Category Archives: Curatorial

Curatorial projects & collaborations.

World Material: Between accident & intent

A few hundred words into writing this, I clicked ‘Save’ and Word suggested the filename ‘between accident and intent’ – a fragment of text still floating at the top of the page. It seems apt to embrace this chance title. While the intention of World Material was to explore the resonances within and between the works of these artists, many of the connections that have arisen during the show’s subsequent development and installation have been surprising and even uncanny. The expanded material, spatial, geographic and conceptual potentials of these works collide at a number of points.

World Material installation view featuring Lisa Sammut (L) & Louise Weaver (R). Image courtesy the artists and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney. Photography: Simon Hewson

World Material installation view featuring Lisa Sammut (L) & Louise Weaver (R). Image courtesy the artists and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney. Photography: Simon Hewson

Fictions are employed in order to reveal new truths. Louise Weaver’s paintings might appear to be encased in the bubble wrap and packing tape that would have protected them in storage or transit, but are actually constructed from ‘skins’ of paint that have been built up on another surface before being applied to canvas as abstract colour fields. Like Weaver, Connie Anthes confounds expectations in her construction of a painting’s surface, her work Untitled (Shadow Figures) employing a soft sculpture as a stencil, with the perceived depth of the resulting two-dimensional impression disrupted by a scattering of flatly-painted glyphs. The River Red Gum ‘branches’ nestled among Yasmin Smith’s Ntaria Fence are actually slip-cast ceramic proxies, glazed with wood ash collected from the same area of Hermannsburg, Central Australia as the branches themselves.

Lotte Schwerdtfeger. World Material. Chloe Wolifson

Lotte Schwerdtfeger, Prospect (Geological Study of Fryers Forest) 2016 -2017. Quartz bearing iron stained rock fragments and secondary banded clay, mixed, sieved and kiln fired – harvested from Fryerstown area, Central Victoria
Paint, plywood, pine, eucalyptus branches. dimensions variable. Image courtesy the artist and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney. Photography: Simon Hewson

Yasmin Smith. World Material. Chloe Wolifson

Yasmin Smith, Ntaria Fence 2015. branches: mid-fire slip with Hermannsburg wood ash glaze (River Red Gum, Mulga, Palm Tree), nepheline syenite and ball clay; bucket: earthenware slip with arctic blue underglaze and clear gloss glaze; ice cream container: earthenware slip with yellow op. dimensions variable. Image courtesy the artist, The Commercial and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney. Photography: Simon Hewson

Like Smith, Lotte Schwerdtfeger and Rebecca Gallo also present expanded understandings of landscape through the materials and forms they employ. Using natural clay sourced from the goldrush-ravaged Fryers Forest region of Victoria, Schwerdtfeger houses pieces of shattered local bedrock in specially-shaped plinths, interspersed with conventional pottery forms evoking a human presence. In Gallo’s sculptural installations, objects that once lay inert in places like Hill End, Fowlers Gap, Emu Plains and Sydney’s inner west have been reactivated, carefully incorporated into totemic compositions that are both fragile and playful.

Rebecca Gallo. World Material. Chloe Wolifson

Rebecca Gallo installation view, World Material, Darren Knight Gallery. Image courtesy the artist and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney. Photography: Simon Hewson

The perfectly mundane is conjured into significance in the hands of these artists. In Gallo’s works a fine balance is quite literally struck between found, carved and cast objects; An upturned ice-cream container rests jauntily on one of Smith’s Red Gum branches; In Weaver’s hands the trappings of a gallery stockroom become a lunar surface; Michelle Nikou transforms clothes dryer lint into domestic motifs; The notorious Mac ‘spinning wheel of death’ hypnotises in Anthes’ Mantle Piece.

Connie Anthes. World Material. Chloe Wolifson

Connie Anthes, Untitled (Mantle Piece) 2015. installation with air-dried ceramic, projector, apparatus
dimensions variable. Image courtesy the artist.

The folding and unfolding of planes that occurs in Mantle Piece, as a three-dimensional object is flattened into two dimensions then reprojected onto itself, creates an ambiguity in spatial comprehension. To do this Anthes uses orthographic projection, a technique that has been employed since antiquity to map star systems. Lisa Sammut’s work form deforms you is also a spatial map, in which organic and geometric motifs are connected atop an indigo velvet surface to create a sense of cosmic time, distance and scale.

Lisa Sammut. World Material. Chloe Wolifson

Lisa Sammut, Form deforms you 2017, embroidery on velvet, plywood, red cedar, beech, pine, acrylic paint, ink on paper, collage, cement, rock, clock mechanism, ping pong ball. 149 x 100 cm. Image courtesy the artist and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney. Photography: Simon Hewson

The flat-sided forms in Sammut’s microcosmic cosmos feature painted or collaged surfaces which transform their diorama-like simplicity into dimensional portals. Eloïse Kirk also employs collage, exploring its intersection with painting in abstracted landscapes that are forged in the connections between organic elements and in the space between the romantic and the surreal. The title of her painting Ultra Plinian alludes to volcanic eruptions, and a geological form in the centre of the composition oozes black resin.

World Material installation view featuring Eloïse Kirk (L) & Connie Anthes (R). Image courtesy the artist and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney. Photography: Simon Hewson

World Material installation view featuring Eloïse Kirk (L) & Connie Anthes (R). Image courtesy the artist and Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney. Photography: Simon Hewson

The works in World Material embody a sense of expanded possibility. Our world has held these materials, and these materials now hold new worlds for us.

