Exhibitions

'DUMBSH*T VIDEO ART', curated by Stefan Popescu

- Black Box Projects, 2016

16 April to 12 May

This is an exhibition of contemporary experimental screen-works that explore new approaches and styles in an era dominated by online video, convergent media and hypercapitalism. The artists exhibited are established screen arts practitioners that are responding specifically to that brief. As the exhibition name suggests, the works are both playful and profound, challenging established notions of low and high screen culture. The works exhibited explore datamoshing, vaporwave, darkwave, witch house, glitch aesthetic, performance and new materiality.

Artists include Usama Alshaibi, Anthony Antonellis, Dario Alva, Katherine Berger, Chris Bors, Ryszard Dabek, John Di Stefano, Mr Doodleburger, Scott Fitzpatrick, Adam Geczy, Justin Harvey, Shaun Hay, Harley Ives, Scott Kieran, Kevin Khachan, Tony Lawrence, Tom Loveday, Pavel Samokhvalov, and Emma Varker.

... view exhibition

Introducing IV

- Michèle Heibel, Bettina Hill, Louise Morgan, Belinda Winkler, 2016

16 April to 12 May

This is the fourth exhibition in our 'Introducing series'. The show aims to showcase the work of four artists who are new to the Gallery.

In this edition we are presenting the small, delicately etched clayboard works by Michèle Heibel, the woven paper wall-mounted sculptures by Bettina Hill, the layered, laser-cut and watercolour compositions by Louise Morgan, and Belinda Winkler's finely balanced monochrome bronze and stoneware vessels.

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Benjamin Storch

- Resonance, 2016

14 May to 9 June

Inspired by imagery of dynamical systems in nature and science, my work has been revolving around fluid, orbital loops for a good number of years.

Physically, the tactile sensation of shaping the twisting curvatures is part of my attachment to the process and the resulting forms. Conceptually and spiritually, I had a sense that on some level our actions and reactions are not that different from a trajectory circling around attractive and repulsive forces; a fluid, sensitive, non-confrontational response to the world and our internal contradictions.

The exhibition will feature some new works in alabaster alongside works in copper and stainless steel.

Al Munro

- Pleated Logic, 2016

14 May to 9 June

The paintings in the exhibition, 'Pleated Logic', continue my interest in exploring the way textile forms, such a pattern and structure, allow us to reconsider the spaces of abstract painting. Pleated and folded fabrics create spatial forms which are flexible and elastic; mathematically, pleating and folding allows a transformation from two dimensions to complex hyperbolic spatial forms. This exhibition draws on ideas developed on recent residencies in northern Thailand, and my interest in the heavily pleated Hmong textiles found in the region. These textiles are patterned with linear forms, often prints, stitched or embellished onto the lengths of cloth prior to pleating. The pleating and the movement it enables creates a shifting and deformation in the patterned surfaces. It is this play between spatial forms and the shifting, stretching and contracting of the patterned pleats which have informed this work.

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Tania Smith, 'Untitled (domestic gestures)'

- Black Box Projects, 2016

14 May to 9 June

The videos that comprise the 'Untitled (domestic gestures)' series show absurd moments of escape. Like the slapstick of Buster Keaton, a woman is trapped in a loop of pleasure and anxiety. The videos are an archive of absurd gestures - repetitious, futile, joyous, and mischievous. They are intended to be humorous, and have a slapstick quality to them, referencing the humanism of the heroes of the silent era. Everyday objects become absurd props in a dance of entrapment and liberation.

... view exhibition

Op Art

- curated group exhibition, 2016

11 June to 7 July

This exhibition will cause flat lines to seemingly buckle, stationary colours to bleed and intersect, concavity to be created within even surfaces, afterimages to appear and motion to arise from stillness. Patterns will vibrate, concentric circles will quiver and depth will be deceptive. Op Art has appeared throughout many art historical movements, including Cubism, Constructivism and Dadaism. It is a genre that explores the varying illusionary optical effects that can be influenced by manipulating geometrical shapes and repeating colours. Perception differs from reality, revealing flaws within the human retina's ability to always see things as they are. Contemporary artists continue to be fascinated by this genre, incorporating scientific and mathematical principles, formations found in nature, colour-theory, inspiration from technological advancements, as well as new media equipment, to further explore this area of ocular inquiry.

