Adelaide-based artist Michelle Nikou draws on surrealism in a reflective and productive way to transform mundane domestic objects and materials into sculptures of humour and marvel. In this exhibition of new and recent work she utilises surrealist strategies such as chance, psychological metaphor, deadpan wit and juxtaposition, and inventively mingles high and low art sources and cultural references. Her work intentionally blurs and extends the boundaries between fine art and craft and often invests unremarkable or overlooked facets of daily existence with new and unexpected significance.
Nikou’s practice is also characterised by a deep engagement with language and she forges connections between art and literature that invoke suburban life, family interactions and food. Seemingly disparate concepts and materials are regularly combined to produce unsettling and sometimes absurd effects, such as the fried eggs made in bronze that lend the exhibition its title, the flattened egg forms suggesting the vowels of the alphabet.
As a result of imaginative exploration Nikou has evolved a distinctive visual vocabulary and sophisticated practice with a strong conceptual basis in its play of poetics, aesthetics and forms.
A NETS Victoria Touring Exhibition
Image: Michelle Nikou, Sylvia’s Jumper, 2013-16
Courtesy of the artist and Darren knight Gallery, Sydney
Kate Jenvey is an internationally renown artist who creates highly detailed images of wild animals and birds. From the artist’s early childhood in East Africa, nature has been a source of wonder and excitement leading to a great respect for the natural world.
Kate’s use of coloured and graphite pencils precisely capture the detail, nuances and intricate structures in a manner that honours nature’s beauty.
The power, dynamic beauty and drama of the wild are all ingredients that Kate explores through her art, providing herself and her audiences with deep enjoyment.
Image: Kate Jenvey, Rosy Cheeks, 2016
Brett Whiteley: West of the Divide presents works spanning four decades of the artist’s career. Artworks in the exhibition have been selected by Wendy Whiteley and the Brett Whiteley Studio with a curatorial focus on the enduring connection Whiteley had with the region west of the Great Dividing Range.
Whiteley spent his formative years in Sydney and as a boarder at The Scots School, Bathurst. His artistic talent was noticed and nurtured by his teachers and he would spend weekends drawing, immersed in the countryside and the distinct seasons.
Whiteley returned to the central west of NSW years later after travelling extensively in Europe, America and Asia, and continued to draw inspiration from the region for the remainder of his life. He frequently travelled to Marulan, Lucknow, Oberon, Carcoar and Bathurst sketching and painting intimate landscapes.
Whiteley found sanctuary and peace visiting the countryside; his senses heightened by the willow and poplar trees, meandering rivers, rocks and unique birds, all of which held special significance for him since childhood. These experiences would be constant subjects in later iconic works such as The lyrebird, 1972 – 1973, Marulan bird with rocks, circa 1980, Summer by the River of Plums, 1985 – 86 and Autumn (near Bathurst) – Japanese Autumn, 1987-88.
The exhibition features drawings, paintings and sculptures from the Brett Whiteley Studio and the Art Gallery of New South Wales collections.
Image: Brett Whiteley, Marulan bird with rocks, circa 1980, oil, gouache, collage, rocks on plywood, 153 x 88.6 x 9 cm. Brett Whiteley Studio. Photo: AGNSW © Wendy Whiteley