………………….

Thanks to the artists, those who supported the transport and installation of their works, The Commercial , & the Darren Knight Gallery team.

World Material continues at Darren Knight Gallery until 25 February 2017.

ArtChat. Fast chats on hot topics!

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I was invited by Museums and Galleries of NSW to present last night at ArtChat. Fast chats on hot topics!

In the fourth of this annual series, ArtChat featured a line-up of established and emerging independent curators who are all working with contemporary practice across the visual arts, craft and design, time-based and experimental arts. The evening explored imaginative ideas in a fast-paced, invigorating and sometimes humorous format, providing a snapshot of the exciting curatorial projects proposed by today’s creative thinkers.

Speakers included Joanna Bayndrian, Bec Dean, Micheal Do, Danielle Robson, Nina Stromqvist, Una Rey and myself. You can watch mine above (please turn up the volume – my voice was not being kind to me that day!), and view all the presentations on the MGNSW website.

artchat
Though a little nervous about presenting I enjoyed the night and it was great to showcase one of my ideas-in-progress to a wider audience. Thanks to Museums and Galleries of NSW and Regional and Public Galleries of NSW for the opportunity.

‘tensions/translations/transitions’ at Dominik Mersch Gallery

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‘tensions/translations/transitions’

CURATOR AWARD WINNER 2016
CHLOE WOLIFSON

OPENING: Thursday 5th May, 6 – 8 pm
EXHIBITION DATES: 05.05 – 28.05.16

ARTISTS:
JON CATTAPAN
JANET LAURENCE
ANNA McMAHON
MATHEW McWILLIAMS
EMILY SANDRUSSI
CHARLIE SOFO

I have the honour of being awarded the second Dominik Mersch Gallery Curator Award. My exhibition ‘tensions/translations/transitions’ will bring together work by six artists employing physical and psychological markers and layers to evoke the tensions, translations and transitions occurring in our relationships with space and place. In bringing together these works I question if perhaps new or unexpected tensions, translations or transitions will emerge to the viewer.

‘tensions/translations/transitions’ opens on 5th of May. EXHIBITION DATES: 05.05. – 28.05.15

Read announcement here: DMG Curator Award 2016unnamed (1)

4a Curators’ Intensive

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Last week I was fortunate to take part in the 4a Centre for Contemporary Asian Art‘s Curators’ Intensive, “an initiative developed by 4A to encourage professional advancement amongst early career Australian cultural practitioners with an interest in curatorial practice”.

Cosmin Costinas discussing the work of Ai Weiwei during the 4a Curators' Intensive in Sydney, July 2014

Cosmin Costinas discussing the work of Ai Weiwei during the 4a Curators’ Intensive in Sydney, July 2014

We participated in keynote lectures and workshops led by three noted curators from the Asia-Pacific region, Cosmin Costinas (Hong Kong), Dr Sophie McIntyre (ACT), & Robin Peckham (Hong Kong/Beijing). These ranged in subject from the recent shaping of Hong Kong’s identity, to the phenomenon of post-internet art, to the politics of representation. We also undertook field trips to artist studios and exhibitions around Sydney, which provided a context for questions around various curatorial approaches.

4a Curators' Intensive participants listening to curator Andrea James discussing Karla Dickens' work 'Demanding a voice is tiresome' (2014) in the exhibition Hereby Make Protest at Carriageworks, Sydney. Photograph: Chloé Wolifson

4a Curators’ Intensive participants listening to curator Andrea James discussing Karla Dickens’ work ‘Demanding a voice is tiresome’ (2014) in the exhibition Hereby Make Protest at Carriageworks, Sydney. Photograph: Chloé Wolifson

My fellow participants were Miriam Arbus (VIC), Mira Asriningtyas (Indonesia), Andrew Ewing (NT), Sebastian Goldspink (NSW), Sophie Kitson (NSW), Alana Kushnir (VIC), Tess Maunder (QLD), Tulleah Pearce (NSW), Kyle Weise (VIC), Gintani Nur Apresia Swastika (Indonesia), & Luisa Tresca (NSW). These emerging curators from around the region have backgrounds ranging from visual arts to literature to performance, in commercial galleries, artist-run spaces and institutions. This variety of perspectives contributed to lively dialogue, and the conversations continued in taxis and around lunch tables over the course of the four days.

4a Curators' Intensive participants listening to gallerist Amanda Rowell discuss Archie Moore's exhibition Les Eaux d'Amoore at The Commercial, Sydney. Photograph: Chloé Wolifson

4a Curators’ Intensive participants listening to gallerist Amanda Rowell discuss Archie Moore’s exhibition Les Eaux d’Amoore at The Commercial, Sydney. Photograph: Chloé Wolifson

I feel privileged to have been chosen for such a great opportunity, and look forward to continuing the discussions with my curatorial cohort.

4a Centre for Contemporary Asian Art is an enduring institution with fantastic public programming. The Intensive’s keynote lectures were open to the public and recorded – I will link back to them here once they are available online.

4a Curators' Intensive participants experiencing Archie Moore's exhibition Les Eaux d'Amoore at The Commercial, Sydney. Photograph: Chloé Wolifson

4a Curators’ Intensive participants experiencing Archie Moore’s exhibition Les Eaux d’Amoore at The Commercial, Sydney. Photograph: Chloé Wolifson