Formed through a continuing series of workshops in collaborative practice, art group DAMP have come to prominence in the last few years as one of Australia's most exciting and challenging visual arts practitioners. The work of DAMP has become highly regarded due to its directness, emotional impact and thoughtfulness.
The group has exhibited in over 16 exhibitions both locally and internationally and has also received significant critical success including published reviews by critics Peter Timms in The Age and Stuart Koop in Art/Text and feature articles by Andrew McQualter in Like Art Magazine and by Peter Hill in Photofile magazine.
Established since 1995 DAMP has become an independent collaborative art group based in Melbourne. The groups working practice has always been heavily reliant on video and photography for the purposes of documentation of events or finished work. Comprising at times of up to fifteen members the group currently consists of artists Johnathan Bailey, Martin Burns, Olivia Dwyer, Sharon Goodwin, Ry Haskings, Spiro Kalantzis, Lisa Radford, Sean Samon, Dion Sanderson, Mosato Takasaka, Blair Trethowan, Neil Wilson
Each DAMP event and exhibitions explore the complex relationships between contemporary art and audiences. The research and background to their projects is a response to an important time, when galleries, funding bodies and artists are increasing discussing the place and role of contemporary art in our communities. DAMP breaks down the distinctions and explores the relationships and contract between artists and viewers. DAMP also makes contact with groups and people located outside the established art discourses thus opening up traditions of who may participate and enjoy contemporary art.
For example, by converting one of Melbourne's artist run spaces into a clothing exchange DAMP were able to convince people to enter the gallery and participate in the work, not because they wanted too view art but because they genuinely wanted to have something.
When the group swapped their clothing for some Polaroid photographs, and stated that clothes and art are the same, they weren't necessarily dragging the everyday into the gallery. It was more like putting art into the everyday. Effectively swapping slides with the audience, they let the audience make the art and they became the audience watching the art happen. Andrew McQualter. (LIKE4 P.30)