The Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, today announced the nine artists
from across Australia who will participate in Primavera 2002 - the MCA's annual exhibition of emerging Australian artists under
35 years of age. They are: collaborative Melbourne-based artists Nat & Ali;
Roderick Bunter and Ben Frost (QLD); James Dodd (SA); Starlie Geikie (VIC);
Sarah Ryan (TAS); Tim Silver (NSW) and Arlene Textaqueen (WA).
Primavera 2002 is curated by David Broker, Deputy Director and Program
Manager at the Institute of Modern Art in Brisbane. Broker's selection of
artists has been influenced by a particular interest in "street work" such
as graffiti, slogans, murals and culture jamming - manipulating and
subverting existing commercial signage - and the ways in which these art
forms have been adopted and mutated by artists for the gallery.
Through references to lifestyle, beauty, entertainment and fame
Melbourne-based artists Nat & Ali's cheesy installations examine the tenuous
zone between adolescence and adulthood, friendship and fascination. These
installations, including the kitsch, sugary sweet Friendship is... (2001),
to be presented in this year's exhibition, are part of the pair's broader
artistic practice which includes stencilling their faces on the streets of
Melbourne, and appropriating the 60s style "demo" as a way for promoting
both the arts and themselves - as seen in their art is o.k campaign (2000).
In the art galleries of Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne and Christchurch,
James Dodd has exhibited works that seem to beg for release onto the streets
(frequently his gallery work is complimented by a street campaign). His work
explores and critiques the destructive nature of Western materialism, often
drawing on recent world events such as the September 11 terrorist attacks on
New York City and the subsequent American-led War Against Terror.
Tim Silver's guitar, motorbike, racing cars and skateboards, made from
melted Crayola pencils, play on the obsessions and desires of contemporary
youth culture. The work suggests the timeless aspect of these toys which
can also be seen as tools for drawings on the gallery walls or as drawings
"in potentia". These 'boys toys' are as much of the sandpit as they are of
the street - immediately recognisable and accessible to all.
Billboard advertising, murals and logos are the inspiration for the work of
Brisbane 'bad boy' artists Roderick Bunter and Ben Frost. In their
monumental painting Where do you want to go today 2000, which is two metres
high and stretches over 12 metres long, the pair skilfully employ the
imagery of capitalism, poster-art and graffiti, subtly layering it with
subversive meanings and interpretations on the innocence of a generation.
Tasmanian artist Sarah Ryan presents a series of slick photographs exploring
the effects of materialism on an affluent and aspirational designer
generation. Her highly-stylised digital lenticular photographs (3D images)
both celebrate and expose the slick banality and superficiality of fashion
photography and the glossy magazines that inform and influence contemporary
Drawing upon Gothic and schlock Horror film genres, Starlie Geikie's video
works explore the cinematic creation of the stereotypical female "victim"
persona. Geikie's victims both parody and satirise the historical roles
which have traditionally been attributed to women in order to produce a
sense of vulnerability, and fear.
The final inclusion in this year's Primavera exhibition is Perth-based
artist Arlene Textaqueen who captivatingly draws on the popular Playboy
girlie paintings of the 1950s and 60s to produce a comprehensive set of
thoroughly modern nudes that, as Textaqueen says "reclaim nudity as a
powerful individualised state".
Roderick Bunter & Ben Frost
Where Do You Want to Go Today? (detail) 2000
Courtesy of Kerry Stokes Collection, Perth
copyright the artists