March 2014 exhibitions

Please join us for drinks with the Artists
Wednesday 26 March 5:30-7:30pm

▶ NICOLE WELCH, Apparitions
“In this series of photographs of media installations in the Australian landscape, projected images emerge from the terrain and escarpment, appearing and receding simultaneously.”

▶ PETER TILLEY, Figure in the landscape
“The inclusion of the figure in the landscape can add a powerful element to a three dimensional statement… The language of figurative realism is simply, for me, the most effective way of portraying what it is to be human.”


dlux2dLux Media Arts presents ‘Scanlines Remix’
Screening 2: Portraiture
curated by Sarah Vandepeer
for Black Box Projects


Screening 2 of ‘Scanlines Remix’, features the work of Denis Beaubois, Ray Harris, Kate Murphy and James Newitt. Plus join us this Saturday 22 March at 2pm for a talk by the curator, Sarah Vandepeer.

Ray Harris, ‘She Blows Blizzards’ 2013, HD digital video – 3:03mins, edition of 6




Al Munro’s ‘Molecular Measures’ Series

Artist Statement for ‘Molecular Measures’ series for In Tandem:

These works are the result of a number of discussions with Waratah Lahy about the areas in which our interests connect. Waratah was working on a series of paintings of street and garden scenes framed and distorted by ornate window panes. These formed patterned grids, very similar to the molecular and crystallographic grids which have informed my work for the last few years. We chose to begin our In Tandem works using a crytsalline shape from a series of brooches I has made in 2012, and to focus on ideas of grids, structure and space.


Left and Right: Al Munro, ‘fictitious mineral brooch’ 2013, paint marker, glitter, card, felt on metal brooch back

My works began with a number of drawings, but soon moved into a constructed form using the balsa wood to allow me to explore ideas of structure and construction. The resultant works make use of stripes that mimic a scientific colour code or system of measurement and make reference to the constructed-ness of a scientific understanding of the natural world. The works reference diagrams, but replace the conventional black and white line work with brightly coloured, glittering stripes, reinvesting the forms with some of the variety and vivdness present in natural specimens.


Selected works from Al Munro’s ‘Molecular Measures’ series, 2014

Dianne Gall, Linda van Niekerk and Scanlines Remix (Screening 1) until 22 March 2014

Employing cinematic viewpoints, Dianne Gall’s ‘Disconnected’ presents suspenseful interiors on the cusp of action. These lived-in spaces, saturated with mid-century furnishings and iconic portraits by Vladimir Tretchikoff, accompany protagonists with silhouettes that display the 1950’s resurgence of femininity. The tension in Gall’s work lies in the suggestion that something is about to happen. The audience is left to imagine panning up to reveal the woman’s face and wondering if the woman will sense another’s presence and suddenly turn around or to visualise entering this still, dimly lit scene.

dianne_gallLinda van Niekerk’s aptly titled survey show, ‘10 Years On’, has been curated in the form of a timeline, allowing audiences to see the changes and developments in her striking designs from 2004 to 2014, as well as points in which she has harked back to previous ideas. Reflected in the materials used, the forms created and the titles chosen, van Niekerk has often used the natural world as a point of inspiration, taking elements such as leaves, clouds, rain and drift wood to create simple and elegant shapes that either follow the form of the body or display incredible versatility.

linda_van_niekerkThis first screening of ‘Scanlines Remix’, curated by Sarah Vandepeer and presented by dLux MediaArts, features five videos ranging from just over a minute to more than 16 minutes. Highlights include Fabian Astore’s mesmerising ‘The Threshold’, (image below) which sees the spiritual aura of a Turkish mosque unsettled by the uninhibited play of children, the presence of which is visually left lingering in the form of swirling dark smoke. Sue Healey’s ‘Reading the Body’ allows the fluid lines of an impossibly elastic dancer’s body appear human via the animation of her flexing bones, pumping veins and physical restrictions. Also in this screening is Dani Marti’s ‘Butterfly Man’, (image below) an engrossing and powerful acknowledgement of bodily decay in the face of addiction.



Meetings with ‘In Tandem’ Artists

Over the past few weeks, I have organised and participated in a number of meetings with the talented artists working together for In Tandem.

Most recently Melinda Le Guay and Leslie Oliver came in to the Gallery to discuss how they plan to use the various materials that they have collected for each other. Revealing plans for bound thorns, horizontal sticks, embellished embossed paper and box frames, Le Guay and Oliver’s contribution is shaping up to be a series of framed collections of objects.


Leslie Oliver, Brenda May and Melinda Le Guay discussing their collaboration. Linda van Niekerk’s exhibition ’10 Years On’ in the background.

