusing and also suggested monumental landscapes. I began to see other worlds in them with looming mountains and far off in the distance minute trails that inhabitants might travel through.
     Such strange and elusive forms became an exercise in possibilities: the charred branches were also spinal vertebrae, the ashen root balls... crustaceans and wild boars. I began to play with the other things hidden in the smoke and fire.  There were mysteries, old mythologies and living things amongst the flames half glimpsed, intuited. Stories began to evolve as I painted. 
     The world seemed to be echoing the stories as I worked… historic heat waves, mass extinctions and migrations, predictions of chaos and doom reducing us to scrabbled existences in destroyed lands.
     Each of these paintings began with the burn we did on that winter’s day. The stories that grew in them… mark the legacy we leave behind us.
James Guppy, May 2019

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BLACK BOX PROJECTS Presents - Geoffrey Weary

- Film Portraits - Kodak Girls, 2019

16 October to 3 November, 2019

Film Portraits - Kodak Girls is a work about past things...material things. Projected film, celluloid, the passing of time at 24 frames per second.

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Square - Group Exhibition (until 3pm Sunday Oct 13)

- Coordinated by Lisa Jones, 2019

18 September to 13 October, 2019

Square is a group exhibition of mid-career artists working in a range of media and across genres of painting and sculpture.

Square is an improvisation in visual art that uses a set format as an aesthetic platform or starting point for each artist. Each artist improvises on four 40 x 40cm Ash panels.

Square artists are Lynne Eastaway, Richard Dunn, Catherine O’Donnell, Daniel Hollier, Pollyxenia Joannou, Lisa Jones, Stephen Little, Tom Loveday, Al Munro and Stuart Smith.

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BLACK BOX PROJECTS Presents, Nicole Welch

- The Prelude + Arrival + Journey, 2019

28 August - 15 September, 2019

Nicole Welch is a Bathurst-based media artist who continually produces stunning images of picturesque landscapes that have a loaded symbol implanted into each painstakingly-composed scene. In 2016 she completed a Masters of Fine Arts at UNSW Art & Design in the mediums of photography and video. As a feature artist at ArtState Bathurst 2018, Welch developed two new bodies of work, Transformation and Mementos. While the Memento series saw the introduction of infrared technology into her practice, Transformation is a continuation of her Self series. First started in 2012, the Self artworks are a documentation of Welch’s performative actions within the landscape. In Transformation, Welch records her journey through a rainforest creek bed towards a waterfall, a universal symbol of renewal and transformation.

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Indigo O'Rourke

- At the heart of all things, 2019

28 August to 15 September

     After reading The Secret Life of Trees by British science writer, Colin Tudge, I began to look at trees in a different way. I would drive to locations around Victoria to look at particular trees and whilst being so disheartened by humanity, the drought and climate change, trees would give me a sense of ease.
     Humanity is a mess, creating countless problems with the earth itself. Soil. Lakes. Air. Sea. Rivers…are all under stress. Those who care about humanity, as opposed to those concerned only with personal power and accumulated wealth, understand that global warming needs to be taken very seriously; common sense and basic biological theory, suggest that the more trees we retain and replant, the better managed water courses and soil erosion will be and even simply the temperature on the earth’s surface.
     My next exhibition 'At the heart of all things' explores intricate drawings of incredible trees in their entirely and on-site sketches of trees that I have repeatedly visited over the last two years. Trees affect my practice significantly because not only are they the paper I draw on but also the wooden frames that house them. In my heart trees are the centre of all things.

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Eliza Gosse

- Eggs With Soldiered Toast Buttered Well, 2019 (sold out)

28 August to 15 September

Eggs With Soldiered Toast Buttered Well is a series of paintings by Eliza Gosse based on the memories of Australians who grew up in modernist homes built toward the middle of the twentieth century. The series collates amusing if somewhat mundane stories that link the architectural quirks of this typology with that which occurred within its walls.

By rendering modernist architecture in gouache alongside anecdotal experiences, Gosse posits the importance of design of this era within the broader narrative of Australian domesticity. There is a risk that unless we tell and retell our collective stories of home, that they will be lost, as much of the architecture of the time has itself been erased.

