A Secret History of Blue and White
A Secret History of Blue and White highlighted the diversity and strength of Australian ceramics, positioning them within European and Asian design histories.
Artists: Stephen Benwell, Robin Best, Bronwyn Kemp, Vipoo Srivilasa, Gerry Wedd
Curator: Stephen Bowers
Tour: Hanoi, Bangkok, Singapore, Beijing, Foshan, Sydney, Wagga Wagga, Bathurst, Brisbane, Gosford, Tamworth, Adelaide (2006-2009)
Partner: JamFactory Contemporary Craft and Design, Adelaide
Curator Stephen Bowers identified the assumptions and ceramic histories associated with ‘blue and white’ from the willow patterns of from China coming to Europe as did the technique of porcelain. He also brought into focus the impact of technology and trade, revealing its effect on the development, interpretation and evolution of designs and patterns, alluding in the title both (ironically) to the very well known basis of ‘blue and white’ ceramics themselves and the (less ironic) less well-known socio-economic circumstances surrounding them. The North Asian basis of the blue and white concept meant that the Australian works were immediately intriguing to these audiences, curious to how such a local idea could be translated by such culturally different artists. As with Akira Isogawa, the freedom with how such traditions can be translated in Australia was provocative and of interest to these audiences, and the influence of the exhibition is being seen now in new works made in a number of the places where it toured.
The world in painting
The world in painting brings together eight of Australia’s most distinguished artists, that collectively presents personalised worlds through painting that range from domestic interiors to dream-like landscapes.
Curator: Zara Stanhope, Senior Curator Deputy Director at Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne
Artists: John Citizen, Amanda Davies, Diena Georgetti, Raafat Ishak, James Morrison, Boxer Milner Tjampitjin, Nancy Naninurra Napanangka and Elizabeth Newman.
In the west, as in the east painting, like sculpture, is a tradition with a history reaching back over a thousand years, and a device employed by religion, state and private patrons, and hence, is perceived as a conventional art form. In addition, having been an essential component of pre-modern and modern culture, how then does painting manage to retain its contemporary relevance and freshness?
Conditions have helped painting survive the demise that art critics diagnosed in the late 1980s. Painting has become less elite and a more familiar art form to the general public, it continues to be taught in schools and studios, is ever attractive to collectors and continues to be presented in museums and galleries that have been purpose-built for its optimal display. Boosted by events that assist its commercial sustainability, painting has also been invigorated by participating in the cultural cross-fertilisation that has occurred across the globe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Today however, painting can mean something very different to paint and pigment on canvas for artists. The world of painting embraces both the painter’s vision and the form in which these ideas are manifest. Recognising diversity, this exhibition celebrates the freshness artists bring to a now venerable medium.
In Australia, contemporary art can be said to emanate from two distinctive ways of being in the world, very broadly an urban, western existence that includes artists trained at art school, and Australian Indigenous artists living in desert or non-urban communities and who have generally received no formal art training. Yet although this informs art making, the art of all eight Australian artists included in this exhibition emanates from the rich diversity of life in a postcolonial situation, which is greater than specific geographical, cultural or personal contexts.
Exhibition dates & venues:
Chiang Mai (Thailand): 3-31 October 2007, Chiang Mai University Gallery
Bangkok (Thailand): 29 November 2007 – 5 January 2008, The Art Centre, Chulalongkorn University
Manila (The Philippines) : 23 January – 13 February 2008, Yuchengco Museum
Hanoi (Vietnam): 5 - 18 April 2008, Vietnam Fine Arts Museum
Melbourne (Australia): 26 July - 9 November 2008, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Heide
Newcastle (Australia): 14 February - 3 May 2009, Newcastle Regional Gallery
Morwell (Australia): 27 June - 23 August 2009, Latrobe Regional Gallery
Warrnambool (Australia): 19 September - 15 November 2009, Warrnambool Art Gallery
Under My Skin
The exhibition Under My Skin selected five artists from the hundreds who had undertaken Asialink Artists Residencies in Asia over the 20 years of the program, to reflect the influence and variety of that experience on their work – how the experience had got ‘under their skin’. Each of the five disparate artists (who had been to the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, India, Singapore and Korea) reveal a unique understanding of the worlds in which they were immersed, worlds unknowable to the passing tourist or the casual observer. The exhibition attracted over 14,000 visitors. In Seoul it was part of Platform Seoul 2009 a major annual international art event, directed and curated by Kim Sun Jung, who had been involved with the earlier Asialink projects, Tracey Moffatt (1999) and Unhomely (1998).
Curators: Sarah Bond, Georgia Sedgwick
Artists: Emil Goh, David Griggs, Pat Hoffie, Megan Keating and Louise Paramor
Tour: Manila, Singapore, Seoul (2008-2009)
From an Island South
The first Asialink exhibition curated from Tasmania, the artists in From an Island South explored the complexities underlying the island culture, especially through the interpretation of its unique landscape. Curator Jane Stewart explained that although each artist ‘…is passionate about the Tasmanian landscape, their works are more than representational depictions of a beautiful place.’
Artists: Julie Gough, Bea Maddock, David Keeling, Jonathan Kimberley (Collaborating with poet Jim Everett), David Stephenson, Richard Wastell and Philip Wolfhagen
Curator: Jane Stewart, Devonport Regional Gallery
Tour: Lahore, Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Bangkok (2006-2008)
Devonport Regional Gallery director and curator Jane Stewart has selected works by prominent Tasmanian artists, Julie Gough, Bea Maddock, David Keeling, Jonathan Kimberley (collaborating with poet Jim Everett), David Stephenson, Richard Wastell and Philip Wolfhagen. Traditionally Australian art that investigates the landscape has depicted 'a sunburnt country' and wide-open spaces. These seven artists depicting the Tasmanian landscape however, are faced with a different reality, one of an island of environmental diversity and contradictions containing dense forests, dramatic coastlines and rugged mountains; a unique and inspiring environment.
This project is supported by Asialink at the University of Melbourne, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through the Images of Australia Branch, and the Australia Council for the arts, the Australian Government's arts funding and advisory body, the Visual Arts and Craft Strategy an initiative of the Australian, State and Territory Governments and the Devonport City Council.