A few weekends ago I made a trip to Canberra to visit Waratah Lahy and Al Munro at the Australian National University, where they both work, to take a sneak peek at their work for the exhibition. Discovering that they both work in differing ways, the artists have created separate bodies of work with each other’s aesthetic in mind.


Al Munro and Waratah Lahy taking photograohs of Munro’s works in progress for ‘In Tandem’.

I joined Mylyn Nguyen and Todd Fuller whilst they were being filmed by Emma Conroy for the interview component of a clip focusing on the artists’ collaborative process. During this interview both artists, who are storytellers in their individual practices, revealed to each other for the first time what they see as the narratives of their collaborative sculptures.


Mylyn Nguyen and Todd Fuller being filmed by Emma Conroy

- Olivia Welch



Convergence + Divergence: Focus on Waratah Lahy + Al Munro

Waratah Lahy and Al Munro have been paired together for the exhibition In Tandem, on view from 22 April to 17 May 2014. They were matched due to their shared appreciation for colour and line, as well as their complementary fascination with how the world is perceived and is made perceptible. Though abundant in similarities, in this partnership Munro and Lahy are also required to mediate points at which their practices diverge.


Al Munro, ‘Small Blue-Black Mineral Crystal’ 2010, screen print and glitter flocking on Stonehenge paper – unique (framed), 112 x 76cm

Munro uses the scientific study of crystallography to create appealing patterns and structures. This interest in finding simple shapes to give form to complex data can be comparably found in various fields of study. Examples include the Chinese tangram, a psychological tool for examining spatial reasoning and logic via its ability to be reconfigured in thousands of ways, and the Japanese geometrical practice of sangaku,[i] which is the tradition of hanging tablets with mathematical algorithms comprised of circles, squares and triangles on the roofs of religious buildings. Much like these instances of psychology or mathematics intersecting with the visual, Munro’s last two bodies of work imagine crystallographic data into prismatic or map-like structures using a variety of materials including crochet, glitter flocking and paint markers.


Photographs by Hiroshi Umeoka, found in – Tony Rothman, ‘Japanese Temple Geometry’, Scientific American, (pdf: May, 1998) p 91

Where Munro engages with making the invisible structures and properties of matter visible, Lahy has recently explored obfuscated scenes through the patterned windows of the Musée Carnavalet in Paris. As with many of the Parisian Impressionists, ‘the view from above’ is a vantage that Lahy employs. Having created her 2013 body of work during a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, awarded by The Australia Council, it is not surprising that the gazes encouraged by Haussmann’s[ii] Paris crept into her works. This voyeuristic vantage inspired Claude Monet’s foggy Boulevard de Capucines (1873) and Gustave Caillebotte’s View through a Balcony Grille (1880), where the shadowed foreground creates a distracting frame through which the street is made visible. Both Impressionist artists’ works are heighted by a Japanese inspired shallow depth of field, a trait also characteristic of Lahy’s paintings. Lahy offers a contemporary take on this Parisian obsession, choosing scenes that present the overlooked, allowing play between these aerial or curious viewpoints and a distortion or an obstruction.

Boulevard de Capucines + View through a Balcony Grille

Left: Claude Monet, ’Boulevard de Capucines’ 1873, oil on canvas, 80.3 cm × 60.3cm, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, Missouri. Right: Gustave Caillebotte, ‘View through a Balcony Grille’ 1880, oil on canvas, 65.6 x 54.9 cm, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

Though their collaborative project will ultimately locate points at which their practices intersect, both Lahy and Munro bring with their techniques and ideas distinct and individual stimuli. The navigation of their interests and influences to find a thematic convergence, enhanced by a common fascination of looking beyond simple vision, will undoubtedly culminate in the creation of visually fascinating works.


Waratah Lahy, ‘Carnavalet 2012′, oil on canvas board, 40 x 40cm

[i] Tony Rothman, Japanese Temple Geometry, Scientific American, (pdf: May, 1998) pp85 – 91<>

[ii] Baron Haussmann was the urban planner, commissioned by Napoleon III to renovate Paris in order to compete with the industrialization of England and to make the city easier to control.

February 2014 exhibitions

Please join us for drinks with the Artists
Wednesday 26 February 5:30-7:30pm

▶ DIANNE GALL, Disconnected
“My work derives itself from my personal experiences and observations as a woman in contemporary Australia. I have chosen the filmatic stage to portray my characters, making my own version of Noir – my Femme Noir.”

“My approach to design has evolved since my first exhibition at Brenda May Gallery in 2004, however my desire has always been to create bold sculptural jewellery that sits well on the body. This exhibition will include new work whilst reviewing the work of the past decade, demonstrating an elegant timelessness that transcends fad or fashion.”



murphydLux Media Arts presents
‘Scanlines Remix’
curated by Sarah Vandepeer
for Black Box Projects

The exhibition aims to showcase the dynamism and variety of contemporary video practices and locate them within the recent tradition of Australian media art histories. Embracing current practitioners, the exhibition highlights artists who have Australia-wide and international significance.

