Erewhon is the return of Neverwhere, an exhibition that travelled to Istanbul last year, commissioned by Asialink as part of the Australia Year in Turkey. Neverwhere presented the work of eight contemporary Australian artists that disturbed distinctions between our real and imagined selves, and between the authentic and the fantastical. Narratives were informed by external – and often mysterious – forces, both seen and unseen. The exhibition shifted registers between sincerity and satire although its propensity was to shadowy psychological turns. And it is farther in this direction – towards the darker, more charged imaginings – that the work in Erewhon leads us.
More correctly, of course, Erewhon is the (not quite syntactically correct) return of ‘Nowhere’ and title of a novel by Samuel Butler, first published anonymously in 1872. Erewhon was set in a fictional eponymous country – though one that strongly resembled the south of New Zealand in which Butler lived as a young man. The story provided a satire (and philosophical exploration) of various aspects of Victorian society, most notably crime and punishment, religion and science. For example, according to Erewhonian law, offenders were treated as if they were ill, whereas ill people were looked upon as criminals. Another feature of Erewhon was the absence of machines due to the widely shared belief by the Erewhonians that they were potentially dangerous. These ideas – among others (technological progress, the impossibility of utopias, the effects of colonization, discipline and control) – form both the thesis and the point of departure for the exhibition Erewhon.
Artists: Brook Andrew, Claire Lambe, Clare Milledge, Mikala Dwyer and Tony Garifalakis
Curated by Vikki McInnes
A NETS Victoria Touring Exhibition
Image: Installation view, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, VCA, 2016.
Prue Acton is widely known as Australia’s ‘golden girl of fashion’. Acton once described herself as “an artist who chose to work in the field of fashion”. She originally intended to become a professional artist, but after her move into fashion in the early sixties she rapidly became known as one of Australia’s top designers.
Prue was born in 1943 in Benalla. She spent many years in the fashion industry and won several awards. During the 1980s she returned to her first love, painting, continuing her study under the mentorship of Clifton Pugh and partner, Merv Moriarty. This exhibition comprises of a collection of still lives and native flowers recently painted in her coastal bush home and studio in rural NSW.
Image: Prue Acton, courtesy of the ABC.
Jazmina Cininas is a Melbourne-based artist, arts writer and curator who lectures in printmaking at RMIT School of Art. For over two decades now, Jazmina has been charting the various incarnations of the female werewolf as a vehicle for her printmaking practice. Her PhD research project, completed in 2014, saw her create a Girlie Werewolf Hall of Fame by identifying women from throughout history who may qualify as female werewolves and selecting a number of them to portray as reduction linocut portraits, a technically demanding medium that can take upwards of 600 hours to produce a single edition.
The Girlie Werewolf Project: Enter the Lair presents a selection of works produced during the PhD including accompanying wall texts that provide insights into the subjects and motifs within the individual portraits. Interactive elements including mask kits and a photographic backdrop have been produced especially for The Girlie Werewolf Project: Enter the Lair, enabling visitors to immerse themselves in the worlds and histories of the female werewolf. For the record, Jazmina is not a werewolf.
Image credit: Jazmina Cininas, Christina sleeps on both sides of Grandma’s bed, 2010, reduction linocut. Courtesy of the artist.