Artists include Joel Arthur, Lincoln Austin, Lee Bethel, Marion Borgelt (courtesy of Dominik Mersch Gallery), Julie Brooke, Debra Dawes, Caroline Durré, Sophia Egarchos, Justin Harvey, Jacob Leary, Al Munro, Paul Snell (courtesy of Gallery 9), Greer Taylor, Lezlie Tilley, and George Tjungurrayi (courtesy of Utopia Art Sydney).

Erica Seccombe, 'Metamorphosis'

- Black Box Projects, 2016

9 July to 4 August

In 'Metamorphosis', I explore of one of the great mysteries of life through the transformation of fly larvae in an immersive stereoscopic projection. Maggots are more commonly associated with death and decay, but like caterpillars they undergo a stage of transition before emerging as exquisite insects.

For this installation, I visualised and animated virtual pupa data captured through the science of 3D Microcomputed X-ray Tomography led by forensic research at the Natural History Museum in London. This new work is a result of my collaborative relationship with key researchers in visualising 3D and 4D data captured with Micro-CT at the NHM Imaging and Analysis Centre. My 2015 residency at the Centre was supported by an artsACT project grant.

My practice encompasses a range of photographic media in both traditional print, digital platforms and interdisciplinary research. My investigations of frontier scientific visualisation technologies has forged new territory with the science of Micro-CT. I am a pioneer of 3D and 4D Micro-CT visualisation using Drishti volume rendering software at the ANU Department of Applied Mathematics. In 2015, I was awarded the inaugural Paramour Prize for Art and Innovation and am a recipient of the 2011 Synapse residency grant through ANAT.

Kevin McKay

- So Bondi, 2016

9 July to 4 August

This series of small oil paintings responds to the striking architecture and colours of Sydney's famous beachside suburb, along with the accoutrements of urban living - traffic lights, parking meters, and wheelie bins. I frequently paint en plein air and for this series, turned my back to the beach to record the man-made environment that clings to its margins. Significant landmarks and back street views are recorded with the fidelity of a portrait painter. The everyday is illuminated however, with a theatrical quality, as carefully considered compositions provide the stage for the atmospheric play of light.

Dion Horstmans

- Heavy Metal, 2016

9 July to 4 August

"Heavy Metal" brings together works from three ongoing series by Sydney sculptor, Dion Horstmans. Wall mounted and freestanding, Horstmans's multi-dimensional sculptures are crafted using precious and base metals. "Heavy Metal" includes works in gold, bronze, black nickel, copper, and steel.

Horstmans's obsession with contrasting ideas (flow and stasis, light and shadow) is built upon in "Heavy Metal" as he examines the notion of strength, weakness, and the passing of time. Malleable precious metals that will tarnish and corrodes sit alongside Horstmans's trademark steel structures - a material renowned for its strength and longevity.

Shadow, the overarching theme in Horstmans's practice, transforms works and marks the passing of time; the impermanence of precious metals highlights this notion. Metallic lustres are exploited - areas are polished to produce brilliant illumination while others are left dull and raw. Light is captured and reflected, darkness is omnipresent and time is frozen in Horstmans's tangible, static shadows.

Traditional tribal patterns and motifs underpin Horstmans's entire body of work and these bold studies of line and shadow are a respectful nod to his Islander heritage. Shapes are revealed as the viewer moves around each work - a constant dynamism that embodies Horstmans's infinite energy.

Text by Harriet Morgan

Catherine O'Donnell at The Art Gallery of New South Wales

Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial, 2016

30 July to 11 December

This is the second in a series of curated exhibitions on contemporary Australian drawing at the Art Gallery of NSW.

It will feature the works of six artists for whom drawing is a central part of their practice and whose work engages with narrative, memory and experience.

The artists are Jumaadi, Maria Kontis, Richard Lewer, Noel McKenna, Catherine O?Donnell and Nyapanyapa Yunupingu.

Todd Fuller

- Seven rules for raising your siren, 2016

6 August to 1 September

A dugong is a terrible thing to waste.
If one falls from the sky, you should always do your best to catch it. If you find yourself catching one, be sure to use two hands and a light touch or even better, a jar half filled with water.

Dugongs are a type of Sirenia and are the loyalist of creatures, with their waggy-slippery tails and their shiny stiff whiskers. Dugongs are generally shy, so if you manage to see a rare dugong smile, you should always smile back. A smile from a dugong is a gift in itself.

