Home is pleased to be exhibiting work by Brett Whiteley in our ‘The Portrait’ exhibition opening on Wednesday the 28th of August from 6-8pm.
Brett Whiteley (1939 – 1992) is one of Australia’s most celebrated artists. He won the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes several times, and his artistic career was bolstered by his celebrity status in Australia and abroad.
Whiteley started working as a commercial artist in 1956, began life-drawing classes at the Julian Ashton Art School and joined John Santry’s sketch club where he became friends with Australian landscape painter Lloyd Rees, who was a strong influence. On weekends Whiteley painted around the towns of Bathurst, Hill End and Sofala, producing works such as Sofala 1958. In 1959 he was awarded the Italian Government Travelling Art Scholarship, which was judged by Australian artist Russell Drysdale at the Art Gallery of NSW. Whiteley remained in Europe for the next decade, exhibiting his work regularly in group exhibitions in London, Paris, Amsterdam and Berlin, establishing an international reputation. He also lived in the USA, staying at New York’s Chelsea Hotel where he socialized with celebrities such as musicians Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan.
Returning to Sydney in 1969, Whiteley moved to Lavender Bay and became involved in the Yellow House artists’ collective in Kings Cross. His work became highly collectable, in particular his Matisse influenced large-scale interiors and landscapes. In 1976 he won both the Archibald Prize for portraiture and the Sulman Prize for genre painting. The following year, he was awarded the Wynne Prize for landscape. He won all three prizes in 1978 (the first artist to do so) and the Wynne a third time in 1984. In 1991 he was awarded an Order of Australia.
Brett Whiteley died in Thirroul on the New South Wales south coast in 1992. His last studio and home in Sydney’s Surry Hills is now a museum managed by the Art Gallery of New South Wales. Located at 2 Raper Street in Surry Hills, the studio is open to the public Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 10am-4pm.
Pictured is Self Portrait, One of a Dozen Glimpses’, 1983, etching and aquatint.
Home is thrilled to be exhibiting work by Nick Stathopoulos in our ‘The Portrait’ show opening on Wednesday the 28th of August.
Nick Stathopoulos is the son of Greek migrants, and grew up in Western Sydney. A self-taught artist, he has become known for his hyper-realistic style, particularly his paintings of his childhood toy collection.
A graduate of Macquarie University, he has worked as an artist for over 30 years in film, television, animation, and book publishing. His work now focuses on his solo shows and private commissions.
Nick is a five-time Archibald finalist. His 2016 entry of Sudanese refugee lawyer Deng Adut was voted ‘People’s Choice’ to great critical acclaim and media attention. He has also been a two-time finalist in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize. His portrait ‘Ugly – portrait of Robert Hoge’ won the People’s Choice Award in the 2014 Salon des Refusés, and that painting was a finalist in the 2015 BP Portrait Prize at the National Portrait Gallery in London. He was also a finalist in the 2016 Shirley Hannan Portrait Prize in Bega, NSW.
Robert Hoge is an Australian writer and friend of the artist. Hoge was born with a facial tumour and limited mobility; his autobiographical memoir Ugly traces the challenges he overcame while growing up and the many surgical procedures he endured. Stathopoulos says of the portrait: ‘I wanted to capture his intelligence, his defiance, his quiet dignity, and his suffering.’
Home is thrilled to be exhibiting work by Katrin Koenning in our ‘The Portrait’ exhibition opening on Wednesday the 28th of August.
Katrin Koenning is an artist and photographic educator from the former German rustbelt of the Ruhrgebiet, now based in Melbourne, Australia. In 2016 her first book, Astres Noirs (Chose Commune), co-authored with her friend and fellow artist Sarker Protick, received the Australian Photobook of the Year Award and was shortlisted for both Prix Nadar and the Paris Photo/Aperture First Book Award. Her work is regularly exhibited in Australian and international solo and group exhibitions, and has been featured in festivals, biennials and fairs such as Paris Photo (solo), Daegu Photo Biennial, Peckham24, Noorderlicht, Format Festival, Chobi Mela Festival, Athens Photo Festival and many others.