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Alex Karaconji

- Morning, 2019

7 August to 25 August, 2019

     Morning is a hand-drawn animation about the first hour of my day. Although the plot is relatively simple, I have tried to draw each gesture and object as vividly as I can. In doing so, I have tried to reclaim a part of my day that I am rarely conscious of. Stop-motion animation is well-suited to this undertaking. It is slow and repetitive, and it often involves a close examination of subtle, almost imperceptible movements.
     Morning exemplifies my approach to drawing in both its domestic subject matter and in its attempt to intensify an experience of life through the close observation of fine details.

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Agnes Tyson

- The Interior of Home, 2019

7 August to 25 August, 2019

     A well established genre for artists, The Interior of Home,consists of paintings depicting the artists homes, from childhood to the present. Painted over a period of fourteen years, these works investigate memory, loss and the significance of home.  Our lives fill the interior spaces of our homes with our energy - our moods, aspirations, disappointments, fears, traumas, joy, celebrations - connections with ourselves and others. They hold our possessions and provide space for us to sleep, eat, wash, rest, play, relate, interact, think, create and daydream. Every home has a feeling, a kinaesthetic sensation that fills the space and these paintings engage with the unique energy of the places they depict.
     This body of work also explores the more formal concerns of space, line, shape, tone and colour. It plays with spatial relationships, flat space and pattern. The paintings invite the observer to physically enter the spaces depicted. While these interiors are specific and personal, they invite us to spaces we may have known, remembered or imagined.

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Charlotte Bakker

- Resonant Forms, 2019

17 July to 4 August

     Resonant Forms presents a body of sculptural work that considers the synchronicities between sculptural composition and musical improvisation. Drawing on the enduring connection between the fields of music and sculpture, these works are responsive to musical rhythm and movement. The steel and timber forms seek to articulate the lyricism inherent to musical composition, presenting a harmonious sequence of visual elements that explore implied and constructed sculptural space.
     Through an improvisational process driven by intuition, Bakker’s practice is informed by the legacy of steel sculpture, the practice of drawing in space and the rhythmic forms in classical and instrumental music. An extension of the practice of drawing in space allows for an investigation of linearity beyond the limitations of the flat surface, engaging with the three-dimensional through line, form and spatial tension. Utilisation of steel as a primary material exploits the connotation of its industrial uses, uncovering its unexpected expressive and poetic possibilities.

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Robert Boynes

- A whole life in a passing moment, 2019

17 July to 4 August

     We often make nonverbal observations and judgements about people, situations and even random objects as they pass before us.
     Some of these images may be burned into our memory and reappear as tropes that we recognise and repeat. They may be a pattern of habits or even personal taste - as in my case. I search for the drama of that moment or the stillness of another, which I find compelling in my ordinary life.
     Some of these works focus on the private and domestic, a reflection on internal thoughts and local matters. Others are more global in nature, portraying large scale social and environmental events. The pairing of these two positions place the works into a global context. These paintings stay with us as flashes of memory, like rapid bursts of light that resonate after our eyes are closed. Mysteries remain. 
     Robert Boynes, 2019

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BLACK BOX PROJECTS Presents, Todd Fuller - 'Ode to Clarence'

- In conjunction with Grafton Regional Gallery 'Moving Image: From the Collection' (18 July to 1 Sept, 2019)

17 July to 4 August, 2019

The animation, ‘Ode to Clarence’ (which won the prestigious 2018 JADA prize at Grafton Regional Gallery) is a hand drawn and painted animation created during a residency at Grafton Regional Art Gallery in 2016. At the time, Grafton was undergoing a significant change due to the construction of a new bridge connecting the North and South of the town. This new construction has been in development for nearly thirty years and aims to replace an existing bridge, which is no longer suitable to the towns needs. However the existing bridge is of significant heritage status and charm, being one of only two of its kind in the world. There is a bitter-sweetness to this town’s progress as it watches the new concrete pilot structure grow alongside the beautiful iron bridge that it has both loved and loathed for many years. In this animation, a man arrives in town carrying a tiny piano. Falling in love with the bridge, he plays his piano on the banks of the Clarence River while the new bridge is constructed. Like Nero fiddling while Rome burnt to the ground, ‘Ode to Clarence’ explores changing rural identities and our relationships to them. 

