York hosts exhibition by rising artists from Down Under

York University’s Department of Visual Arts and Graduate Program in Visual Arts are hosting an exhibition featuring works by 10 Australian artists who are recent graduates or current students in the PhD program at Sydney College of the Arts Graduate School, University of Sydney, Australia.

Right: A piece by Sarah Newall

Curated by Brad Buckley, director of the SCA Graduate School, the show offers a cross-section of the diverse interests and activities of one of Australia’s top institutions for advanced, professional education in contemporary art.

The exhibition, which opened Monday,  will be on view weekdays until March 7 in two venues in the Fine Arts complex: the Gales Gallery, 105 Accolade West Building, and the Special Project Gallery located in the main lobby of the Joan & Martin Goldfarb Centre for Fine Arts. General gallery hours are 10:30am to 4pm.

From pop culture to politics to privacy, the works in the exhibition explores issues that reflect the Australian experience through a wide range of media and presentation formats. The collection includes drawings, wall works, installations, video and performance art.

Many of the artists represented in the show have extensive international exhibition credits. The artists are:

  • One of Australia’s leading interdisciplinary artists, Tony Schwensen, whose current work centers on performance and its mediation through technology, including webcasts and video. 
  • Installation artist David Haines, who represented Australia at the 2004 Sao Paulo Biennale and has presented and performed his work in many major museums and contemporary art venues including Tate Liverpool; ICA London; Arco, Madrid; Taipei MOCA, SMT Sendai Japan; and Monte Video Netherlands Institute for Media Arts. 
  • Photographer and digital media artist Jai McKenzie, who engages with issues surrounding our relationship to photomedia technology and the related experiences of time, space and light. She has exhibited across Australia and in Los Angeles, Paris and Berlin. 
  • David Watson’s work is about place and the retention of a meaningful relationship with one’s physical surroundings in a globalized, networked world. His project, Walking With Cars, traces an observant two-year journey on foot through the morphing municipalities around Sydney that he calls home. 
  • Alex Gawronski addresses notions of culture’s proximity to sites of power, whether institutional, economic or political.  
  • Justene Williams has been working in photography and video since the early 1990s. She has shown her work in solo and group exhibitions in Australia, Estonia, Spain and Germany, and has undertaken residencies in Japan, the Netherlands and Austria. 
  • Drawing on the traditions of early popular entertainment forms such as vaudeville and cabaret, performance artist Mark Shorter explores the constructed identity and the inter-subjective relationship between the artist, the alter-ego, and the audience. He is the architect behind the slyly subversive Renny Kodgers. 
  • Sarah Newall’s work explores issues of private domestic spaces that are created through mass-marketed design. By creating the objects that embellish and personalize domestic space, such as shelving and storage units, wallpapers and artificial flowers, she reclaims spaces and shifts power back to the individual.  
  • Sean Lowry is a visual artist, theoretician, electronic music producer and new media artist. He toured widely with the electronic rock band Def FX and won the Commercial Radio Australia NA2R prize for his musical production Celebrity Drug Disasters. He is currently engaged in experimental audiovisual work and researching attitudes to contemporary art in the wake of postmodernism. 
  • Teo Treloar’s drawings and paintings, based on early to mid-20th century photographs, reflect themes of duality, isolation, tension, mayhem and melancholy inherent in the experience of contemporary visual culture. 

Left: Yvonne Singer

Buckley will give a curator’s talk on the exhibition on Feb. 26 at 3:00pm in the Gales Gallery. The opening reception for the show will take place later the same day, from 5 to 7pm, also in the Gales Gallery. Admission is free, and all are welcome. 

This exchange exhibition project has been coordinated by Yvonne Singer, director of the Graduate Program in Visual Arts at York University. She visited The SCA Grad School last year while developing York’s new PhD program in Visual Arts, which is slated to launch this fall.