Koenning is the recipient of numerous accolades such as the Daylight Photo Award, the Conscientious Photo Award and the Emerging Documentary Photographer of the year. She is a former editor of the Australian PhotoJournalist Magazine, and her images have been published in The New Yorker, ASX, The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, California Sunday Magazine and many others. Katrin regularly teaches intensive conceptual and documentary-based workshops in photographic practice and thinking, working closely with institutions and festivals such as Angkor Photo Festival (Siem Reap, Cambodia), The Lighthouse (Calcutta, India), Myanmar Deitta (Yangong, Myanmar), Photo Kathmandu (Kathmandu, Nepal), Photobook NZ, The Centre for Contemporary Photography (Melbourne, Australia), Perth Centre for Photography and the Australian Centre for Photography. She has been a photographic educator since 2008, teaching documentary storytelling at the University of Queensland and Photography Studies College Melbourne.
Katrin is represented by Reading Room Melbourne and East Wing Gallery.
Home is pleased to be exhibiting work by Heath Franco in our ‘The Portrait’ exhibition opening on Wednesday the 28th of August.
Franco’s practice is primarily concerned with video, although the process of production and exhibition also incorporates photography, performance, costume, sound, digital media, sculpture and installation. He creates screen-based installation works that are structured with respect to flow and rhythm rather than plot narrative and that in turn attract and repulse through a mix of hyper aesthetic, catchy jingles and absurd, at times grotesque, performances. Repetition is a consistent feature of works produced in recent years, along with a psychotropic sensibility and the artist’s presence as sole performer within the works.
Conceptually, Franco’s practice is informed by explorations into Western popular culture, domesticity and notions of ‘home’, the chaos of existence, and contemplation on the nature, the artificial and possibilities of alternate, hidden realities.
Pictured is a video still from PORTRAIT, 2010-15, HD video. Image courtesy of the artist.
Gallery crawl today – mostly along W24th St. Impressive exhibitions including heavyweights Gagosian and Zwirner. The show that really knocked me was staged at Yossi Milo Gallery – 245 Tenth Avenue (between 24th & 25th St.)
The show titled ‘African Spirits’ – a group exhibition featuring stunning portrait photography by Pieter Hugo – including (pictured) Mimi Afrika, Wheatland Farm, Graaff Reinet, 2013, From the series Kin, Digital C-Print
Spent Saturday afternoon at The Guggemheim – fabulous artworks including Picasso, Mondrian, Pollock, Kupka and Rothko. One of my favourites was Marcel Duchamp’s – Apropos of Little Sister, 1911, oil on canvas.
Home is pleased to be exhibiting work by Sydney based artist Chris Dolman in our ‘The Portrait’ exhibition opening in late August.
“…Chris Dolman makes paintings and objects imbued with incongruent and self-deprecating humour. Drawing from personal experience, art history and popular culture, his work often hovers between existentially driven narrative and slapstick one-liner. Dolman’s areas of interest include failure doubt and anxiety, pathos,loneliness and loss, all of which he explores through his practice with an equal mix of sincerity and irony…”
Dolman was the recipient of the Wallara Travelling Scholarship (2009), awarded the 2017 Art Gallery of NSW Dyason Bequest, ArtStart and New Work from the Australia Council for the Arts and Artist Support from Arts NSW. Dolman has undertaken international residencies at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Villa Belleville Paris, and Frans Masereel Centrum, Belgium.
National residencies include: Hill End, Bundanon Trust, BigCi NSW, Ceramic Design Studio, Parramatta Artists Studios, and Artspace Sydney.
Pictured is an installation shot of Chris Dolman’s 2019 ‘Falling from a Broken Ladder’ exhibition at Galerie pompom.
Chris Dolman is represented by Galerie pompom, Sydney.
Many thanks to arts writer Eleanor Zurowski for her engaging take on the ‘Memory Betrays Everybody’ exhibition. Also, a big thanks to Naomi Riddle and Hannah Jenkins at Running Dog for publishing the piece.
Please click on the link and have a read – it’s highly recommended.
Many thanks to arts writer Jane O’Sullivan for her excellent essay on the ‘Memory Betrays Everybody’ exhibition.
Lighting the way home
Memory betrays everybody, especially those who we knew best. It is an ally of oblivion, it is an ally of death. – Joseph Brodsky
I visit on one of those crisp Autumn days when it feels like the sky is about to shatter. It’s been hot for too long, but the weather has finally turned and my body hums with it. This is what it should be like, this is what I remember. It’s a physical relief. Perhaps home is just the familiarity of knowing how things work, or what comes next. It’s a strange way to walk into an exhibition about exile.
