Friday, April 24, 2015

Conflicted


Tuesday night saw the launch of our third major exhibition for 2016 - Conflicted: Adversaries in Art. What a fun night and another bumper crowd to boot. Featuring another carefully selected ensemble of some of Australia's finest art talents, the exhibition walks a fine line between the fun and the serious. The joyous exuberance of youthful play is haunted by pathos as we consider the shadowy undertones of children's games. Even when you restrict access to commercialised and masculine-oriented toys like guns, children will find ways to explore their expression of war-games and battles between goodies and baddies. Even our politicians stumble their way through such terminology.


Gallery One: Michael Peak (left) and Slow Art Collective (right) 
- Photo by JIM LEE (c)


The exhibition features interactive installation, sculpture, photography, painting, print and video art in a reflection of the gallery's philosophy to present a broad sweep of media when exploring a given theme. From the large-scale paintings of Michael Peck in which children appear stoically prepared to forge on into an unknown, potentially post-apocalyptic future, to the intimate photographs taken by Siri Hayes of the homemade weaponry her son was making in the backyard, the exhibition is designed to pose questions about the drive to battle that is inherently contained within us from childhood and the influence of adult ideas borne out by our kids in an age of immediate news access.

The signing of the International Airspace Operations Treaty  
- Photo by JIM LEE (c)
Artist Juan Ford conversing with an enthusiastic audience  
- Photo by JIM LEE (c)
Sitting at the core of the exhibition is a trio of artworks by Siri Hayes, Juan Ford and Slow Art Collective that reflect and reinforce the principal theme of the show. Juan was inspired by the photographs of Siri Hayes (mentioned above) and produced a series of sculptures for a show in Mildura in 2013. These sculptures also provided props for his paintings. The son of artist Chaco Kato (who is part of art collaboration Slow Art Collective) was then inspired by Juan's work to make his own homemade weaponry. We were excited to be able to pull all three artworks and artists together to reveal their connections and also to play off the notion of this learned and transferred inspiration of ideas. After all, do kids learn about war from adults, from each other or do they have it ingrained from birth? 

Slow Art Collective installation in Gallery One
We hope you enjoy the exhibition and find some interesting ideas tucked within the artworks. We will be showing a documentary about the newly developed playable version of Quidditch, a game taken from the Harry Potter books, later next month as part of our public programming. We'll also be delivering a series of interviews with the artists from the show to tease out more about their ideas and their other artworks.

Inez, Xavi and Veronica on the dais (International Airspace Operations) 
- photo by JIM LEE (c)

The artists and curators of Conflicted 
- photo by JIM LEE (c)
Adult play abounds in the work of International Airspace Operations 
(Mathew Greentree & Connor Grogan)
- photo by JIM LEE (c)




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