Around the galleries – Summer Preview

December 17, 2009 § Leave a comment

Published: The Age, A2, December 12, 2009.

Around the galleries Dan Rule

WHAT Ron Mueck
WHERE National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Road, city, 8620 2222,

Ron Mueck deals in the currency of the human form and condition – warts, flab, stubble and all. The Melbourne-born, internationally celebrated artist’s gigantically scaled, intensely realistic sculptures not only amplify the physicality of the human body, but the individuality of personal experience. Impish childhood portrayals offset plaintive, psychologically and emotionally loaded explorations of later life; evidence of interaction is swallowed by an omnipresent isolation. In what NGV have billed as the “largest and most comprehensive” survey of Mueck’s work to be held in Australia, the exhibition will comprise 12 sculptures, including four works created especially for the show. Adult $15 / Concession $12 / Children $7.50. January 22 to April 18.

WHAT Jenny Holzer
WHERE Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 111 Sturt Street, Southbank, 9697 9999,

“Lack of charisma can be fatal”, “Private property created crime”, “Sloppy thinking gets worse over time” – New York artist Jenny Holzer’s famed Truisms have been ruffling many a feather on various city streets since the late 70s. Projected onto buildings, walls and cars, or printed on anything from stickers and posters to condom wrappers, her equally playful and provocative public text works have mined the political sphere as much as our collective reserves of (often hilarious) everyday aphorisms. Holzer moves inside the gallery with her new show at ACCA, which features a new, constantly moving poetry projection, a series of paintings of recently declassified US government memos and an LED screen installation. December 17 to February 28.

WHAT Cubism & Australian Art
WHERE Heide Museum of Modern Art, 7 Templestowe Road, Bulleen, 9850 1500,

It’s hip to be square. Cubed? I’m not so sure. Well, the people at Heide think so and they’ve amassed what must be one the largest collections of Australian cubist art to ever be exhibited. Curated by Sue Cramer and Leslie Harding, the survey features upwards of 80 artists, from the adoption of early cubist principles by Grace Crowley and Anne Dangar in the 1920s, through to contemporary moving image works by artists such as John Dunkley-Smith and Daniel Crooks. Not to be missed. Adult $12 / Senior $10 / Concession $8. Until April 8.

WHERE Counihan Gallery, 233 Sydney Road, Brunswick, 9389 8622,

Curated by Edwina Bartlem and Ben McKeown as part of the Midsumma Festival, GAYME will feature the work of some of Australia’s most exciting queer and Indigenous artists. Drawing on the ‘queered craft’ of Troy-Anthony Baylis, the performative photo-media work of Dianne Jones, Gary Lee, Clinton Nain and several others, the exhibition will traverse painting, photography, textile, sculpture and video installation. January 22 to February 21.

WHAT Adam Cruickshank: Reverse Cargo
WHERE Craft Victoria, 31 Flinders Lane, city, 9650 7775,

A visit to IKEA may have acted as the trigger point for many a long and increasingly spiteful “debate” between spouses, but luckily for us, Adam Cruickshank’s upcoming exhibition of reconfigured IKEA objects will represent something of a different kind of exchange. Drawing on craft processes informed by the traditional techniques of various Papua New Guinean tribes, Reverse Cargo will recast mass-produced objects as beauteous one-off totems and charms, effectively creating an interface between magical and industrial modes. The show runs alongside Christopher Headley and Darren McGinn’s exhibition of ceramic installations Divertissement. January 21 to March 6.

WHAT Trish Morrissey: Photography & Video
WHERE Centre for Contemporary Photography, 404 George Street, Fitzroy, 9417 1549,

The notion of family acts as muse for UK photographer Trish Morrissey. In a career that has stretched over two decades and seen her exhibit throughout Europe and the US, Morrissey’s performance-based portraits and video have worked to deconstruct and expound photographic archetypes. Her first exhibition in Australia will feature her brilliant 2002–2004 work Seven Years, which sees the artist meticulously reconstruct a series of staged non-smiling family photos. Directed, photographed and acted by Morrissey herself, the series reveals the spectre of self-consciousness and tension between family members, dismantling the cliché family portrait in the process. The exhibition will also include photographic series Front and video works Eighteen and Forty-Five and Ideas of Refinement, Principles of Taste. January 22 to March 14.

WHAT Paul Dunn: Imagined Communities
WHERE Monash Gallery of Art, 860 Ferntree Gully Road, Wheelers Hill, 9562 1569,

In a time when advertising dollars rule public space, the contemporary cityscape has become a canvas for the projected ambitions and cultural definitions of a select few. It’s a notion that permeates the work of photographer Paul Dunn. In his new show at MGA – running beside a superb survey of the collaborative work of photographer Max Dupain and architect Harry Seidler – Dunn charts the representations of community portrayed via the vast real estate billboards that pepper the soon-to-be developed lots of Australia’s suburban fringe. But as Dunn’s work so succinctly elucidates, such Imagined Communities are world away from the diverse and complex realities of contemporary Australian communities. The billboards’ mono-cultural, nuclear family sheen is, in effect, a whiteout. December 17 to February 7.

WHAT Julie Squires: The Gathering Garden – The Making
WHERE Gasworks Arts Park, 21 Graham Street, Albert Park, 8606 4204,

Featuring documentary photographs and painted designs, this exhibition explores the two-year-long process behind Melbourne artist Julie Squire’s collaborative public installation work in Alice Springs, dubbed The Gathering Garden. During the project, Squires worked with Indigenous artists from nine different local communities – Marcia Alice, April Campbell, Emma Daniels, Marie Elena Ellis, Roseanne Ellis, Tina Malbunka, Michael Nelsen, Thomas Rice, June Smith and MK Turner – to create a series of sculptures, which were later installed as part of a public garden. The Making, gives a rare personal and cultural insight into this fantastic meeting of minds. Until January 10.


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