Review: “Hatched National Graduate Show” 2018 ·
Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA) ·
Review by Jenny Scott ·
Now in its 27th year and promoted as an “institution within an institution”, PICA’s 2018 “Hatched National Graduate Show” presents an interesting snapshot of contemporary art by emerging Australian practitioners.
The annual “Hatched” exhibition is a survey of works by recent art school graduates from tertiary institutions around the country. Curated by PICA’s Eugenio Viola, this year’s exhibition showcases 30 artists who were chosen from over 90 nominated graduates nationwide, by a selection panel that included artist Agatha Gothe-Snape, Annika Kristensen (senior curator, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art), and Fang-Wei Chang (senior curator, Taipei Fine Arts Museum).
Entering the ground floor galleries, visitors to “Hatched 2018” are first greeted by the evocative swathes of steel wool in Mandy Quadrio’s Holes in History. Densely draped and tangled into large nest-like forms, the steel wool seems both soft and sinewy. Closer inspection reveals shells and found objects half-submerged within the suspended shapes, which reference colonialism and resistance from the perspective of the artist as a palawa (Tasmanian Aboriginal) woman.
An installation by Cath Robinson functions as the soundtrack to the ground floor galleries, with the voices of sixteen singers from the Southern Gospel Choir ringing out from a circle of suspended speakers in Wave/wave form choir, accompanied by tide marks of salt spread across the floor.
Hanging nearby is Obey A Widow’s Son by Dean Cross, another work investigating contemporary life in Australia as a First Nations artist. Cross has created a striking photograph that re-contextualises the iconic Ned Kelly of Sidney Nolan’s famous paintings, and is paired with a repurposed Australian Army ghillie suit.
Many other references to famous artworks can be spotted throughout the exhibition, indicating that these newly graduated artists are acutely aware of the art that precedes their practices. These visual references engage both playfully and critically with the discipline of art history, as seen in Jackson Farley’s crude doodles over classical sculptures, and Joe Wilson’s packed canvas featuring a famous shade of blue.
Much of the art in this year’s “Hatched” has a playful tone; from Siân Davies’s stool-like objects dotted throughout the building, to Claire Gillam’s charming ensemble of seemingly plant-based musicians, and the remains of a business conference performance by Yuval Rosinger (which will make you kick yourself for not attending the opening night).
The six strong WA representatives include Benjamin Bannan (Curtin University), whose work investigates the queer history of a decommissioned toilet block at Lake Monger, and Elham Eshraghian (University of Western Australia), the winner of the life-changing $40,000 Schenberg Art Fellowship for her two-channel digital video Bohrân.
While some works invariably seem more resolved than others, the sustained commitment of each artist to their studio practice can be clearly felt. The diverse selection of works within “Hatched 2018”, many of which were produced by multidisciplinary artists, has been strongly curated to produce an all-round inspiring show.
“Hatched 2018” is an engaging survey illustrating the breadth of works by emerging artists nation-wide.
Pictured top: Opening night of “Hatched 2018”. Photo: Giovanni Costa.