Georgia Biggs, David Palliser, Julia Powles and Fairy Turner WonderlustOpening: 3 October 6 - 8 pm Dates: 3 October - 27 October 2018
Text by Peter Westwood
‘Wonderlust’ is a new term, a derivative of a derivative. Its antecedent, wanderlust, is an English word that was originally derived from the German word wandern, meaning to hike, and was associated with late 18th and early 19th Century Romanticism as an expression that embraced a powerful urge for self-development through experiences of the unknown. Appropriately, wonderlust describes the desire to be in a constant state of wonder, a threshold embodying a heightened, transitional sense of anticipation, motivated by the need to escape boredom. In any case, while wanderlust is an attested word within the English language, wonderlust is a term still coming in to being. Language modifies dynamically over time, and therefore, while colloquialisms can encapsulate something specific to an era, idioms of this type can either adhere to language over time, or simply fall away. Similarly, this is the way that ideas can form or dissolve.
This project partly began through associations around the meanings of the two words through an intermingling of the terms, where a transitional passage between the words seemed to hold or imply a certain zone or domain. This passage between the two words suggests a shifting restlessness and could be thought of, analogously, as conjuring what may be at the centre of an art practice.
In this exhibition we are considering ideas around art practices and their dynamics, reflecting on how ideas form in current times. The artists in this exhibition employ methods and gestures that are transitional and at times provisional, and are represented in this exhibition through some of the cyclical thinking informing and underpinning the creative impulses in their various practices.
Restlessness or change are more often than not at the centre of an art practice, and equally perhaps at the centre of our contemporaneity, and this is what we have reflected on.
Art develops in what could be described as a network, as much contemporary art of today analyses the networked intersections of technology, progress politics, culture and expression. Cultural theorist Boris Groys refers to this state as a ‘discussion of art flowing’, a constant re-forming of vantages pre-occupied with the present (Groys, 2016, p 2008), formed through an ever-changing culture of what he refers to as ‘repetitive immediacy’ (Groys, 2006), with the sense that transition or perpetual change are at the centre of our times.
Throughout the past century artists consistently formed imaginaries to challenge and go beyond or outside various socio-cultural boundaries. However, the significant difference in our time is that artists increasingly form imaginaries in a society that can be considered as an ever-changing and fluid entity with little ‘fixed’ awareness. Within an artist’s practice an approach that is both specific and variable could be thought of as a type of creative wonderlust, where a heightened obsessiveness may drive change as a fundamental condition within which to imagine.
This project brings together artists who work through perspectives that are informed through a restlessness with the limitations and singularities of a specific medium or style. The artists chosen for this project work within the spirit of perpetual change and flux, either re-forming a principal medium, like painting, or working through methods that extend beyond the use of the one material in order to create a dynamic loop through and outside that medium, to constantly examine, probe and renew their ideas. This changing approach may also not simply shape through the desire to foster revitalization, but could possibly be a way of forming a type of ongoing instability at the centre of their work, evading stasis and addressing the question: how can the renewal of creative potential for the artist and viewer form within a practice informed by the experience of perpetual change?
In order to deepen our awareness of the connections between medium, experiment and art practice, one of the central contexts of this project has been to select artists working in a manner that has unpredictability and instability at the centre of their work through either fragmentation or juxtaposition, expansions of the notion of one medium, or through divergences into various mediums or methods. Each of these artists are pre-occupied with the notion of being absorbed by the tensions, conflicts and limitations of medium and style.
Groys, B., (2016) In the Flow, Verso, London, UK.
Groys, B., (2009) Comrades of Time, e-flux journal #11.
Smith, T., & Groys, B., p.1. (2006) ‘Contemporary Art and Contemporaneity’ published in Critical Inquiry, Vol 32, Number 4, University of Chicago Press, p. 681 – 707.
Georgia Biggs held her first solo exhibition, ‘Out of the Blue’ at Five Walls Gallery, Melbourne in 2018. Her practice is primarily centred on painting and drawing, and is informed by gestural, or direct painting practices. Georgia’s work was most recently included in ‘Outside In’ (2018), Block Projects, Melbourne and ‘The Colour, The Shape’ (2017) at NKN Gallery, Melbourne.
Georgia completed a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) Degree (2016) and an Honours Fine Art Degree (1st) (2017) at RMIT University.
David Palliser has held 25 solo exhibitions in Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra, his most recent being Deep Sneeze (2018) at Fort Delta, Melbourne and Autumn’s Atom at Gallery 9 (2017), Sydney.
Group exhibitions have included & ‘Biider Bilder’; (2017) and ‘Kippenberger Salon’ (2014) at Neon Parc Melbourne, ‘HyperHyper’ (2016) at Michael Reid, Berlin, Melbourne Now (2013) National Gallery of Victoria, and ‘Imagine’ (2006) Heide Museum of Modern Art.
David’s practice centres on painting, collage and drawing, and sound performance. David is a founding member of the sound performance groups The Charles Ives Singers and the Donkey’s Tale, performing nationally and internationally. David approaches the various aspects of his practice openly, often locating content through process and free association.
David’s paintings are included in the permanent collections of the Australian National Gallery, The National Gallery of Victoria, The John McBride Collection, The Phillip Morris Collection, Horsham City Art Gallery, The Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, The Australian Taxation Office and the Macquarie Bank Collection.
David’s most recent overseas artist residencies were undertaken in Berlin (2016), awarded by the Victorian College of the Arts, the Leipzig International Studio Program, Leipzig (2015) and the Power Studio Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2009).