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Jenny Orchard

- All Tomorrow's Stories, 2019

19 June to 14 July

Science tells us how close we are to other animals, we share the form of most of our organs with so many of them. Like them we have two eyes, two ears, breath and entropy, and like them we can laugh and cry. Even those who are foreign to our eyes have bodies which, like us share a genetic code and DNA that goes back through time to beginning of life on the planet. We are the future and unknowable destiny of the planet itself, now that we can manipulate the code.

My imagination is blown wild by that knowledge. I am both more and less than human through my interactions with our collective technology and consciousness.

I want to make creatures that ask Who am I, and Who are You?

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Simm Steel

- 6300, 2019

19 June to 14 July

One day when I didn’t have my camera in hand, I realised my Nokia 6300 actually had a camera and, with the thought that I would miss any fleeting image, I began to use its small digital eye to capture what might be lost forever.  I didn’t believe anything could ever come of these tiny images and the sole purpose of using this ‘camera’ was to remind myself to return to the scene and take the ‘real’ shot – a ridiculous task - and so began the archive of when all was lost and found.

I found in a mobile phone camera a new personality born of a small sensor that wore its jpeg artefacts as a binding fabric. I could not avoid the technological imperfections, but the resulting images were becoming defined by them. I was forcing the mechanism to look at close range into and through, paint, dirt, scratches, water, questioning what is and what is not.  

With a way of capturing images so easily the digital file opens out to a place of visions that are not preconceived, nor explainable by academic research or introspection, but instead present the history of one’s experience, expectations, or trends.
Simm Steel, 2019

PLEASE NOTE: the works illustrated on the website are a small selection from the 122 photographs on exhibition in the Gallery.

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BLACK BOX PROJECTS Presents - TODD FULLER

'with whom I was United by every tie' (Rescreening at MAY SPACE in support of it being the first digital Sulman Prize finalist at AGNSW), 2019

19 June to 14 July

"My dying wish is to be buried beside my beloved James Nesbitt, the man with whom I was united by every tie which could bind human friendship, we were one in hopes, in heart and soul and this unity lasted until he died in my arms"
-Andrew George Scott, aka Captain Moonlight, 20 January, 1880

Special rescreening in BLACK BOX PROJECTS in support of the hand drawn animation being the first digital artwork selected for the Sulman Prize at the AGNSW.

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Peter Tilley

- The Tangible and the Shadow, 2019

29 May to 16 June

The body of work for this exhibition continues my exploration of the connections between the figure and the shadow. The shadow as an image of the body, manifesting here as an expressive material object that reveals, visually or symbolically, traits of the casting figure that may not be readily evident.

Peter Tilley, 2019

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Director's Pick - Robert Boynes, James Guppy, Daniel Shipp, Nicole Welch, Todd Fuller

- New Works in the Stockroom, 2019

29 May to 16 June

Presented to accompany Peter Tilley's solo exhibition The Tangible and the Shadow, MAY SPACE director Brenda May has selected a few new works from the Gallery stockroom. Chosen for their ability to compliment Tilley's sculpture, these works create a similar sense of stillness and contemplation.

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Mylyn Nguyen

- Sometimes I’m too boring for my imaginary friends, 2019

8 to 26 May

     I always wanted imaginary friends but I couldn’t get any. When I was little my greatest comfort was cardboard boxes. Big ones, small ones, matchbox ones. If I couldn’t have imaginary friends, at least I could make a home for one and hope they would like it enough to make friends with me.
     Sometimes I would sit in an empty cardboard box for hours; savouring the dim, browny-hued darkness and warm paper smell. When I was about 20, I made one. I couldn’t decide if he was a bear or a human, so he is half: a man wearing a bear head. He still appears now sometimes to pat me on my head when I accidentally step in a puddle of water and get my socks all wet so I have to spend the rest of the day walking around with squishy shoes or when I drop my egg, mid-peel, into the bin.

