Home is pleased to be exhibiting work by Sean Wadey in an upcoming group show opening on Wednesday the 26th of April.
Sean Wadey’s work addresses themes of commodification by contrasting high and low material values. Primarily, the hierarchy of commodities is called in to question via the notion of ‘quality’ and the subsequent perception of surface or, ‘finish’.
Borrowing tropes from the automotive industry, various processes of reproduction including cast ceramic and atomised painting are used to achieve a manufactured aesthetic. This high level of finish is contrast by the source of the material itself with paintings produced on primed pieces of cardboard or ceramic casts taken from mass produced objects. In a recent and ongoing series of works titled ‘Turbo Vase’, text and logo emblems are transferred from premium motor vehicles and reproduced in ceramic to adorn cast replicas of ceramic vases the artist sourced from thrift stores.
This combination of high and low value structures leaves the object with a ‘heightened state of materiality’. In doing so, Wadey highlights the fetishised nature of commodities and asks of the viewer to contemplate their own relationship to products around them.
Pictured is Turbo Vase, Slip-cast glazed ceramic and gold lustre. photo: Robin Hearfield.
Mass media in any of its forms flattens the meaning of the visual imagery it presents. This was true fifty years ago when direct reporting from the Vietnam War- the first television war – was interspersed with crisply produced commercials for soap and automobiles; it is just as true of today’s social media platforms, where anything can be made visible but nothing is able to assume enduring significance. It may be that our society consumes more disposable imagery than ever before but there is nothing new about the way that mass circulation platforms determine the values of our visual culture. Anthony Bartok is part of a long lineage of artists who have dipped their hand into the incessant stream of ephemeral, media images and appropriated them to a critique of the conditions of our social existence, of how our norms and behaviours are manipulated for base commercial imperatives. I can’t think of anybody working today with drawing, painting and print media who does it better. His selection of source images, guided by a sure feeling for contradiction, exposes the deep strangeness of what the multitude are scrolling through daily. He is one of those rare artists whose work can elicit full-blown laughter, as the profane is set alongside the ridiculous to produce a riotously apt critique of modern life. In one memorable past work inflatable ‘tube men’ were shown rising and deflating in front of a field of fornicating figures, with a nameless male figure floating in indeterminate space, dressed for business; in the present body of work a young man and woman on a reality television show perform a full-mouth kiss for the camera, attended from all sides by a scattering of tiny, hard-hatted construction workers who are just as intent on executing their work. A talented drawer with a strong capacity for visual invention, Bartok ponders the compositional construction of each work at length and insists on hand-drafting everything. His clean line doesn’t give much away and we might find comedy in the effort he makes to avoid any expressive flourish, but his line has a serious job to do: de-familiarising us from subjects usually rendered in photographic colour and consolidating the image in a newly essentialised form. If we give our attention to Bartok’s work we will find a sensitivity and interpretative dimension to his drawing that sets it well apart from its source images, producing shifts of emphasis that only a human eye and mind would arrive at or find significant. The emphasis is not always on humour. Increasingly, Bartok concerns himself with the inherently mysterious nature of our transit through life. In the current exhibition it is the presence of animals in our constructed, socialised environments that changes the tone. A domestic cat strides across a suburban panorama as a free agent; Queen Elizabeth 2 extends the hand of royal greeting to an elephant. In both cases the human-ordained pecking order of the species appears to be precarious, as though a wildness that has long been suppressed could be about to assert itself. Perhaps the animals are a reminder that we, the humans, also possess a potential to step outside of the boundary lines. I am never in doubt with Anthony Bartok that the picture of life I am being shown has been made with consciousness of the moral implications of aesthetic decisions. If his work implies that there is a bad guy we find him primarily in the massive conglomerates that trade in false, exploitative images but also in our own frailty as consumers and creators of such material. In my mind’s eye I see Bartok in front of the television with his head in his hands, uttering the words: how did it come to this? But the care that he takes in crafting his visual critiques and his openness to the possibility of an art that acknowledges ambiguity and mystery is itself a welcome assertion of what is worth fighting for in this world. Written by Joe Frost
Anthony Bartok is a Sydney based painter and print maker whose work is a wryly humorous comment on modern society. He is a 2022 MFA graduate of the National Art School and has been a finalist in among others: The Waverly Art Prize (2022), The Grace Cossington Smith Art Prize (2021), The Lester Prize for Portraiture (2020), The Kilgour Art Prize (2019) and Winner of the Fisher’s Ghost Award for Drawing, Painting and Printmaking (2016).