Kate Murphy, ‘Cry me a future (Dublin)’ 2006, single channel digital video installation with sound – 12:00mins, edition of 5

Lorraine Guddemi – ’21 Reasons to Repeat Myself’


Lorraine Guddemi – ’21 Reasons to Repeat Myself’

I have always had a  fascination for  ‘powerful’ objects that transcend their materiality, especially tribal, religious, primitive, superstitious, magical and ancestral art.  To create an object in the belief that it will appease an angry God, cure illness or act as a conduit for contacting the dead is a powerful undertaking.  Such objects often bear no relation to western aesthetic ideals and strive to convey intense psychological states, often ugly in there rawness and yet visually and mentally compelling.  Equally others are charming in their naivety and display exquisite detailing and use of materials and sometimes more interestingly they are both beautiful and disturbing and can be described as uncanny.  All of them act as a window into the beliefs and lives of the people who made them.  (My use of the word ‘tribal’ encompasses the above descriptions)

I went to university as a mature student and my interests in psychology and it’s connection to creativity  lead me to pursue a pathway that explored psychology in art.  As at university and now my work always has a personal and psychological starting point and my dissertation centred around Freud and the uncanny and its influences on certain artists work.  Freud’s ideas regarding the uncanny as a repressed primitive part of the human psyche that suddenly surfaces and allows in irrational supernatural and superstitious beliefs intensified my interest in ‘tribal’ objects.

The psychological starting point for 21 Reasons to Repeat Myself began with the conflicting emotions that surfaced when I left the UK and moved to Sydney.  The competing desires to both crave and escape family were equally potent and such feelings lead to intense  speculation on the ability of a person to create a new life or indeed ’self’ by starting again somewhere so far away.  The irrational idea of fate as a predetermined destination was particularly intriguing as was the ongoing nature versus nurture debate.  I questioned the affect of class, genetic disposition and past experiences as well as the superstitious idea of fate on the outcome of one’s life.

Whilst rummaging around a 2nd hand book shop (a regular pastime) I came across an image of some Pre-Colombian burial urns with human effigies on the lids that represented the spirit of the deceased. I was particularly struck by their naive, almost comedic quality which contrasted deeply with their powerful ability to conjure up individuals from an ancient civilisation into modern consciousness.  Equally significant were the remnants of painted patterns on the faces of one or two of the urns.  Using this image as a starting point I decided to create 21 sculptures that would establish my own style, form  and pattern parameters and explore my personal ‘tribe’ or family in a contemporary way.

I had begun to develop the use of patterns in my work whilst at university  and in this instance I have used them as a means of conveying the cyclical repetitive nature of familial genetics and behaviours and also as a means of exploring our conflicting need to repeat these patterns because they are safe and familiar and our desire to stop the resulting unwanted outcomes.  To enhance the shadows created by the patterns and create a ghostly peaceful quality that contrasts with the frenetic intensity of the marks I have deliberately left the sculptures white and unglazed.  The  stone like quality enhances the idea of the ‘spiritual’ presence of the ancestral dead that live on within all of us and depending on the viewer the upheld arms might convey the possibility of either embrace or release.

I have tried to create a powerful body of work that is deceptive in its use of what could be described as decorative pattern and  naive form but with underlying meaning and depth; the outcome is of course entirely personal to the viewer but I hope to have communicated  some of the intensity that I experience when looking at tribal objects but in a personal and contemporary way.

21 sculptures that serve as embodiments for the physical, spiritual and psychological  being, a  place where the minimal,  the decorative and the conceptual overlap and something ‘foreign’ is created.

Interview: Mylyn Nguyen + Todd Fuller – ‘The day pigeons taught bear to fly’

Todd Fuller and Mylyn Nguyen, two of the artist’s in this year’s ‘In Tandem’ exhibition, shed light on their collaborative practice thus far in this short interview -


Mylyn Nguyen + Todd Fuller, ‘The day pigeons taught bear to fly’ 2013, bronze, oil + pigment on terracotta, twig, Coir-peat, watercolour + ink on paper, 36 x 19 x 18cm

How were you introduced to each others works:

Fuller: Mylyn and I are both represented by Brenda May Gallery. I had admired her work online previously but then we exhibited side by side in 2012. It was here that we met and first discussed a potential collaboration.

How did the idea of working on a piece together come about? Describe the process:

Fuller: I was hosting a clay day in my studio with some friends. This bear originally started as a bit of a pinch pot demonstration. As I played the bear grew and eventually ended up on facebook. Where Mylyn commented. The collaboration was inevitable.