Memory Betrays Everybody brings together the ex-Yugoslav artist and writer Dragana Jurišić, who now lives in Dublin, with the Croatian-born and Sydney-based installation and multimedia artist Biljana Jančić. It’s dark inside, and the first thing to break the gloom is a long table spread with documents; photographs and texts that are spot-lit like artefacts in a museum display case. At the far left there is a thick paperback book, Rebecca West’s Black Lamb and Grey Falcon. Published in 1937, West’s book is a kind of extended travelogue through Yugoslavia and a portrait of Europe on the brink of war. Jurišić took a copy of this book with her when she was finally able to return to the home she had left as a teenager. She loosely followed West’s path, effectively chasing a ghost through a country that no longer existed.
As she went, Jurišić took photographs and wrote notes, later piecing her experiences into the acclaimed photographic book YU: The Lost Country. Excerpts from this project are presented in Memory Betrays Everybody. One photograph on the table shows the notes Jurišić wrote in the margins of her book. Still so many burnt houses. Fuck.
Another photograph focuses on an old man holding a dandelion. There’s an oblique sadness to the image that gains shape in her notes. The man is grieving for a young child killed by passing car. He has been waiting hours for someone to come and collect the body.
Perhaps one of the most disturbing images is of a puddle of blood on top of a boulder. Jurišić’s notes, placed alongside the photograph, explain it as part of a history of animal sacrifice in the region. She seems to consider it largely in terms of cultural attitudes to hope and violence, but it also reads as a visual metaphor for a land recovering from war. The blood has yet to seep into the cracks.
While they’re documentary, these images are also part of a meditation on photography, memory and power. Behind the table, playing on a large screen, Jurišić talks frankly about her experiences losing her home, her country and her national identity when Yugoslavia broke apart in 1991. She says that her father was an ardent amateur photographer and when their house was burned down, thousands of his negatives were destroyed. She became, she says, “one of those refugees with no photographs, with no past”.
The impact of this moment speaks to the way that photographs can dominate or even override our own memories, at times seeming more solid than the unreliability of our own minds. For Jurišić, taking her camera back to her former home seems to have given her a sense of distance and control. She says it was like disowning a home that had displaced her.
In a curtained alcove to the side, Jurišić lays out her memories of what happened when she was a teenager. TV monitors hover in the shadows, stacked on top of each other. Some are in colour, some black and white. They play the same footage of a woman, out in the cold. The wind blows her hair and the fur of her hood across her face. The words of the voiceover are like strobe lights, illuminating small, sudden moments from the past.
I remember grabbing onto her until all my nails broke.
She says that about her mother.
I remember the soles of my red converse shoes melting.
She says that about returning to her home after it was burnt down.
I remember walking out.
These memories are voiced in a spare, matter of fact way, one flash after another. As they accumulate, the experience with the work takes on a fragmented, dreamlike quality. This is also mirrored in the dramatic installation of the exhibition, with screens and objects appearing to float in the shadows. Biljana Jančić’s large-scale photographs, which are exhibited in the central exhibition space, seem at home in this world of light and dark, even though they engage with very different ideas.
Rather than looking at the lived experience of exile and diaspora, Jančić’s practice considers displacement in visual and spatial terms. Past site-specific projects have seen her inserting sculptural elements into exhibition spaces, or placing coloured tape and light projections on the floor and walls. These interventions engage with and disrupt the way we see these spaces. Her projects often prompt questions about borders and demarcations, and highlight how unquestioningly we occupy and move within our physical environments. In Jančić’s work, space is not just an empty void to be filled, but something already shaped and imprinted by architecture, culture and history.
In Memory Betrays Everybody, Jančić presents three abstracted photographs from her 2018 series Concrete (variations). The grand scale of these works is at odds with their everyday origins: a box of tissues, lit up by the sun. Jančić has photographed them so that the tissues appear to be alternately reaching up like candle flames or buckling like the tin walls of a fire-damaged shed.
Texture is hard to discern. The surfaces are reduced to planes and facets, and the folds in the tissue are sometimes only captured in the palest of greys. These white shapes are set against flat, black backgrounds, letting Jančić play with ideas of negative space and form, pressure and resistance. There is a tension to these images. The forms feel both monumental and too fragile to last much longer. They are just soft tissue, after all.
In a political climate that seems to be gathering around the old monoliths–nationalism, idols, monuments–the work presented in Memory Betrays Everybody takes on added significance. On the main screen, Jurišić talks about what being an exile has meant for her, and how it has reshaped her whole way of being. She is alert and watchful, “constantly observant,” she says. Perhaps, among all the things she has lost, is the ability to ever be completely at ease.