Author Archives: Brenda May Gallery

Emily McIntosh and Kevin McKay, on view starting 17 March

On view from Tuesday 17 March
to Saturday 11 April 2015

“Again using glass, this work continues my examination of cellular replication and scientific innovations being used to create new biological materials.”

▶ KEVIN MCKAY, Glory Days: South Sydney Studies
“This series of small paintings explores the unique urban landscape surrounding Brenda May Gallery. They were painted en plein-air and in the studio during the summer of 2014-15.”

EVENT REMINDER: This Saturday 14 March from 3-5pm we are holding a special event to launch the book ‘Howl for a Black Cockatoo‘, part of the exhibition Small Publishers, curated by Akky van Ogtrop – we hope you can join us.

▶ Click here to view The Quarterly, volume 1, number 2.



7f91c1b8-3e5d-4a8e-86e9-0739cf3ea8c4RESOLVING RUINS
curated by Screen Space
for Black Box Projects
17 March to 11 April

The artists in this exhibition all take the detritus of human activity as their starting point and transform and resolve this in unique and often mesmerising ways. Videos by David Mutch, Leela Schauble, Zoe Scoglio, and Polly Stanton.

Leela Schauble, ‘Synthetic Species Motion Study No. 7′ 2013, HD video, edition of 4. Animation: Axe Motion Graphics. Sound: Mitchell Kurz

Nicholas Tory – Make

I am returning to the starting point of my artistic practice with the first in a new series of intimate, highly detailed small scale video installations – ‘Make‘.

Peering through a crack between two white cupboard-like doors, perfectly framed by the 4mm opening that the viewer peers through, is a miniature world, floating in a small black void. The viewer sees a man endlessly working. He is pedalling a machine that collects and processes his sweat. The processed perspiration travels through the machine, is fed to an organism, helping it to grow, bloom and then eventually die. The seamless loop is only 20 seconds long, but the mesmerising sequence is designed and built to continue forever.

After many years working in the artistic and cultural events sphere, directing award-winning projection shows like VividSydney 2012′s ‘City Life’ on Customs House, and 2014′s ‘Urban Tree Project’ on the CTA building, Martin Place, I am exploring a new direction. My hand-drawn seamlessly looping 20 second video animation ‘Make’ is designed to be engaged with for a fleeting moment or indeed an entire day. The work is installed in a custom-designed white video box. A miniature computer controls a custom programmed infinite loop animation that is projected onto the internal wall of the narrow space inside. While this new gallery work will be made in parallel with my collaborative, large scale public projection and light art practice, this new hand made animation explores a much more personal range of themes. The profundity and futility of work, the way we define our lives by our work, and our perception of time, are the core themes of ‘Make‘.

- Nicholas Tory, 2015

Al Munro + Mylyn Nguyen in Australian Financial Review Magazine

Artworks by Al Munro and Mylyn Nguyen were featured in the article “Objects: Hand-crafted homewares” by Frances Mocnik in the recent Australian Financial News Magazine. The works photographed include Al Munro’s ‘Homage to the Everyday (Morandi and Hanssen Pigott)’ and Mylyn Nguyen’s ‘the stag beetle + the green teal leaf’ from 2014, along with a piece from the work ‘Cars’. You can still find similar work available for purchase from the Gallery Stockroom, both online and in person.


Peter Tilley ‘In Search of the Sea’ acquired by Hunter Valley Private Hospital

b62bb606-7432-4596-b387-55b5156a49fdToday the Hunter Valley Private Hospital will be unveiling their recent acquisition of Peter Tilley’s 2012 sculpture, ‘In Search of the Sea’. This imposing sculpture will have pride of place, installed on the front lawn of the hospital.

Peter Tilley will be exhibiting a new body of work from 27 October to 21 November 2015. Sign up here to receive a preview of this upcoming show.

Peter Tilley
‘In Search of the Sea’ 2012
cast iron, Corten steel
186 x 60 x 124cm
Shown installed at Sculpture by the Sea – Bondi 2012

‘Howl for a Black Cockatoo’ by Gwen Harrison and Sue Anderson

Howl for a Black Cockatoo is a limited edition of 25 handcrafted books produced collaboratively by Sue Anderson and Gwen Harrison. The work explores the experiences of the hundreds of young girls who were held on Cockatoo Island in the Industrial School between 1871 – 1888.

The island, one of many in Sydney Harbour, is harsh, barren, and treeless – exposed to all weather. It is a misshapen site: a formation of sandstone rock emerging from the deep harbour that convicts quarried to construct their own prison on the escarpment and dry docks for ships below. It seems an unlikely place to have sent children, and yet young orphaned and neglected girls, some of whom were babies, were kept there.


In 1871 Cockatoo Island prison was renamed ‘Biloela’ an Industrial School for girls and a separate Reformatory. Ostensibly, the name changing was to protect the children from the stigma of having been at ‘Cockatoo’. In reality, the renaming was intended to divert public attention from the fact that children were being sent to a notorious prison site. The appalling conditions there were deemed unfit for some of the worst felons in the colony who had just been moved to a new prison on the edge of Sydney town.

These children had already been stigmatised the moment they were ‘charged’ with being neglected. A public inquiry in 1873 into ‘Biloela’ outlined the brutal, inhumane treatment the children received from all those in authority, the management, and those employed for their care and teaching.