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Waratah Lahy

- Hand Held World, 2019

8 to 26 May

     My paintings explore scenes from everyday life: houses, homes, windows, streets, gardens and backyards. I paint scenes that evoke a sense of contemplation: focussing on places and moments that exert a quiet influence on those who view them.
     I’ve lived in the same inner-city suburb for the past 20 years and in that time the streets around me have changed dramatically. Houses get knocked down, apartments go up and the skyline is continually changing. My paintings echo the small moments and changes I see in my local environments. I explore scenes that seem familiar and take my time to notice moments of unexpected beauty - repetitions of shapes and patterns and richness of colour. I paint these moments in miniature as a reprieve from the big and grandiose. My neighbourhood becomes palm-sized and these quiet moments offer a way of making new connections with the changing environment.
     The paintings in hand held world have been heavily influenced by my ongoing interest in hand painted magic lantern slides. My fascination with miniatures and magic lantern slides relates to how they function as spaces of imagination. Before the advent of photography and cinema, magic lantern performances transported viewers to new worlds: entertaining, educating and inspiring new ways of thinking, and encouraging discovery of new geographies.  Similarly, miniatures require the viewers to imagine themselves within the painted space – a unique world silently separate and from our own. Hand painted magic lantern slides engage through paradoxical shifts in scale: they are small enough to be held in the hand yet the images can be projected larger than life.

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Our Common Bond - curated by Olivia Welch

- Featuring Duha Ali, Atong Atem, Lara Chamas, Dean Cross, Amala Groom, Pamela Leung, Jason Phu, Siying Zhou

10 April to 5 May

     Our Common Bond takes its title from the Australian Citizenship Test booklet, which outlines what it means to be an Australian: the responsibilities and opportunities it affords you, the history you are inheriting, the culture you will be welcomed into, and the rules and regulations you must abide by. “Australia successfully combines ethnic and cultural diversity with national unity. Citizenship is the bond that unites us all.”- p.3 
     This booklet opens Australia's arms to people of every culture, religion and ethnicity. However, its language also contributes to Australia’s cultural amnesia when referring to the treatment of First Nations peoples and migrants, and the effects of colonisation. It celebrates the many positives, but brushes over the negatives as follies of the past that no longer bear scars. It identifies certain days, behaviours and beliefs as being "Australian", even though many Australians would not agree that these ideas and events represent them. 
     This exhibition uses this booklet as a starting point to discuss Australia’s history and current attitudes towards the country’s diverse population, as well as examining what is meant by "Australian" culture and values.

     Artists: Duha Ali, Atong Atem, Lara Chamas, Dean Cross, Amala Groom, Pamela Leung, Jason Phu, Siying Zhou
(Image: Dean Cross, PolyAustralis #29 (Rolf Harris) 2016, archival inkjet print on cotton rag, 59.4 x 84.1cm, edition 5 + 2AP)

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Peta Minnici

- Light on Nostalgia, 2019

20 March to 6 April

     My current body of work explores recollection, depicting still life objects, people and places evoking and also preserving a memory of a time in the past. By painting from personal objects and photographs I aim to undo the photographic representation of each subject into small brush strokes of tone and colour, imbuing each image with a sensation associated with recollection of a memory and also symbolic in that each mark creates a recording of what I have seen, heard and felt.
     My subject matter was inspired by the recent loss of someone who figured prominently in my life and the narrative that jointly connected us with each object. I would like to think that my paintings capture nostalgia with wistful affection and sometimes cynical humour without being too melancholy.

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Dai Li

- A Moment's Silence, 2019

20 March to 7 April

     As the title of Dai Li’s exhibition suggests, this new body of work focuses on those instances in life where one finds a brief moment to themselves; moments when one has a chance for reflection and contemplation or to indulge in daydreams and flights of fancy. It is these moments that interest Dai Li:
     The inspiration for my artworks are drawn from everyday life. Moments when people are in their comfort zone or lost in thought, when they relax and drop their defences both physically and mentally, it is these moments that I try to capture. (Dai Li, 2018)
     These singular sculptures often stand alone, some with an object such as a bath or a toilet, others broaching the surreal. Like voyeurs we look into private spaces, whether that be literally (in the bathroom) or figuratively (at someone lost the privacy of their own thoughts). The exquisite and subtle details of facial expression and body language that Dai Li employs, combined with a lack of overt narrative, leaves the viewer to reflect from their own experience what emotions drive these scenes.
- Joseph Daws, November 2018

 

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Tania Smith, 'Untitled (bundle)'

- Black Box Projects, 2019

20 March to 7 April

A woman walks, tiptoes, or runs through the streets carrying a bundle. It is unclear what she carries or to what purpose. Perhaps it is a 'Macguffin' (a filmic term signifying a prop or plot device that is never explained but exists only to further the narrative). The term 'byndelle' is an old English word meaning ‘binding’ and is believed to be the origin of the modern term, bundle. It is an unpretentious term, to “drop one’s bundle”, or “a bundle of joy”. I have been thinking about this lately, the stuff we carry around (in both a literal and metaphorical sense). And the unexamined and unthinking actions we perform in our lives. This absurd video considers the things in life that we are bound by, or bind ourselves to.