If you are a lucky person who manages to snag a dugong, here are some handy tips for looking after him:

1. Ensure he has room to swim, and frolic and grow. Dugongs like their space.
2. Make sure their tank is always clean, a tidy home is everything.
3. Tell him stories about jellyfish, seagrass and love.Especially Love as Dugongs are very into romance.
4. Scratch his back where his fins can’t reach and be sure to keep his wrinkles clean. This rule is not just applicable to dugongs, you should also be vigilant with the cleanliness of your own wrinkles.
5. Hide him from lawnmowers, they are the enemy of seagrass which is of course a dugongs favorite food in the whole wide ocean.
6. Dugongs hate curse words so be careful not to swear when they can hear you.
7. Remember to smile when the time comes for your dugong to return to the sea..

Director's Cut

- An excerpt from the private collection of Brenda May, 2016

6 August to 1 September

Being the director of a contemporary gallery for over 30 years, Brenda May has inevitably amassed an impressive collection of artworks. "Director's Cut" is an invitation to view a selection of these acquisitions, purchased within a strict budget and curated by Brenda herself. It is an opportunity to see the works that she has chosen to live with, outside of the regular rotation of exhibitions that surround her every day at work. While a number of the artworks are by artists that Brenda has exhibited, many have also been purchased from other galleries and from unrepresented artists' studios. Despite there being no central theme to her collection, certain threads have emerged over the 30 plus years, such as an interest in process and an overwhelming desire to support living Australian artists, no matter what country they may have originally come from. Bringing the private into the public eye, this exhibition will put her personal tastes on view.

Todd Fuller at Grafton Regional Gallery

- Todd Fuller - Storylines, 2016

31 August to 23 October

Solo exhibition by Todd Fuller at Grafton Regional Gallery during his artist in residence with the gallery, in conjunction with 2016 Jacaranda Acquisitive Drawing Award (JADA).

... view exhibition

Polly Stanton, 'Undercurrents'

- Black Box Projects, 2016

3 to 29 September

The Kiewa Hydroelectric scheme has remained hidden under the Australian Alps for 78 years since it?s inception. Below the mountainside it has continued to funnel the snowmelt and divert waterways into churning, underground turbines and through long steal pipes that carve a bright cylindrical path through alpine forest. This confluence of industry and the natural world strikes both a visual and aural moment of contrast - a juncture of environment and human endeavour that exists largely unseen and unheard.

Undercurrents is a moving image and sound work that traces the pathway of water as it travels through the distinct sites of the scheme, creating an audio-visual mapping that documents changes of place and time over a 12 hour day - from the first moments of the dawn ice-melt, to the last stages of dusk as the current is halted by the dark water of Junction Dam. Shifting and observational, the work presents a cinematic gesture of landscape that is at once ephemeral and stark.

Undercurrents was created during a supported residency at The Bogong Centre for Sound Culture.

Ashleigh Garwood

- Under Erasure, 2016

3 to 29 September

The photographs in "Under Erasure" were taken in Iceland, where the landscape and winter light are extremely affecting and remote. The resulting images consider our expectations of nature and the landscape and how these have been pre-determined though our relationship with images.

The works are not the result of an experience recorded with the eye. Instead they are a mode of translation, a photographic reality that sits in duality and contradiction from the physical reality it stemmed from.

Leslie Oliver

- Now and Then, 2016

3 to 29 September

Sculptures as static things invoke an awareness of time. The stillness gives us time to reassemble the elements in an act of recreation that speaks of the past. The inherent dramatic tensions within the structure send us forward into an imagined future. Einstein's view of time is like a plane in a fourth dimension where the past/present/future exists simultaneously. By holding still, a sculpture acts as a marker set into the fabric of time. I like to make things to look at... and feel myself in time.
- Leslie Oliver

Grayson Cooke, 'Old Growth'

- Black Box Projects, 2016

1 to 27 October

'Old Growth' is an environmental critique and material enquiry, it consists of three video works, each of which explores different effects of resource extraction or anthropogenic climate change. Each work consists of time-lapse photography of film media being chemically degraded.

'Frack' explores "virtual fracking" - it uses chemicals used in hydraulic fracturing to dissolve photographs of sedimentary rock. 'Deforest' uses sulphuric acid (which burns to the touch) to melt photographs of old growth rainforest. 'Bleach' uses a range of bleaching agents to dissolve photographs of the Great Barrier Reef.

Each work operates as a kind of media analogue for humanity's effects on the environment; hydrochloric acid, for example, is used in fracking to dissolve fissures in sedimentary rock, and in this project it "fracks" the emulsion, seeking the "fissures" in the image where less silver is deposited on the celluloid. The project uses photographic media and corrosive chemicals to "materialize" environmental degradation along different channels than the documentary record. The ruination of the image and its relation to the environment lies at the core of this project.

