News, Reviews, Visual arts

Less is more

Review: Hatched National Graduate Show 2019 ·
Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts ·
Review by Jenny Scott ·

The 2019 edition of “Hatched National Graduate Show” is more of a minimalist affair than previous years.

Hosted by Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (PICA), “Hatched” is an annual survey of works by selected artists who have recently graduated from tertiary institutions nationwide. This year’s exhibition features 18 artists (including three from WA), scaled back from the 30 graduates chosen for the 2018 show. As a result the PICA galleries feel more spacious, encouraging visitors to pay sustained attention to the works on display, and allowing links to be drawn between art from across the country – with shared concerns including mass consumption in global capitalism, sustainability and the natural environment, and explorations of cultural traditions and gender identity.

Many of the works in the ground floor galleries have been created with a sense of human scale in mind – such as Jonathan Kim’s finely balanced assemblages which sit directly (and vulnerably) on the floor, or Ómra Caoimhe’s intricate knitted structures hung from knotted wool. The deeply personal woven domes of Kim Ah Sam have been suspended at head height, as if waiting for someone to duck under and feel the rim of feathers around their neck.

On the back wall is a brightly lit satin cape by Dennis Golding, who has decorated the fabric with hand-sewn symbols of personal and cultural significance. Stunning footage of other richly coloured capes can be found in Golding’s two-channel video Empowering Identity (2018). Fluttering in the breeze, these lush garments conjure the power, strength and symbolic nationhood of the superhero, presenting a powerful representation of contemporary Aboriginal cultural identity.

Anita Cummin’s ‘feelings’. Photo: Matt Schild, Ok Media.

In the adjacent room is Anita Cummins’ feelings (2019), a radiant carpet of crushed Cheezels which is a sight (and smell) to behold. Close inspection shows hand prints in the neatly-packed surface of the powdered snack food, revealing the intimate labour performed by the artist during its installation. The winner of the prestigious 2019 Schenberg Art Fellowship, Cummins is concerned with mental illness and emotional processing, and this all-too-relatable work evokes feelings of excess, compulsion and short-term gratification.

Upstairs, the installations of Yvette James make the gallery space seem a little unstable, encouraging a heightened sense of bodily awareness and a feeling of potential disaster. An uncovered hole in the floor exposes an oil pool of indeterminate volume, while honey seems to leak from the bottom of a wall, and a heavy chunk of basalt rock hangs tenuously above. Evocative yet stylishly minimalist, these works pair nicely with the subtleties of Louis Grant’s nearby pastel blocks, which are seemingly solid forms that bear the bubbles and imperfections of kiln formed glass.

Across the room, Annette An-Jen Liu’s Reconsidering Time in the Ritual of the Joss Paper (2018) produces interesting tensions between the archival and the ephemeral, documenting the ceremonial tradition of burning joss paper. Liu has arranged display cases containing piles of ash alongside screens blaring an overlapping cacophony of news reports, signalling to the complexities of performing cultural heritage practices during the age of mass media.

As a whole, “Hatched 2019” offers a compelling and vital cross section of current contemporary art produced by emerging practitioners, in which the works of each artist bear witness to their considered academic enquiry and commitment to their developing practice.

“Hatched 2019” runs until 7 July.

Pictured top: ‘Empowering Identity’ (2018) by Dennis Golding. Photo: Matt Schild, Ok Media.

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Opening night of Hatched 2018.
News, Reviews, Visual arts

A snapshot of the future

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.

“Hatched” runs until 15 July.

Pictured top: Opening night of “Hatched 2018”. Photo: Giovanni Costa.

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Calendar, July 18, June 18, May 18, Visual arts

Visual arts: Hatched National Graduate Show 2018

19 May – 15 July @ PICA (Perth Institute of Contemporary Art) ·
Presented by PICA ·

Since 1992, the Hatched National Graduate Show has presented the work of over one thousand artists alongside that of their national peers in this unique showcase of emergent talent. Many of Australia’s most successful artistic careers have been launched this way.

From painting, sculpture and drawing, to installation, video, and sound work, this exhibition offers an intriguing snapshot of current contemporary art practices in Australia.

Hatched is one of the most enduring and fundamental ways that PICA fulfils its mission of supporting innovative new art practices and providing artists with career nurturing opportunities. Hatched tests the pulse of the nation’s emerging arts scene while acting as an important platform for the next generation of Australian artists.

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Pictured: Tri Minh Tran, From Causing A Commotion Series

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Calendar, May 18, Visual arts

Visual art: Hatched Opening Night Party 2018

18 May @ PICA, 51 James Street, Perth ·
Presented by PICA ·

Join us to celebrate the opening of Hatched 2018!

See the next generation of emerging art across Australia and indulge in a selection of Perth’s hottest food trucks and live entertainment – save the date and don’t miss out on this epic PICA party.

From painting, sculpture and drawing, to installation, video, and sound work, Hatched: National Graduate Show offers an intriguing snapshot of current contemporary art practices in Australia.

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