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Darren Gannon

- Memento, 2019

27 February to 17 March

     I have lived most of my life on the southern coastal fringe of Sydney. A good deal of my adolescence was spent surfing on the south coast, camping on isolated headlands or sleeping in cars! As is now evident, the years spent in this environment are embedded in my memory and hold significant meaning for me. I feel a sense of calm and nostalgia when I start the descent from Stanwell Tops down to the coast road and head further south. This may appear to be a romanticised point of view, and to some extent I am happy to concede that it is. When I started painting, it was this landscape I used as a reference point, and it still resonates strongly with me.
     The paintings in this show are drawn from the landscape of the area, however they are not strict renderings of a particular spot, they are made from memory. A memory that recalls thick moisture laden atmosphere, a languid, and at times, melancholic emotion. They are made of thin glazes that veil each previous layer of paint, much the same as the natural atmosphere affects our view.

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Ruth Ju-Shih Li

- Florilegium, 2019

27 February to 17 March

     Throughout time, we – with all our far-reaching diverse cultures and histories – have always been obsessed with but one eternally ephemeral conceit: life itself. It is this preoccupation that dominates, influences and ultimately dictates our collective behaviours, psychologies and spiritual neurosis; especially in the wake of realising life’s impermanence and facing its ending.
     Yet, with every ending there begins anew; whether such renewal is achieved through encapsulation via memory, narrative and myth, physical transformation, or transcendence beyond the tangible and the mundane.
     Drawing inspiration from the Biblical story of the Garden of Eden where these concepts were first introduced, Florilegium refers to the gathering of extracts from a larger body of work – a metaphorical meditation – from the first dream of utopia, to the physical co-habitation of life, its ageing and gradual decay, and lastly its return to the earth. Moreover, the exhibition investigates the fragile paradox of life and death in relation to the self and its extension outwards to consider the transitory nature of the human condition.
- Shiyan Zheng

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Nicole Welch, Transformation

- Black Box Projects, 2019

27 February to 17 March

     The moving image work Transformation is the latest instalment in Nicole Welch’s ongoing Self series, which was initiated as part of her Illumination works in 2012. In these cinematic works, Welch uses her body as an apparatus and the landscape as a tableau. Undertaking performances in the wilderness, Welch explores the symbiotic relationship humans have with the natural world to reveal the fragility and strength of both. As a continuation the Transformation footage sees the artist engage directly with the natural world through a journey undertaken (journey), and a waterfall (arrival); a universal symbol of renewal, healing and ultimately, transformation.
     Filmed over several hours on location during the heart of winter in the lower Blue Mountains, Transformation exposes the artists body to the elements. While the figure is Welch, the symbolism is universal. She embodies a lineage of women through time as a homage to all women – past, present, future. The journey sequence is a celebration of our unique connection to nature, our shared strength and resilience, the cycle of life, mortality – the arrival scene is an act of transformation, both mythical and personal, local and universal.

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Shelf Life

- curated group exhibition, 2019

6 to 24 February

Shelf Life will consider the still life genre, with a particular focus on representations of bottles and containers, ubiquitous items that we use to carry, preserve and contain. An artistic linchpin since the 16th Century, the lush bouquets, glistening silver vessels, ripe fruit and lifeless game animals of early still life paintings became more humble as Realism, Impressionism and then Cubism watched artistic subjects and techniques change. The genre took on a three dimensional form through Dada, and as shopping carts began to fill with more packaged produce in the 1950s and 1960s, many Pop Artists let consumer goods take centre stage. Shelf Life will display paintings, photographs, sculptures and video artworks that aesthetically speak to different moments in the history of the still life. Hoarded, forgotten and expiring on shelves and in sheds, the vessels we use to store liquids, medications, toxic chemicals, food and other substances will be the central subject matter of these traditional and contemporary takes on an art historical genre.

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