... view exhibition

Catherine O'Donnell

- Drawn in Fairfield, 2016

1 to 27 October

My drawings are an exploration of the architecture, the culture, history, and the urban environment with a current focus on 1960/70s housing estates. At first glance the qualities of these utilitarian dwellings may not be evident as all too often these houses are not always given the same value as other housing and have become a cultural signifier of lower socioeconomic communities across Western Sydney.

Through my drawings I aim to extract both the sense of humanity that comes with the fact that people live in these buildings and the more formal aesthetics of these places. I employ realism as a catalyst to ignite the imagination of the viewer and invite them to look beyond the mundane and banal. To revisit these spaces imaginatively and find the aesthetic poetry embedded within in the suburban landscape, while at the same time disrupting cultural prejudices which prevent people from seeing the underlying elegance of these simple buildings.

Ray Haydon

- Fluid Dynamics, 2016

1 to 27 October

Merri Randell + Chris Denaro, '(UN) natural urges'

- Black Box Projects, 2016

29 October to 24 November

This exhibition seeks to challenge our relationship with Australian forests.

Randell creates hybrid mediated landscapes to represent her experience forests - vast in scale and detail, the same forms captured from different angles and perspectives - all shown at once. Through the addition of sound and motion these hybrid landscapes come alive and embody the typically hidden respiratory, digestive and reproductive botanical events of these natural areas.

Denaro's work focuses on the night-time experience of forests. In the absence of light the world becomes a void, and the imagination becomes a powerful and uncanny force. Denaro draws on this concept of the void - inspired by uncanny peripheral glimpses from the night-time forest.

By inserting these 'imaginary' constructions into a 'real' gallery space these artists confront audience's perceptions of nature and place.

Carol Murphy

- Sculptural Forms IV, 2016

29 October to 24 November

This fourth manifestation of the paired-back Sculptural Forms series began on 16 July 2009 after Carol Murphy came across an online advertisement for an artwork for sale in an English Antiques Shop. This elegant figure resembled a Cycladic sculpture, with the stylisation of the head and arms entwined. Murphy explains, “I have never wanted to own an artwork more. Upon first seeing it, I was captivated, with no providence attached, it resembled to me something Henry Moore may have carved, as it required considerable skill for its size… I expect it may have been carved by a European sculptor of some note, but somehow was separated from its history.” “It”, perhaps a metre and seemingly hewn from white marble, became an elegant daydream to own for Murphy upon considering the logistics of shipping, then decided to photograph it, thinking that one day she may see it again in someone’s home in ‘World of Interiors’ or in a museum collection.

This exhibition began with Murphy’s desire to create a pastiche of this work that first captured her imagination nine years ago — a response to her immediate connection to it. It is also a continuation of a series of exhibitions that has allowed figures to be formed and found in simple shapes that also capture the playful and suggestive significance of human gestures.

"Yeah. Cheers. Thanks a lot"

- group exhibition, 2016

26 November to 24 December

Last year Brenda May Gallery celebrated the major milestone of turning 30. These three decades have been split between Access Contemporary Art Gallery (est. 1985) in various Sydney locations and Brenda May Gallery at 2 Danks St in Waterloo. The end of 2016 marks 16 years since the Gallery first became a part of this creative complex on Danks Street and also marks its last, in anticipation of being reborn as May Space in 2017. Although the Gallery had fifteen years of exhibitions, artists and clients prior to opening its doors in Waterloo, it owes many of its strengths, experiences and achievements to this complex, including: the introduction of many incredible artists to the Gallery’s stable, expanding to a more global platform across Australasia through art fairs, observing the resilience and innovation of the artworld in the aftermath of the financial crisis, and the embrace of new media technologies within the commercial art market.

"Yeah. Cheers. Thanks a lot" is an ode to Brenda May Gallery's time at 2 Danks Street. An ode to the relationships made, fostered and developed; to the hard times endured and the incredible times shared; to the many anniversaries, openings and events held and enjoyed; to the other galleries within the complex that have been our peers, neighbours and support group; and to the artists that transform the space every month into something original and exciting. With this vision in mind, this exhibition will feature new works by our Gallery artists, in admiration of their talent and in honour of how they have shaped the Gallery as it stands today. This good bye to the current space is both a celebration of what Brenda May Gallery and its artists have achieved under its roof, whilst also marking this milestone before the Gallery moves onto new things… Yeah. Cheers. Thanks a lot.