Our roundup of what to see this summer among Australia’s best capital city and regional art galleries.
Ivan Durrant: Colouring Lake Mokoan: ‘I’ve always been fascinated by the unplanned accidental out-of-focus background areas in photographs. It’s the way these colours and shapes playfully hover and bounce between abstract and reality. No matter how vague they appear, we seem to have no trouble interpreting them as the real world. It’s an unspoken visual language, and a beautiful one. Now with modern domestic ink-jet printers, phone cameras and Skype, we are even more accepting of blurred and exaggerated warped colour as a true representation of the real world.’
Colouring Lake Mokoan gave me the opportunity to explore this modern-day visual language, and push the boundaries even further. These paintings are about the colour and patterns I not only imagine, but now see when I look at a landscape; yet it amazes me that they can still be accepted as representing a real place. I’m giving the viewer of these works a trip behind my eyes – I’ve got so used to the enjoyment of blurring and over-colouring the world in everyday life that I hardly know what it’s like to be normal.
I prefer to call my method of painting ‘supraphotolism’: that is, beyond photorealism, which was heavily contingent on mimicking crisp, clear photography. In these paintings the reference to photography is so vague it’s barely noticeable. The dominating feature becomes my imagination, and love of colour,’ – Ivan Durrant. Benalla Art Gallery, December 14, 2018 – March 3, 2019.
Wayne Quilliam Connection to Country: For the first time in their long careers, Aboriginal brothers Wayne and Mick Quilliam have collaborated on a joint exhibition of contradictory, spiritualised, ideological artworks that connect them to Country.
‘Conscious of philosophising cultural synergy, my brother and I encourage people to engage in coherent discussion that demands existential debate of how one connects to Country. Mick’s interpretation of spirituality and culture is vastly different to mine; he speaks from a lifelong connection to our homeland, whereas my creations are influenced by living and working with our brothers and sisters on the mainland,’ says Professor Quilliam. November 1 to November 18, 2018. ARTMob gallery, 29 Hunter Street, Hobart.
John Mawurndjul: I am the old and the new presents the masterful fusion of traditional and contemporary art from the sedge-grass brush of one of Australia’s greatest living artists. John has been celebrated internationally for his groundbreaking approach to bark painting and for the dazzling radiance of his meticulously painted crosshatching.
This first major Australian survey of his innovative work assembles more than 160 paintings and sculptures from Australian and overseas collections, made in a prolific creative career that spans four decades and deep ancestral time.
Presented bilingually in Kuninjku and English, the exhibition illuminates Kuninjku culture and the dynamic connections between land and ancestral power in Mawurndjul’s home in western Arnhem Land. Until January 28, 2019, Art Gallery of South Australia.
The NGV’s Designing Women exhibition will highlight the dynamic and critical force of female designers in shaping contemporary design culture with works including Oru Chair by UAE’s Aljoud Lootah, Yang Metamorphosis designed by Carlotta de Bevilacqua for Artemide and Horse Lamp by Swedish design studio Front Design.
Drawn from the NGV Collection, Designing Women will explore lighting, furniture, object and fashion design, together with architecture, textiles and contemporary jewellery. More than sixty diverse works will be showcased alongside new acquisitions, all united by their female authorship. Until March 24, 2019, NGV International.
Mirka Mora: Pas de Deux – Drawings and Dolls celebrates Mirka Mora’s remarkable life and career with a major exhibition of her drawings and soft sculpture dolls, and a publication that delves into Mirka and Georges Mora’s extraordinary lives and impact on Melbourne’s artistic and culinary landscapes.
The works in Mirka Mora: Pas de Deux – Drawings and Dolls come from the artist’s home and studio, and many will be on display for the first time. Until March 24, 2019, Heide Museum of Modern Art.
Brett Whiteley drawing is everything looks at the central place of drawing in Brett Whiteley’s art. A precocious talent for drawing set Whiteley on the path of an extraordinary career as one of Australia’s best-known artists. Drawing lay at the very heart of everything he did – from painting to sculpture to prints – and was fundamental to his imaginative and creative process. Drawn primarily from the Art Gallery of NSW and the Brett Whiteley Studio collections, it includes key drawings, paintings and sculptures, with loans from private collections, that emphasise the power of drawing in Whiteley’s practice. December 15, 2018 to March 31, 2019, AGNSW.
Albert Namatjira (1902–59) was a Western Arrernte-speaking artist from the MacDonnell Ranges, west of Alice Springs in Central Australia. His Western-style landscapes, different from traditional Aboriginal art, made him a celebrated pioneer of contemporary Indigenous Australian art in the 1950s and the most famous Indigenous Australian of his generation.
This display features early works by Namatjira, arguably Australia’s best-known Aboriginal artist, alongside artworks by those he influenced, including artists from the Arrernte landscape painting tradition, the Hermannsburg Potters and his great-grandson, Vincent Namatjira. Permanent exhibition, QAGOMA.