on view 8 – 20 Feb
…and yet here we are.
Paint 2 is an exhibition that demonstrates the work of the Honors and PhD level painters at Curtin University who studied with me during the years 2009-2020. This is the second show of this group of artists, students and colleagues. There is a common interest among the group in the materiality of paint and in the sense of painting as an activity that is inextricably linked to the history of painting. Naturally, every contribution included in this exhibition weaves these values together in different ways.
The exhibition was not intended to be a swansong. However, in 2020, as we know, everything changed, and we adapted, at times, by continuing to do what we believe is important—in this case, making art. It also showed that an aspect of these artworks is also forward looking. A new paradigm arrived suddenly. Almost overnight everyone on earth had a new dress code and mode of interaction (masked and socially distanced). The virtual realm was no longer a parallel world but incontrovertibly the main mode of social intercourse …and yet here we are.
Historically, fine artists are credited with anticipating changes. When the idea first strikes, it is natural to scribble something down, to draw it. Only afterward, does civilisation more slowly take up the new design for a process or structure that a diagram might demonstrate—or a sensation painting intimates. When I look at the artwork in this exhibition, I find these paintings also exhibit this mode of sensitivity to the currents that are, for many, only formative. It is a misconception to think that fine art follows—that it is derivative—that one picks a path of another and emulates it. Similarly, it is common to think of art as being synchonised with its time: today, as being contemporary art, and there is a tendency to apotheosize its reflection of a social issue from today. Less attention is given to the artwork that anticipates. However, most of collected art that survives does so only because it could take a mode of anticipation into its creation—that it could be crafted with the material and conceptual integrity that allows it to exist for us, today, as well as for those on the shores of distant times, that these artworks could say to us …and yet here we are.
Download the catalogue: Paint 2 Catalogue
Darryn Ansted is the former Head of Painting at Curtin University (2009-2020). He holds a master’s degree in Painting from the Royal Academy of Art, Antwerp and completed a PhD, BA and BFA at UWA.
“I am interested in simply painting what is in front of me, and developing motifs to disclose the less apparent aspects of the nature and mystery of experience.”
Steven Black is a Professor at the Hochschule für Grafik und Buchkunst, Leipzig. He studied at the Academy there and was a Meisterschüler with Professor Arno Rink (1999-2005). He is currently completing a PhD in painting at Curtin University and is represented by Galerie Fuchs in Stuttgart.
Emily Brennan completed a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) with Honours and is currently completing her PhD in painting at Curtin University. Brennan is also a professional actor (NIDA) who investigates the use of acting and character-building techniques via her painting practice.
“I seek to draw attention to, and slow down moments in time and space in a similar way that theatre can. My artwork is often figurative and explores thresholds and liminal spaces, where boundaries related to identity and notions of time and space shift and become unstable. I draw on theatrical sites, particularly backstage areas, questioning what lies behind the scenes and beneath the performance.”
Julianne Clifford initially obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science (Library Studies) from Curtin University and worked for many years in the information profession before returning to complete a Bachelor of Arts (Art) graduating with Honours in 2008. Her doctoral studies commenced after she had already been a member of Australian Centre for Concrete Art for some years. Since 2006, she participated in group exhibitions with the AC4CA in Perth, Sydney, Paris and Hegenheim, (France).
Working predominately with drawing, painting and printmedia her practice interrogated concrete, minimalist and reductive tendencies from a post digital perspective. Of particular interest were notions of replication, originality and ‘uncreativity’ examined through structure and pattern.
Ronan Lane obtained a Bachelor of Fine Art in painting from the Aki (ArtEz), the Netherlands. He holds a National Diploma in Art from the Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork. He studied art history as a Gasthörer at the Freie Universität Berlin and is currently completing a PhD in painting at Curtin University.
“My work is focused on understanding the way that systems leave their traces on our lives. Whether social, linguistic, or otherwise, our world is filled with the remnants of things that came before.”
Marina van Leeuwen
Based in Perth, Marina van Leeuwen is a multi-disciplinary artist working in painting, printmaking, drawing and ceramics. She returned to formal study to complete an Advanced Diploma in Visual Art at North Metropolitan TAFE and followed that with a BA (Fine Art) with Honours from Curtin University.
“Exploring the relationship to familiar places underpins my work. Transparency and layering conceal and reveal traces of earlier marks in the painting process, much like past experience informs new sensations of place. This series takes its titles from Calvino’s Invisible Cities, where the same city adopts a different persona with each telling. Author (painter), memory and lived experience constantly interact.”
Vivienne O’Neill completed a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) with Honours and is currently completing her PhD in painting at Curtin University.
“Through my work, I examine cultural competency, which includes analysis of the discourse of reconciliation and sustainability in Western Australia. Cultural competency involves empathy and respect for all people and cultures that are, and have been, part of the landscape of place. Looking from this perspective, potentially, may uncover a new paradigm of thinking about place, landscape and societal norms. My current work is a response to a recent field trip to Onslow. I was privileged to travel with a Thalanyji friend and share experiences of country. I respond to multiple sensory information both from the site and historical narrative, to develop a non-linear form of painting. I invite the viewer to feel the artwork through the visual sensations and frequency of perceiving paint application and mark-making.”
Simon Sieradzki completed a Master of Arts (Fine Art) and is currently completing his PhD in painting at Curtin University. Simon’s painting practice moves through the traditional genres of still life, landscape and portraiture while taking on an experimental nature. In the work, a focus on representation shifts towards abstraction as Sieradzki seeks different ways of painting rhythms. These rhythms emerge from an observation of elements which may be experienced only in relation to things and shifts that occur, for example, how wind may be seen only in the way it interacts with the leaves of a tree. Paradoxically, the rhythms that manifest in the paintings allow for a kind of movement which exists in stillness.
Shalu Varma completed a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) with Honours at Curtin University.
“My current paintings stem from an engagement with colour and pattern details present in my everyday suburban surroundings, whereby I explore painting’s capacity to act as a kind of meditative tool that might capture a more sensory experience of place.”
Ian Williams completed a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) with First Class Honours and is currently completing his PhD in painting at Curtin University. Williams has exhibited extensively and his artwork is held in notable public collections. Predominantly using the genre of still life, his work originates from the moving digital world of videogame environments, wherein he selects virtual everyday objects, to subject to painting. This toys with real world phenomena such as gravity, scale, and the forces of collision.
“I am concerned with the interpretation of reality within virtual environments, and how this can be expressed through painting. Using found objects from videogames, I reimagine the conventions of still life painting to explore the properties of the virtual everyday object.”