Reviews/Visual Art

Freshly hatched statements

24 May 2022

Newly graduated artists take a lively approach to the dilemmas and delights we currently face, in the latest iteration of PICA’s “Hatched” exhibition, writes Kim Kirkman.

‘Hatched 2022 National Graduate Show’, various artists ·
Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) ·

Tackling themes playful to political, PICA’s “Hatched 2022 National Graduate Show” features 25 works by Australian art school graduates from the class of 2021.

Presented annually, “Hatched” is curated by PICA Hatched Curatorial Fellow Miranda Johnson, with artists selected by a panel of industry professionals. Spanning concepts of home, connection, identity and change, the exhibited artworks reflect a diversity of experiences of the world from emerging artists across the country. Meaning and function aren’t fixed, and works explore the expressive capacities of light and sound, form and tactility.

One artist exploring the tactile is Chloe Tizzard, from Victoria, whose Pervert and The Orifice of Delphi seeks to subvert tropes around what we find attractive. A pile of disembodied breasts towers beneath a cascade of pale blonde hair, velvet organs are encased in shag – plush forms swathed in felt that are at once appealing and discomfiting. They’re suggestive and anthropomorphic, and seem to challenge the ambivalence around desire and decorum.

Another work toying with touch is Encounters, by Tasmanian artist Emma Bingham. Presented within a darkened room, shadow and muted sound offer space for the viewer to conjure sensations the pieces might evoke to the touch – the scrunch of balled paper, the crinkle of tissue wrapping or the ripple of rumbled cloth.

Ilona McGuire’s installation ‘Our Lives our Livelihood‘, featuring ‘Lok Poortjetpudjen (Our Place)’ and ‘Kungarakan Gini’, 2021, armchair, record player and oil on canvas. Photo: Bo Wong

Other works offer a fresh take on negative space. Whadjuk/Ballardong/Yuat/Kungarakan artist IIona McGuire’s installation Our Lives our Livelihood channels her ancestors’ presence by crafting a scene in which only they are missing.

A threadbare armchair sits empty alongside a turntable where stacked vinyl features the titles of protest songs. Beside it is a pannikin of Bushells tea and an Anzac biscuit on a Brownie Downing plate, a single bite missing from it. With rich detail – a yellow shovel painted with dots, a newspaper draped across an arm rest with the headline “unfinished struggle” – McGuire weaves a vivid picture of a home and comfort; and a story about where she comes from.

South Australian artist Susie Althorp’s immerse (pictured top) also draws on memory, to craft a giant ceramic mobile. Its delicate porcelain forms float like kelp, evocative of seaside detritus. A tribute to childhood beachcombing and a reflection of the vulnerability of ecologies in one, the suspended structures swirl gently, casting shadows through soft subaqueous light.

Twisted Games, by NSW artist Phoebe Willis, invokes a gambler’s rollercoaster of highs and lows by collaging cut-outs of Daffy, Micky and Donald Duck within a kaleidoscope of scratch cards. The cleverly rendered artwork portrays exhilaration, horror and heartbreak in snippets of the cartoon characters’ faces and places these against these glossy dollar signs and symbols of the gambling industry. Willis arranges these collage pieces in dizzying lines and swirls which bring to mind the video displays on poker machines, and suggests the sense of overwhelm and deliriousness which they can inspire.

As in years before it, this year’s “Hatched” takes on a cross section of the dilemmas and the delights facing the world today, and makes statements about them and in fresh and lively ways. The 2022 National Graduate Show encompasses themes that are variously Australian and universal; sombre and playful; deeply personal and heart-warmingly common.

“Hatched: National Graduate Show” continues until 17 July 2022.

Pictured top: Susie Althorp, ‘immerse’ (close up), 2021, porcelain, stainless steel wire, nylon thread, yellow light. Photo: Lee Walter

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Author —
Kim Kirkman

Kim Kirkman studied journalism and community development, and has worked across the state as a reporter and story gatherer. She loves food and fiction writing and hearing other people’s stories. Always up for a challenge, the monkey bars are her favourite part of the playground.

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