Cybele Cox, Dean Cross, Chris Dolman, EJ Son, Melanie Jame Wolf The Stand UpsDates: 2 March - 2 April 2022
Curated by Elyse Goldfinch, The Stand Ups considers how artists use humour as a methodology to subvert forms of power, language and self.
Jokes have long played a fundamental civic function: to ridicule the powerful is a universal desire. In the current political climate, comedy and satire are readily used as forms of communication, entertainment and public address. Humour can also be inherently internalised and self-deprecating, operating as a coping mechanism to deal with anxiety, failure and loss. This exhibition engages the complexity of comedy though its rhetoric, delivery and form.
Cybele Cox holds an MFA from the Sydney College of Art, and a BFA from University of New South Wales Art & Design. Her work has been part of curated exhibitions across Australia including: Nothing Human is Alien to Me, curated by Elyse Goldfinch, Ideas Platform, Artspace Sydney; Romance Died Romantically, curated by Amy Marjoram at Strange Neighbour, Melbourne; and the Australian Ceramics Triennale. In 2017, Cox presented Ornamental Hallucination 1, a significant solo exhibition at Firstdraft, Sydney (Australia). After completing a residency at The Vienna Academy of Fine Arts (Austria) in 2017, Cox exhibited in Vienna and was a recipient of the 2018 One Year Studio Artist Program at Artspace, Sydney. She will participate in the 2022 edition of the Australian Ceramics Triennale (July 2022).
Dean Cross was born and raised on Ngunnawal/Ngambri Country and a Worimi man through his paternal bloodline. He is a paratactical artist interested in collisions of materials, ideas and histories. He is motivated by the understanding that his practice sits within a continuum of the oldest living culture on Earth – and enacts First Nations sovereignty through expanded contemporary art methodologies. He hopes to traverse the poetic and the political in a nuanced choreography of form and ideas. Dean has exhibited widely across the Australian continent and beyond, and his work is held by major institutions including The Art Gallery of South Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria. Dean Cross is represented by Yavuz Gallery, Sydney & Singapore.
Chris Dolman’s cross-disciplinary studio based practice is imbued with incongruent and self-deprecating humour. This is not to say that it is not also sincere. Using painting, objects, and video, he creates installations that draw from personal experience, art history and popular culture, in order to explore contemporary ideas of pathos and loss; upend notions of personal and artistic failure; and interrogate the Western art canon. Dolman’s practice-led research uses humour as both a filter through which to see the world, and a device to poke fun at himself in the role of an artist, whilst exploring universal anxieties implicit in living in the world today. Dolman holds an MFA (Research) from Sydney College of Arts, University of Sydney, 2018, and a BFA (First Class Honours) from the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, 2010. In 2019, he won the Fauvette Loureiro Memorial Artist’s Traveling Scholarship. He received the Dyason Bequest from the Art Gallery of NSW in 2017. ArtStart and New Work grants from the Australia Council for the Arts in 2013 and 2011. He was the recipient of the Wallara Travelling Scholarship, George Hicks award, and the NGV Women’s Association Award, VCA 2009. Dolman has undertaken international residencies at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Villa Belleville Paris, and Frans Masereel Centrum, Belgium. National residencies include Hill End, Bundanon Trust, BigCi NSW, Parramatta Artist Studios, and Artspace Sydney. He has presented work in solo and group exhibitions in Australia and overseas.
EJ Son is a Korean Australian multi-functional artist, predominantly working with mixed media sculpture and installation. They are fascinated in the relationship between human and inanimate objects, how they reveal the failure of the binary we are made to operate in and to examine the complexity of human desires. Son uses provocation and humour to debilitate such tension and attempts to arouse curiosity from the viewers by rupturing the familiar, creating space for the new to occur. They make a wide range of references from personal narratives, mythologies, gender identity, sex and internet culture. They completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts (First Class Honours) at Sydney College of the Arts in 2018, was awarded the 2020 Emerging Artist prize from the Gosford Regional Art Gallery and was commissioned by MAMA Albury to make Titty tower (2021) to exhibit as part of the SIMMER exhibition, 2020. Upcoming exhibitions include Cool Change Contemporary, Perth; 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Sydney and The Lock Up, Newcastle.
Melanie Jame Wolf is an artist who works solo and with friends. They make interdisciplinary pieces about power and flows of immaterial capital. They examine these economies and entanglements through projects for theatre, gallery, and screen spaces. Coming from a background in contemporary performance, Wolf works mainly with text, sound, moving image, choreography, & textiles. Their work is concerned with the poetics and problematics of ghosts, class, pop, sensuality, gender, narratology, and the body as a political riddle. Wolf pursues an ongoing interest in analysing the idea of performance-as-labour in artistic, popular entertainment, and everyday contexts. Their work often focuses on specific performance techniques, for example: impersonation, rehearsal, or stand up - using this strategy as a lens to analyse broader political currents wherein performance is understood as a means of survival and an engine for fluidity of subjectivity. Leaning into a hyper-stylised pop aesthetic, they are invested in humour as a strategy for critical possibility, and in working with language in subliminal and surprising ways. Their work has been presented at: HAU - Hebbel am Ufer; Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art; nGbK; The National 2019: New Australian Art biennial at Carriageworks; Festival of Live Art, Melbourne; VAEFF Film Festival, NYC; Arts Santa Monica, Barcelona; Schwules Museum, Berlin; Sophiensaele, Berlin; Münchener Kammerspiele; Arts House, Melbourne; & Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane.
Elyse Goldfinch is a curator and writer living on Gadigal Country, Sydney. She is Associate Curator, Artspace, and Assistant Curator, Australian Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia (2022). Goldfinch has worked across a variety of non-profit and independent arts organisations with a career focus on advocacy, collaboration, exchange and support for artists across generations. She is on the Board of Directors, Firstdraft (2022–24), Coordinator, Contemporary Arts Organisations Australia, and is a judge of the 2022 Rookwood Cemetery Sculpture Prize. At Artspace, she is curator of the Ideas Platform and recently co-curated exhibitions 52 ARTISTS 52 ACTIONS (2018–19) and NSW Visual Arts Emerging Fellowship (2019–22). Her curatorial practice draws on themes relating to failure and resilience, language and humour, power and vulnerability. Goldfinch has published widely on contemporary art for Art & Australia, Ocula, un Magazine and Art Collector, as well as for institutions including Artspace; the National Gallery of Australia; Manly Art Gallery & Museum; Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery; and Sutton Gallery. She holds a Bachelor of Art Theory (Honours) from the University of NSW and a Master of Art Curating from The University of Sydney.