Born 1981, Townsville, Australia
Tony Albert’s art practice interrogates contemporary legacies of colonialism in a way that prompts the audience to contemplate elemental aspects of the human condition. Mining imagery and source material from across the globe and drawing upon personal and collective histories, Albert questions how we understand, imagine and construct difference. Certain political themes and visual motifs resurface across his oeuvre, including thematic representations of the ‘outsider’ and the target motif of concentric circles. Albert’s technique is distinctly contemporary, displacing traditional Australian Aboriginal aesthetics with a kind of urban conceptuality.
Born 1933, Adelaide, Australia
Sydney Ball is widely considered a pioneer in Australian Abstraction, and his long and impressive career has had a formidable impact on Australian art. Definitively a colourist, Ball spent his formative years living and studying in New York at the Art Students League under Theodoros Stamos, one of the ‘irascible eighteen’, which also included Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock. Ball’s oeuvre is expansive and diverse, with each series marked by a monumental and dynamic change. All, however, share the prerogative to investigate the possibilities of colour and form; from the lyrical abstraction that defines his Stain paintings to the architectonic coloured forms of his famed Modular works. At the age of 83, Ball continues to ambitiously push the limits of his own practice to greater heights while also having significant relevance as a contemporary Australian artist.
Born 1961, Brisbane, Australia
The paintings of Karen Black explore loaded social and individual narratives that blend the historical with the mythical, traversing the complex interchange between the personal and the political. Dealing predominantly with themes of devastation, Black’s imagery deftly employs a highly referential symbolism through its cast of characters and scenes, recognisable from well-known tragedies and emblematic tales of separation, isolation, loss and violence. An evident tension is present between these depictive elements of her works; the allegorical stories they tell are linked inextricably to their processes of creation, while the images themselves are captured somewhere between figuration and abstraction.
Born 1959, Melbourne, Australia
Polly Borland’s practice was established in the late 1980s by major portrait commissions and extraordinary reportage. Since 2000 the photographer’s art projects, exhibitions and publications have recorded documentary, collaborative and created subjects. Before focusing on art projects, Borland shot regularly for numerous UK and US publications including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Independent and Dazed and Confused. In 1994 she won the prestigious John Kobal Photographic Portrait Award.
Born 1951, Canberra, Australia
Based in the United Kingdom and Europe, Tony Clark exhibits regularly in Australia and Europe. Known predominantly for his vivid, endless landscapes, Clark is interested in the relationship between images and the architectural settings in which they are displayed. The geographical location of the image is not determined by Clark, but rather by the viewer. Clark's artistic process has developed over time and in 2002 and he began working specifically with a four-colour palette. Clark has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally with a career spanning more than 3 decades.
Born 1982, Sydney, Australia
Gregory Hodge constructs kaleidoscopic abstractions from a mélange of source material including painted abstract motifs on drafting film, coloured paper and masking tape, before rendering these collages in paint. Using complex and systematic technical processes such as trompe-l’oeil, cast shadows and manipulating paints' translucent and opaque qualities, the paintings playfully mimic the physical fragility and provisional nature of the source material. This visual trickery within the abstract picture space presents the viewer with multiple visual experiences.
Born 1973, Bendigo, Australia
The work of Sam Jinks draws on our shared fascination with the human figure, a fascination that has long pervaded the history of Western sculpture. Constructed from silicone, fibreglass, resin and often using human hair, the viewer becomes suspended in an intense moment of intimacy with the work, a moment that cannot ordinarily be achieved amongst strangers. As we stare at the figures frozen in states of vulnerability – be it babyhood, old age or quiet contemplation – we glimpse our own vulnerabilities reflected back.
Born 1972, Perth, Australia
Through a practice of painting and printmaking, Joanna Lamb’s hard-edged and highly refined geometric compositions depict spaces of (sub)urbanity as “an ongoing exploration of the idea of home.” Stylistically, the paintings waver between realism and abstraction. Generic domestic interiors and suburban sites such as homes, highways and airports are reduced to flat blocks of colour divested of linear perspective and often repeated in tonal variations. This reduction and repetition draws from the symmetric perfection of real estate advertisements and points to the aesthetic monotony of the Australian suburban landscape. An uncanny anonymity issues from Lamb’s purification of colour, dimensionality and form as everyday environments seem at once familiar and unfamiliar. Moreover, the surface of the paintings, seemingly untouched by the artist’s hand, effuses a clinical objectivity that is mirrored in the empty, unpeopled scenes. As a result the works omit a feeling of disconnectedness, impartial to the inclusion of human interaction.