Home is pleased to be exhibiting work by Sarah Edmondson in an upcoming group show opening on Wednesday the 26th of April. The show will also feature work by Anthony Bartok, Sassy Park and Sean Wadey.
“…Researching the unpredictable in connection to digital and neurological glitches led me to develop techniques that contradict the speed of technology, consequently slow stitching processes have become my primary practice. Utilising various textile materials, I employ repetitive stitching and tufting techniques to evoke a sense of time while rethinking pixelation. A lifelong interest in language and typefaces has led me to use text to reference the transfer of information; corresponding to neurons sending messages to and from the brain and computer networks. In my work words are released from the constraints of language, distorted in a manner recalling the reCAPTCHA puzzle which appears when a website asks whether we are, in fact, a robot. Memory plays an important role in my work, I am concerned with how it works, what we remember and what remains forgotten. I express this through the idea of glitches and my work shows parts of words and letters, some things are present and some absent. Seeing parallels between corrupted digital files and disruption to my own neural pathways I produce glitchy compositions. A futuristic feel pulses through the work with brightly coloured, fluorescent, and iridescent threads and faux fur…”
Pictured is She Said, 2019, wool, nylon, faux fur and reflective fabric on canvas.
I’ve been awarded a residency at Bundanon. I’ll be spending a couple of weeks in the Musician’s Cottage in August. I’ll be working on songs for an album and plan to do some filming using the beautiful setting of Bundanon and surrounding areas for related music clips and album artwork. This is the first residency I’ve applied for and in all honesty, never considered it previously. I spent some time at Bundanon as Madeleine’s carer in February 2022, just one month before she passed away. At the time we didn’t know if Madeleine would be able to attend her residency, thankfully I was allowed to accompany her and we had a productive and enjoyable time. I helped Madeleine complete her script for her Darlinghurst Eats Its Young film and did some rough recordings of her narrative. This residency will no doubt bring back some memories. I’m looking forward to this time at Bundanon; the opportunity to work on my music, take a breath and enjoy that wonderful environment.
Bundanon’s Artists in Residence program supports new work, research and collaborations by professional artists and researchers from around the world. This multi-disciplinary residency program is the largest in Australia and provides artists time conceive and develop new work and ideas in the iconic Shoalhaven landscape. Find out more @ bundanontrust #Bundanon #BundanonAIR
Home is pleased to exhibiting work by Sassy Park in an upcoming group show opening on Wednesday the 26th of April. The exhibition will also feature work by Anthony Bartok, Sarah Edmonson and Sean Wadey. Sassy Park is a Sydney based artist interested in the history of ceramics, objects and ideas. The medium of clay with its embedded transformative nature of strength and vulnerability becomes a metaphor for themes of the everyday. Her work plays with the accepted uses of domestic ceramics and genres, including pots and figurative works, providing a contemporary take on what ceramics are and what they can say. Ideas of vulnerability and fragility are expressed through scale, intimacy, and humour. Sassy Park graduated from the National Art school with a Masters in Ceramics in 2018. Previous degrees include Bachelor of Visual Arts from Sydney College of the Arts in painting as well as a post-graduate diploma. She won the Muswellbrook Art Prize for ceramics in 2021 and was runner-up in the Meroogal Women’s Art Prize in 2020. As well as having solo exhibitions at Robin Gibson Gallery, she has shown at Bathurst Regional Art Gallery and in curated exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ballarat and the Powerhouse Museum. She recently undertook the Onslow Storrier National Art School residency at the Cité des internationale art, Paris, France to research French ceramic folk traditions. Pictured is Sisters, 2021, glazed ceramic
My sincere thanks to writer Vanessa Berry for her thoughtful piece on Madeleine’s exhibition.