Then the collaboration was initiated and the bear was handed over to Mylyn.

Nguyen: When bear came home with me, I didn’t know what to do with him. The initial idea was to sit him in a forest but he was absolutely perfect as he was. For days he stared at me and I at him; waiting. One day I placed a paper doll on top of his nose and then the conversation began. In the end, bear wanted to fly and the pigeons could teach him.

How did you both communicate?

Fuller: There is a real synergy between Mylyn’s and my life, process and practice. We both balance working in the arts with art-making, e both explore narratives and reoccurring characters and we both have a bear motif within our repertoire. With this in mind we discussed the bear through regular emails which we would bounce from our respective desks.

Nguyen: ditto.

Interview: Al Munro + Waratah Lahy on Collaborating

Al Munro and Waratah Lahy answer a few questions to shed a light on their developing collaborative practice formed for the upcoming exhibition ‘In Tandem’.

Have you worked on collaborative projects in the past, and if so what was the process like?

Al: No, I don’t think I have. Truth be told I’m a bit of a control freak, so it will be challenging to not be in control of every aspect of the work produced. Having said that, I really admire Waratah’s work, and we know each other well, so I working with her is an exciting opportunity.

Waratah: This is the first time I’ve ever worked on a collaborative project. I’ve always liked the idea of collaborating and have seen lots of great shared projects, but I’ve never tried anything this deliberate before.


Al Munro, ‘fictitious mineral drawing 4′ 2013, paint marker, glitter, paper – unframed, 14.5 x 14.5cm

You have met up to discuss ‘In Tandem’ already, what has been the result of these meetings? Did you chat about anything interesting beyond the project?

Al: Yes, we spent a lot of time talking about Paris, New York and overseas residencies in general, which was a nice digression. In our first meeting also talked about the connection of our work relating to patterns and grids, and skewing or disturbing these grids as a place to start. When we met earlier this week we spoke about prismatic structures; Wazza had been looking at some of my small ‘Fictitious Mineral‘ works on the Brenda May Gallery web site. She was interested in how I had used crystalline forms to disturb the space of the black shape, and how this reminded her of looking through patterned window panes which is one of the current themes in her work. We decided to use the mineral form as a kind of template and begin a series of painting/drawings/collages which responded to the crystalline fractured forms as a kind of lens. This relates to Waratah’s interest in looking into and through various glass lenses in her paintings and my interest in the role of the scientific lens in visualising the natural world.

Waratah: Al and I have met a few times and all the conversations have been interesting. Mostly we’ve been trying to establish the common ground between our work, which means articulating what we do individually. It’s surprisingly difficult, saying ‘this is what I do’ then trying to shift that to ‘this is what we could do’.

What aspects of or ideas within each other’s practices do you feel either crossover or are in opposition?

Al: Its the lens idea I think that is the point of connection. I don’t really see any opposing factors except Wazza is SUCH a good painter and I feel a little daunted by her technical skill…

Waratah: The hardest thing for me about working with Al is knowing what an incredibly organised artist she is! I see Al’s practice as being very thorough and thought-out, but she is also able to create such interesting images and objects because she’s always doing something – her hands are never still! She brings a wonderful mix of whimsy and intelligence to her work which I really enjoy. Some of the similarities in our work are attention to detail and also an enjoyment of materiality – neither of us is restricted to a particular method of working and that opens up possibilities for exploring different materials and ways of thinking about the work.


Waratah Lahy, ‘Carnavalet 2′ 2012, oil on canvas, 30 x 30cm

How have you been communicating with each other thus far?

Al: We text each other and also see each other at work (at the ANU School of Art).

Waratah: Al and I both work at the ANU School of Art and we’ve tended to meet up in a casual way – we’ve been for coffee and I’ve been to her office. I like it that we both work in the same place, it makes it much easier to keep in touch and to have an idea of what each other’s workload is like, and a couple of times when we’ve discussed ideas I’ve been able to go away and photocopy objects and get boards cut up so we’ve both had some of the same materials at the same time.

Can you give any indications as to what you are planning to create for ‘In Tandem’?

Al: At the moment it looks like it will be a series of small works on plywood which combine my drawn patterns with wazza’s painted scenes – both will be views through a lens into another world…

Waratah: I’m still not entirely sure what we will end up making, but at the moment I’m playing around with the idea of Al’s ‘Crystallography’ brooches, and the way in which they function as kind of lens, or window. I had boards of varying sizes cut to the same proportions as the brooch with the intention of painting on them, but at the moment I’m trying out some drawings and watercolours within the shape. The images I’m working with are all based on the patterns in the stained glass windows at the Musee Carnavalet in Paris.