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Indepth Arts News:

"SEBASTIAN: Contemporary Realist Painting "
2000-05-05 until 2000-06-11
Gold Coast City Art Gallery
Gold Coast, , AU Australia

The exhibition, featuring 28 works by 9 contemporary painters, will examine and deal with issues surrounding 'the return of the real' and the realist genre in contemporary painting. More specifically, the exhibition will examine and locate the role of painting in a contemporary art context, within Australia particularly, but also in an international context.

The exhibition addresses the lack of contemporary Australian painting shows, by featuring the work of a small selection of practising artists, including Queensland artists alongside interstate colleagues, and will offer emerging artists a chance to exhibit alongside established artists, as part of a nationally touring exhibition.

The paintings exhibited posit a stance away from  the anti-aesthetic nature characteristic of much 'grunge art' practice, and installation, in favour of a more specific form, namely painting. The exhibition begs the question, why are artists returning to painting for the evocation of the real, and the ability to 'suspend our disbelief' in the era of virtual reality, and suggests that painting might be the new 'avant-garde'.

Sebastian features work by Moet & Chandon finalist Christine Morrow (QLD), Michael Zavros (QLD), 2000 Archibald Prize finalist Julie Fragar (VIC), Winner of the 1999 Sulman Prize Anne Wallace (QLD), Winner,1999 Conrad Jupiters Art Prize David Ralph (VIC), Kieran Kinney (VIC), Matthys Gerber (NSW), Stephen Bush (VIC), and Lindy Lee (NSW).

The artists represented all investigate the genre of realism in varying styles and contexts. Christine Morrow's paintings trick the eye and invite the viewer to suspend their disbelief; David Ralph romanticises the urban landscape; Anne Wallace's evocative canvasses are inspired by Hollywood film noir; Lindy Lee investigates appropriation, and the aura of the original; Julie Fragar offers intimate realistic vignettes of her own life; Michael Zavros and Kieran Kinney practise a brand of objective photorealism inspired by glossy advertising, while Stephen Bush and Matthys Gerber's work challenges traditional genres of landscape and portraiture, playing with notions of taste and kitsch.

The work featured in Sebastian appeals to a popular sensibility and appreciation of 'realism' in artistic representation, specifically painting. Sebastian will be accompanied by a substantial catalogue to back up the curatorial choices, and present a series of ideas about the work and the artists. The contributions of guest writer Kirsten Matthews will further examine ideas of the 'return of the real' within other areas of contemporary art such as film and video, both in Australia and abroad.

The exhibition will be officially opened by contemporary painter, John Young at 6pm on Friday, May 5. At Gold Coast City Art Gallery, the exhibition will be accompanied by floorwalks, given by two of the participating artists, Anne Wallace and Julie Fragar, on Saturday, May 6, between 1pm-3pm in Gallery 1. The floorwalks are FREE, and offer a unique opportunity to hear the artists speak about their work. Everyone is welcome! For more information please call (07) 5581 6567. Entry to the exhibition is FREE.

Sebastian: Contemporary Realist Painting is a Gold Coast City Art Gallery Travelling Exhibition and will travel for 12 months to the following destinations: Hazlehurst Regional Art Gallery, 16 June - 6 August, 2000; Orange Regional Gallery, 17 November - 7 January, 2001; Noosa Regional Gallery, 18 February - 8 April, 2001; Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery, 8 May -17 June 2001; Hervey Bay Regional Art Gallery, 6 July - 17 August 2001; Grafton Regional Gallery, 5 September - 21 October, 2001. This project has been assisted by the Commonwealth Government through the Australia Council, its arts funding body. For further information please contact Alis

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