Madeleine Preston // Home@735, March 2023Vanessa Berry
The heat of the day still clings as a wide pink sunset moves quickly across the sky. Outside 735 the crowd spills out along the footpath, celebrating the gallery’s reopening with a survey exhibition honouring co-director Madeleine Preston, a year after her passing. It is fitting to enter the gallery amid the sound of conversations, as this was a guiding force in Preston’s practice: the conversation, the ongoing dialogue, that occurs between present and past. Her art engages material, political and art-historical memory, rekindling it in thoughtful, gestural and unexpected ways, capturing history’s afterimages as they linger and affect the present.
These histories can invoke events or situations, as much as they can be more indirect and ambient, the political temper of a moment or era. At the entrance to the gallery Gudrun Ensslin (2017) is a brooding portrait of the controversial political figure. Ensslin, a leader of the far-left Baader-Meinhof group, has come to be equated with power and resistance as much as violence and terrorism. The portrait captures her in a quieter, more ghostly moment than she might usually be imagined. Her eyes are hollowed and lips firmly set, the details of her face veiled with sweeping brushstrokes, reminding us there is only so much we can ever really know of her, or indeed any historical figure.
Preston’s paintings present colour and mood over detail, and by doing so highlight the imprecisions of memory: what disperses and what remains. In The Gleaners, 1857-2015 (after Mamma Andersson), which hung in the Sulman prize in 2016, the bent figures of the gleaners merge with their landscape, requiring a keen eye to make them out, a contrast to the foreground focus of Millet’s Des glaneuses. This suggests at once their inscrutability and their absorption in their task, which is first and foremost one of survival. There’s a sense of slippery, flowing time, unable to be isolated as entirely past or present.
A turn to ceramics, after a transformative residency with ceramicist Lydia Draper in 2014, opened up another conversational mode within Preston’s practice, and another method for reckoning with the complexities of memory. Her ceramic works are often collections, groupings or gatherings, where the material relationships between the pieces evoke further resonances.
In Pure Desire #1 and #2 (2021-22) the last works Preston completed, slip cast vessels are grouped together – vase, bottle, jug and goblet – their differing physicality made uniform through the casting process. They could be archaeological artefacts, museum pieces, or domestic objects: it is up to us to decide, and to consider the mechanisms by which we regard a particular object as precious, or worthy of status. As with all of Preston’s works, they are generous in their suggestive potential. The reflective engagement they bring about pushes towards an awareness of the social and political forces that are constantly shaping our lives whether we are aware of them or not.
We see these forces at work in Darlinghurst Eats Its Young. First exhibited in 2012, this collection of photographs of life in the Darlinghurst squats – taken by Maggie Woods in the 1980s and later inherited by Preston – have gone on to shape a project that interrogates nostalgia, gentrification, and the socio-political implications of everyday life. The prints exhibited here present Facebook conversations that move between memories, reflections, trivia and argument as they decode the photos, recalling the inner city pre-gentrification and the varying fates of the people pictured. The project will continue: Preston completed the script for the short film of Darlinghurst Eats Its Young in early 2022, recording the narration for the film a few weeks before her death.
Some of the people from those Darlinghurst days are gathered to mark the opening tonight, among Madeleine’s family and friends, her colleagues and students, and the wider Sydney artistic community, all of us celebrating this much loved and missed artist. Her works and legacy remind us that we carry the past with us, and that we speak to it throughout our daily lives, and that these conversations, vital and critical, can also be subtle and beautiful.
…the last eighteen months have been a tough stretch. Losing someone close, someone you shared a life with is a difficult thing to deal with. I know some of you have been through similar situations and there’s no easy way to get through. But we do. Things get a little easier as time passes – but the loss stays with you.