In ‘The Fatal Shore’ Robert Hughes wrote ‘crimes die with their witnesses and so, no doubt, did most of the crimes against women in the early colony’. The story of the Biloela girls is scarcely known in Australia. When researching their history we constantly wondered how these voiceless children fared after surviving Cockatoo. On reading a recently released report, by the Government’s current Royal Commission into Child Sexual Abuse in Australian Institutions, the Parramatta Girl’s Home/Training School was named as one of the worst. This is the place where the girls from Biloela were sent, and as history has shown, the pattern of abuse continued.


Many of the children carried the scars from these institutions on their damaged souls; passing them on from generation to generation. This history forms part of the fabric of Australian society today. It is difficult to express the nature of the overwhelming wrongs these girls endured. Eventually their story was recontextualised into another world called Wonderland.

The books are comprised of original sugarlift and aquatint etchings on Magnani ‘Revere’ 100% cotton rag paper, with letterpress printing on a Potter Proof Press, handset Canson Lead type, various wood types. Abstract leather binding in black kangaroo, with sugarlift etching on Magnani ‘Revere’. The work was completed in January 2015.

Currently on view as part of Small Publishers curated by Akky van Ogtrop.

Now on view: Janet Parker-Smith, Small Publishers, and Nicholas Tory until 14 March

We are pleased to present you with the exhibition catalogues for Questionable Intentions by Janet Parker-Smith and Small Publishers curated by Akky van Ogtrop

The exhibitions will be on view until Saturday 14 March. We will be holding a book launch on the afternoon of the 14th from 3-5pm for the beautiful artist book Howl for a Black Cockatoo by Gwen Harrison and Sue Anderson.

▶ Click here to view the catalogue for Janet Parker-Smith
▶ Click here to view the catalogue for Small Publishers


Nicholas Tory – Make

Also on view is the video installation Make by Nicholas Tory. Secreted away in a cupboard in the Gallery, this digitally hand-drawn film is visible through a crack in the door. Peep inside to catch this lively little animation.


Your personal invitation to our February exhibitions

On view from Tuesday 17 February
to Saturday 14 March 2015

▶ JANET PARKER-SMITH, Questionable Intentions
“My recent work extends my fascination with humans and nature and their boundless capacity for re-invention and rejuvenation. Using the transmutation of humans and animals, morphology and the desolation of our environment, the work explores the human collective chaotic and purposeless existence on the universe.”


Please join us for “An Afternoon of brouhaha”
Saturday 14 March 3-5pm

To launch the book, Howl for a Black Cockatoo,
by Gwen Harrison and Sue Anderson

SMALL PUBLISHERS, curated by Akky van Ogtrop
Artists’ books can be handcrafted or commercially printed; unique, or in limited or unlimited editions. Forms range from the traditional codex to sculptural works, or they may have audio, video, installation, online and performance components. Many artists’ books are self-published, or are produced by small presses or by artists’ groups or collectives, most often in limited editions.




17 February to 14 March

Locked away in a dark cupboard and only visible through a peephole, is Nicholas Tory’s miniature video installation, ‘Make’, presenting the infinite life cycle of a worker and his creation.

Nicholas Tory, ‘Make’ 2014, concept drawing

A selection of work from Sculpture Park

Sculpture Park continues the tradition of opening the Gallery year with an exhibition showcasing contemporary sculpture and introducing new artists alongside our represented artists. This year our curatorial focus is outdoor sculpture, with a small selection of significant works intended for display out in the elements. Alongside these major works, we are also exhibiting maquettes and smaller indoor sculptures with additional details available on our website.

The 2015 edition includes sculptures by Senden Blackwood, Jim Croke, Ray Haydon, Dion Horstmans, Dan Lorrimer, Patsy Payne, Morgan Shimeld, Peter Tilley, and Jacek Wańkowski.

▶ Click here to view The Quarterly, volume 1, number 1.


Invitation to Sculpture 2015 + Daniel Connell in Black Box Projects

Sculpture Park continues the tradition of opening the Gallery year with an exhibition showcasing contemporary sculpture, this edition will feature artworks that are capable of withstanding the elements.

Also on view will be Daniel Connell’s film ‘Obsolete’ in the Black Box Projects space. In the work, a figure moves through the rainy forest, her dress dissolving as she slowly retreats into the landscape.

The work will be on show from Wednesday 28 January when the 2 Danks Street complex will reopen with the combined galleries Gala Night – hope you can make it.

▶ Click here to read The Quarterly, volume 1, number 1.


Brenda May Gallery presents Robert Boynes at Art Stage Singapore, 22 to 25 January 2015


This is our third year of participating in Art Stage Singapore, again joining a select group of Australian galleries in this international platform. We will be exhibiting senior artist Robert Boynes with his vibrant multi-panel installation ‘Long Take – Slow Dissolve’.


Across fifteen panels, ‘Long Take – Slow Dissolve’ encapsulates the aesthetic and pulse of a contemporary, urban environment. Though the artist uses layers of iconography that are site-specific, the work evokes the overall energy of the big city, imaging no particular place and therefore lending itself to reflect any modern metropolis.

▶ Click here to read the essay about ‘Long Take – Slow Dissolve’ in The Quarterly volume 1, number 1.