David completed a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) Degree (1980) at RMIT University, and a Post Graduate Diploma of Fine Art (1982) at the Victorian College of the Arts.
Julia Powles most recent solo exhibitions ‘Pluto in Capricorn’ (2017) and ‘My Father was a Rock Star’ (2016) were held respectively, at NKN Gallery, and Bus Projects Melbourne.
Some recent group exhibitions have included ‘Outside In’ (2018) at Blockprojects, Melbourne, ‘The Confessional I’ (2017) at Mailbox Artspace, Melbourne and ‘Incidents Above a Bar: Asylum’, (curated by Elizabeth Newman and David Palliser) at The Alderman, Melbourne, and ‘Asteroid’ (curated by Anna Roland) at Der Spinneri Gallery, Leipzig Germany.
Julia’s practice involves painting, drawing, collage, sculpture, and curating. Her work forms through a gestural abstraction shaped through subjective association, but can equally involve conceptual art practices and gestures. Julia’s practice is diverse, with an overarching interest in narrative.
Her most recent curatorial projects include ‘Exchange Value: when an artist is employed to be an artist’ (2015 - 18), where artist Carolyn Eskdale worked in Powles’s apartment one day per week, employed to make site specific art, ‘Infinite Delay (Spending time in the present)’ (2015) at Kings Artist Run, Melbourne (a project examining how time is experienced in the 21st Century), ‘Limitless City: abstraction and authenticity’ (2014) three curated exhibitions examining the re-emergence of abstraction in contemporary art practice against modernist concepts of authenticity, and ‘My House is Too Small’, an ongoing series of artist residencies conducted over a period of 6 months in Powles’ apartment.
Since 2001, Julia has held four Australia Council Grants for a number of projects, three Arts Victoria Grants and two City of Melbourne Arts Grants. She was inaugural winner of the Rupert Bunny Fellowship New Work Commission awarded by the City of Port Phillip (2006), and undertook a residency at the Leipzig International Atelier Program, Leipzig (2015), and also completed an artist residency at East China Normal University, Shanghai China (2010).
Some of Julia’s most recent writing includes ‘Vacations in Time’, catalogue essay accompanying the exhibition ‘James Morrison: Re-imagining Papua New Guinea’ at Cairns Regional Gallery (2016), ‘Infinite Delay (spending time in the present)’, Kings Artist Run, Melbourne (2015), ‘The Unfinished Archive (or the pleasure of looking through other people’s things)’ Art Monthly, Issue 277 (2015), ‘Even in Arcadia’, catalogue essay accompanying the exhibition ‘Matthew Berka: Karkarook’ at Kings Artist Run, Melbourne (2014), ‘The Susan Hilton Moment’, catalogue essay accompanying the exhibition ‘Jennifer Mills: In the Echo Chamber’ at Darren Knight Gallery, Sydney (2014), ‘Mortality’, The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 30 Year Project (2014), ‘The Past is Easy’, Kings Artist Run (2013), ‘Maximum Effect with Minimum Means; John Dunkley-Smith: Perspectives for conscious alterations in everyday life’, The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 30 Year Project (2013), ‘Image Codes, Art about Fashion (1985): The FDC and the ‘Precocious Polemics of Fashion’ The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 30 Year Project (2013), ‘Mike Stevenson & Ronnie van Hout: Premillenial, signs of the soon coming storm’, The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 30 Year Project (2013) and ‘At the beginning’, initially, a catalogue essay to accompany the exhibition Start at Blindside ARI (2012)
Julia’s works are represented in the permanent collections of Artbank, Mornignton
Peninsula Regional Gallery, The Rupert Bunny Foundation, City of Port Philip
Collection, The Hutchin’s Foundation, Legal Aid Victoria and The National Australia Bank Collection.
Julia completed a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) Degree (1990) at the Victorian College of the Arts, Year 5 Drawing (Hons equiv), University of Fine Arts, Granada, Spain (1991), Graduate Diploma (Fine Art), Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne (1996), Master of Arts by Research, University of Melbourne (2007), Diploma of Education, School of Education, RMIT University (2010) and a Master of Art Curatorship, University of Melbourne (2013)
Fairy Turner recently held her first solo exhibition, ‘Crooked Timber’ (2018) supported through the Kyneton Artist Residency / The Macfarlane Fund in Stockroom, Kyneton. Although developing through a long and sustained interest in painting and assemblage, Fairy’s practice is currently centred in sculpture, forming through idiosyncratic and compromised forms.
Fairy is included in the ‘Tarrawarra Biennial 2018: From Will To Form’ at the Tarrawarra Museum Of Art (2018), ‘Contemporary Sculpture in Context’ Stable Artspace, Brisbane (2018) and ‘Archaeologies of the personal’ in the Collingwood Arts Precinct (2018). Prior to this Fairy’s work was also included in ‘Perceptual Abstraction’ (2017) The Honeymoon Suite, Melbourne, ‘The Macfarlane Fund’ (2017) Stockroom, Kyneton, ‘The Colour, the Shape’ (2017) NKN Gallery, Melbourne.
Fairy was awarded a funded artist residency by The Macfarlane Fund (2017) to be undertaken while resident in Kyneton, Victoria. Fairy completed a Diploma of Art at Chelsea College of Art, University of the Arts, London (2009), a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) Degree (2014) and an Honours Fine Art Degree (1st) (2017) at RMIT University.