I’m doing my best to get back to a ‘normal’ life. I’ve been writing songs, painting and doing fix ups around the house, did a videomaking course at AFTRS. I’m looking forward to some art openings and seeing some live music.
I’m recommencing shows at Home Gallery. First up is an exhibition of Madeleine’s work. The show will commemorate the first anniversary of her passing opening on Thursday the 16th of March. Join me for drinks from 6-8pm, 735 Bourke Street Redfern – hope to see you here! Cheers, Anthony
It’s with great sadness I inform you that my partner and co-director of Home@735 Gallery Madeleine Preston passed away on the 14th of March.
Many of you would be aware, Madeleine suddenly became unwell in July last year. She was taken to St Vincent’s hospital in a critical condition and not expected to survive. After three weeks in hospital, mostly in intensive care, Madeleine came home.
Over these last few months, Madeleine battled a number of symptoms including fatigue, but was able to push through and make the most of her days. She painted, made ceramics and got to finish the script for her short film, Darlinghurst Eats its Young – recording her narration just two weeks before her death.
We managed to get away to the South Coast for a number of short trips. Mad loved the ocean, catching up with friends and was energized by swims in the salt water pools we visited.
She enjoyed engaging with other artists and writers during her residency at Bundanon in February. The natural peace of the beautiful surroundings raised her spirits.
Most of all, Mad loved the visits, calls and messages from her friends. Those connections were precious to her.
Madeleine’s stoic nature was with her right up until the end.
I will always be thankful that we had these last few months together, but that doesn’t make today any easier. I miss her, and I always will…
Home is pleased to announce our upcoming show opening in March will feature photography by Sydney based photomedia artist, Zorica Prulija. The exhibition will highlight a series of portraits of Zorica’s daughter and muse, Yumi.
Zorica has been a finalist in the National Photographic Portrait Prize, Canberra, three years consecutively, twice in Sydney’s HeadOn Portrait Prize, a finalist in the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize Melbourne, Duo Magazine Percival Photographic Portrait Prize, The Kuala Lumpur Photographic Portrait Award, Mama Art Foundation Photography Prize in Albury, the Josephine Urlick Award in Queensland and the Olive Cotton Award for Portraiture in Murwillumbah NSW.
In 2020 she completed a Masters of Art in Photomedia at UNSW School of Art & Design in Paddington.
Home is pleased to be exhibiting new works by Samuel Massey in our 2021 program.
“…my art practice has come to be focused on the search for an authentic process. Many artists I admire have a distinctive style. By style, I refer to the relationship between their subjects and techniques. I believe artists that sustain distinctive practices find an honest way to paint. They find a method that reflects their temperament and enables the expression of their interests and influences. Regarding my paintings I would summarise my temperament as impatient yet persistent. My ever-lengthening list of influences has ensured the steady deepening of my respect for the materiality of oil paint. This respect leads to persistently searching for a technical mastery that aligns with my impatient temperament. I want to make better paintings with increasing ease. Paradoxically, it seems the way to do this is to continue raising my expectations of myself and continuing to broaden my technical experience. I am seeking a perfect, formulaic method and then critiquing it to the point of constant amendment. This technical pursuit leans into my preference for ambiguous subjects as it requires I bend subjects to fit the technical expectations I set myself. In this way the painting becomes the director of its own story…”
Home is pleased to be exhibiting work by Dr Peter Hill during February. Join us for the artist talk on Saturday the 6th of February from 2-4pm.
