Shape Shifters celebrates the development of abstraction within Australia from the early 20th century to the present. Drawn from the Benalla Art Gallery Collection, the exhibition presents paintings, prints and sculptures by some of Australia’s most highly regarded artists including Peter Booth, Rosalie Gascoigne, Clement Meadmore, Howard Arkley and Emily Kngwarreye.
Shape Shifters traces the influences of international movements of impressionism, cubism and surrealism on early Australian modernism, the rise of abstract expressionism during the mid 20th century and the emergence of bold contemporary Indigenous painting from the 1980s on.
Image: Clement Meadmore, Delaunay’s Dilemma, 1992
Dream Machine – Vittoria Di Stefano
Benalla Art Gallery is excited to present the tantalising sculptures of Vittoria di Stefano as the inspiration for Dream Machine, an evolving art project co-created with Gallery visitors.
Vittoria’s sculptures are machines for exploring desire as a perpetual and often futile force. Tactile, absurd and sensitive, her small constructions of wax, magnets, rubber, soap, ball bearings and other humble materials re-imagine conventional notions of the machine as a means of production.
As part of this exhibition visitors can create their own sculptural objects in response to the transformational alchemy of Vittoria’s desire machines. These will be displayed in the gallery as part of the exhibition.
Image: Vittoria Di Stefano, Dream Machine (detail) 2016
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, Gang Gang, 2016