Born 1973, Adelaide, Australia
Sam Leach’s works are informed by art history, science, and philosophy. He combines the poles of the metaphorical and the empirical, the analogous and the objective, in an ongoing investigation of the relationship between humans and animals. With a distanced, scientific approach, the artist draws connections between data visualisation techniques, semiotics, and formalist abstraction that results in a kind of reductive aesthetics. While the delicate interplay between formalist figuration and modernist abstraction in his paintings operates on one level to distance the viewer – to encourage them to look objectively at the subjects – on another level each animal depicted has a symbolic currency that resonates with the audience on a personal level. The paintings extend their focus from animal life to the spectrum of all life itself, encouraging the viewer to contemplate their role as living creatures on this shared earth.
Born 1970, Hamilton, New Zealand
Based in Melbourne, Richard Lewer exhibits regularly in Australia and New Zealand. He is known for his video and animation, paintings, and delicately beautiful drawings, which evocatively rework some of life’s less pleasant elements – crime scenes, illness, horror movies and extreme events. The work is accessible and familiar, with a critical edge that probes what is beautiful and sinister about our society without injecting a moralising tone or political message. Lewer’s focus is, however, less concerned with telling the concrete facts of a case. Instead, his work explores the way that places can become repositories for the psychic residue of extreme events, painful activities or our deepest fears.
EX DE MEDICI
Born 1959, Riverina District, Australia
Although continually shifting in subject matter, eX de Medici’s intricate watercolours form ongoing interrogations of the politics of power and the relationship between life and death. Beneath their beautiful ornamentations, themes of violence and destruction are orchestrated through the imagery of firearms, helmets and other military paraphernalia wreathed by organic detritus. This unique aesthetic draws from the artist’s background as a tattooist and recalls the vanitas tradition. De Medici’s miniaturist technique and technical virtuosity invites close examination through which the spectator becomes caught in a paradoxical vacillation between the beautiful and the repulsive.
Born 1977, Sydney, Australia
Alex Seton’s artistic practice incorporates photography, video, sculpture and installation to investigate the complex relationship between form and substance. He is best known for his beguiling marble carving, applying his refined craftsmanship to unexpected forms. Blankets, hoodies, inflatables and national flags are rendered in stone, invoking a somatic paradox. By infusing the rich heritage of Classical statuary with contemporary concerns, Seton gives weight to the issues we face here and now.
Born 1974, Hobart, Australia
The multidisciplinary practice of Sydney-based artist Tim Silver is inextricably hinged on time, both conceptually and materially. Working across sculpture, photography and installation, Silver explores the interface between time and decay, particularly in relation to the human body. His sculptures are often made from entropic materials, such as fairy floss and putty, which begin to decompose from the moment of their assembly. By photographically capturing these stages of decay, the artist presents us with a microcosmic image of our own inevitable trajectory towards death. There is a paradoxical beauty that emerges from within the warped and crumbled forms, precipitating a poignant awareness of the preciousness and fragility of human life.
Born 1974, Sydney, Australia
Darren Sylvester's multi disciplinary practice involves photography, sculpture, video, music and performance. Usually involving a wide range of pop culture elements and narratives, each medium is given a high-end production sheen or twist to be transformed into a discussion on contemporary ennui, pathos and mortality that is direct, yet inherent with levels of complexity.
Born 1976, Japan
The art of Hiromi Tango evolves organically from one project to the next, developing complex dialogues with environment and audience. Tango’s large-scale ‘performative installations’ are premised on the notion of interactivity, forging individual, social and cultural connections. Reacting to an age in which human relationships are being eclipsed by the globalisation and virtualisation of communication, the artist’s practice is often collaborative, performative and site-specific. Her immersive installations comprise vibrant sculptural accumulations of donated objects, materials and stories. They become mnemonic traces of feelings and interactions, and the ensuing catalysis of emotion and recognition forms the affective crux of her art. In this way, although Tango’s works are highly personal and autobiographical, they can also be read as universal tropes of collective experience.