Glasgow-born Australian artist Dr Peter Hill has been creating what he calls “Superfictions” since 1989, when he first used fictional press releases to create New York’s Museum of Contemporary Ideas on Manhattan’s Park Avenue. This was supposedly the largest new museum in the world. Within the fiction, it attempted to break many of the rules of curation and museum display. Since then, Hill has created not just the artworks but the fictional identities and CVs of over 50 contemporary artists, as well as Museum Directors, Philanthropists, Art Critics, Collectors, Gallerists, and – in his ongoing art-world fantasy The Art Fair Murders – serial killers. At a populist level this project can be likened to the idea of the hoax or April Fool’s prank. At a more serious, specialist, level it deals with aspects of “falsificationism” from the philosophy of science (Karl Popper, Thomas Kuhn, Paul Feyerabend, Margaret Masterman) asking “how can we tell from mainly visual clues, whether any given statement is true or false?” Or can we only approach the truth, as in Popper’s conundrum of sighting white swans and black swans. One of Hill’s fictitious art collectives AAA (Art Against Astrology) interrogates these questions through their on-going artwork The Museum of Doubt. The arrival of Donald Trump and the proliferation of Fake News has helped illuminate notions of doubt and certainty, and for the past four years Peter Hill has been on a world lecture tour called Fake News and Superfictions – brought to a premature end in 2020 by the arrival of COVID-19.
For this exhibition at HOME@735, Dr Peter Hill introduces the work of his latest creation Stickleback (born 1951). Like Banksy and Madonna, Stickleback is one of several artist-celebrities known by a single name, or mononym. Normally working from studios in Berlin, Shanghai, and London, Stickleback found himself stranded in COVID-lockdown in Hobart, Tasmania (where he was working on a still-under-wraps major project). Based at a luxury mansion in Sandy Bay, this veteran artist has produced 35 Provocative Text-On-Canvas Paintings that comment on the extremes of contemporary life (Trump, Johnson, Sturgeon, Morrison, Gillard) alongside esoteric statements made by a range of artists, past and present (Marcel Broodthaers, Werner Herzog, Donald Judd, Dorothea Tanning, Uccello, and Ennio Morricone). Stickleback’s 1m x 1m paintings – already dubbed The Tasmania Suite – take their inspiration from 2020’s protest banners and placards, newspaper headlines, religious texts, art-historical quotations, and a range of contemporary and historical artists including: Tracey Emin, Jorg Immendorff, Anselm Kiefer, Linda Marrinon, Joseph Kosuth, and Colin McCahon. Stickleback’s work has been exhibited at the documenta, the Venice Biennale, the Sydney Biennale, and the Geelong Art Prize. He is also a character in Peter Hill’s on-going Superfiction (supposedly a novel and a film) The After-Sex Cigarette. This exhibition at HOME@735 expands Hill’s ideas from The Art Fair Murders, with scenography that suggests an international art fair held in an “Art Hotel” in Cologne, during the run of the city’s main art fair in the nearby Kunstmesse. The setting is reminiscent of Spring 1883 held in Melbourne’s Windsor Hotel during the city’s art fair season. A selection of the 1m x 1m canvases made by Stickleback during 2020 lockdown will be exhibited at HOME@735 throughout February 2021. This selection will change on a weekly basis, mimicking the way many galleries at art fairs (especially during the 1980s) would quickly replace paintings or sculptures when sold in order to maximise their opportunities for sales. One of the intentions of Hill’s project is to contrast the politics of museum display with that of international art fair practices. His ambition is to eventually sell “readymade” art fair installations to museums and private collectors – using signage, carpeting, and language as signifiers. Within this framing device artworks will change regularly, often selected from storage by museum visitors. Fragments of this project have previously been installed in The Sydney Biennale (MCA); AGNSW (Project Space); ACCA, Melbourne; Auckland City Gallery; and Museum of Modern Art, Oxford.
Home is pleased to be exhibiting works by Monika Scarrabelotti in our 2021 program.
Monika Scarrabelotti is a Sydney based artist who makes gestural figurative sculptures that engage with the human condition. Seeking to create works that are emotionally raw, her sculptures traverse the sensual and voyeuristic, engaging the spectator in an intimate response. Scarrabelotti completed a BFA and MFA at National Art School, and has a continued connection with art education through teaching sculpture at the Tom Bass Sculpture Studio and NAS. Scarrabelotti exhibits regularly and has a growing number of artworks in Australian private collections.