CURRENT Exhibitions

Dobell Drawing Prize 2019

Featuring represented artist Catherine O'Donnell and exhibited artists Peta Minnici, Alex Karaconji, Jenny Orchard

28 March to 25 May 2019

     The Dobell Drawing Prize is a new biennial prize and exhibition presented by the National Art School in association with the Sir William Dobell Art Foundation. The Prize is an open call to all artists and aims to explore the enduring importance of drawing and the breadth and dynamism of contemporary approaches to drawing.
     The exhibition showcases the finalists’ artworks across a broad range of media that acknowledges the foundational principals of drawing, while also encouraging challenging and expansive approaches to drawing. Submissions are invited for artworks on paper, but may also include wall drawings and larger-scale works and works utilising electronic media.
     National Art School envisions the Prize as a platform for the celebration and examination of current drawing practices. The Prize builds on the energy of both emerging artists who make art through drawing, while also celebrating innovation and technical skill of experienced artists.
     The new Dobell Drawing Prize is an acquisitive art award that runs in alternative years to the Dobell Australian Drawing Biennial at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, affirming the Dobell Foundation’s commitment to continuing the development of drawing as a medium in its own right, and a fundamental element of the visual arts. Represented artist, Catherine O'Donnell, was one of the six artists selected for the second Biennial in 2016.

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Fibro Façade

An Installation by Catherine O'Donnell at Shoalhaven Regional Gallery

16 April - 1 June 2019

     Fibro Façade is an installation comprising eleven meticulous charcoal drawings of elements from common fibro housing and an architectural tape outline connecting them. 
     Catherine O’Donnell leaves the screen door ajar, pulls back the curtain, opens the window and shows the uneven lines of the venetian blinds to reveal that her renderings are equally about the occupants as they are about the structures that they call home.

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Waratah Lahy

- Hand Held World, 2019

8 to 26 May

     My paintings explore scenes from everyday life: houses, homes, windows, streets, gardens and backyards. I paint scenes that evoke a sense of contemplation: focussing on places and moments that exert a quiet influence on those who view them.
     I’ve lived in the same inner-city suburb for the past 20 years and in that time the streets around me have changed dramatically. Houses get knocked down, apartments go up and the skyline is continually changing. My paintings echo the small moments and changes I see in my local environments. I explore scenes that seem familiar and take my time to notice moments of unexpected beauty - repetitions of shapes and patterns and richness of colour. I paint these moments in miniature as a reprieve from the big and grandiose. My neighbourhood becomes palm-sized and these quiet moments offer a way of making new connections with the changing environment.
     The paintings in hand held world have been heavily influenced by my ongoing interest in hand painted magic lantern slides. My fascination with miniatures and magic lantern slides relates to how they function as spaces of imagination. Before the advent of photography and cinema, magic lantern performances transported viewers to new worlds: entertaining, educating and inspiring new ways of thinking, and encouraging discovery of new geographies.  Similarly, miniatures require the viewers to imagine themselves within the painted space – a unique world silently separate and from our own. Hand painted magic lantern slides engage through paradoxical shifts in scale: they are small enough to be held in the hand yet the images can be projected larger than life.

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Mylyn Nguyen

- Sometimes I’m too boring for my imaginary friends, 2019

8 to 26 May

     I always wanted imaginary friends but I couldn’t get any. When I was little my greatest comfort was cardboard boxes. Big ones, small ones, matchbox ones. If I couldn’t have imaginary friends, at least I could make a home for one and hope they would like it enough to make friends with me.
     Sometimes I would sit in an empty cardboard box for hours; savouring the dim, browny-hued darkness and warm paper smell. When I was about 20, I made one. I couldn’t decide if he was a bear or a human, so he is half: a man wearing a bear head. He still appears now sometimes to pat me on my head when I accidentally step in a puddle of water and get my socks all wet so I have to spend the rest of the day walking around with squishy shoes or when I drop my egg, mid-peel, into the bin.

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Sir John Sulman Prize @ AGNSW

- Featuring represented artist Todd Fuller

11 May to 8 September 2019

Congratulations to Todd Fuller who was selected as one of twentysix finalist in the 2019 Sulman Prize at the Art Gallery of NSW for his hand drawn animation, With whom I was united by every tie (Captain Moonlite)

The Archibald, Wynne and Sulman Prize on view until September 8.


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Peter Tilley

- The Tangible and the Shadow, 2019

29 May to 16 June

The body of work for this exhibition continues my exploration of the connections between the figure and the shadow. The shadow as an image of the body, manifesting here as an expressive material object that reveals, visually or symbolically, traits of the casting figure that may not be readily evident.

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Ruth Ju-Shih Li at the International Avanos Applied Ceramic Symposium 2019

10 June - 21 June 2019

Ruth Ju-Shih Li has been invited to participate in the 11th International Avanos Applied Ceramic Symposium, held in Avanos, Nevşehir, Turkey. The symposium aims to promote ceramic culture by expanding the boundaries of traditional ceramic art and supporting traditional and contemporary practices. The works produced during the symposium will be exhibited as part of the permanent art collection of Nevşehir Hacı Bektaş Veli University.

Jenny Orchard

- All Tomorrows Stories, 2019

19 June to 13 July

     Science tells us how close we are to other animals, we share the form of most of our organs with so many of them. Like them we have two eyes, two ears, breath and entropy, and like them we can laugh and cry…. Even those who are foreign to our eyes have bodies which, like us share a genetic code and DNA that goes back through time to beginning of life on the planet. We are the future and unknowable destiny of the planet itself, now that we can manipulate the code.
     My imagination is blown wild by that knowledge. I am both more and less than human through my interactions with our collective technology and consciousness.
     I want to make creatures that ask Who am I, and Who are You?

Simm Steel

- 6300, 2019

19 June - 14 July

     One day when I didn’t have my camera in hand, I realised my Nokia 6300 actually had a camera and, with the thought that I would miss any fleeting image, I began to use its small digital eye to capture what might be lost forever.  I didn’t believe anything could ever come of these tiny images and the sole purpose of using this ‘camera’ was to remind myself to return to the scene and take the ‘real’ shot – a ridiculous task - and so began the archive of when all was lost and found.
     I found in a mobile phone camera a new personality born of a small sensor that wore its jpeg artefacts as a binding fabric. I could not avoid the technological imperfections, but the resulting images were becoming defined by them. I was forcing the mechanism to look at close range into and through, paint, dirt, scratches, water, questioning what is and what is not.  
     With a way of capturing images so easily the digital file opens out to a place of visions that are not preconceived, nor explainable by academic research or introspection, but instead present the history of one’s experience, expectations, or trends. -  Simm Steel, 2019

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Al Munro at Craft ACT

Pattern Translating

11 July to 31 August

     A solo exhibition by Al Munro which draws from her recent body of work. The exhibition consists of five pairs of dresses sewn from digitally printed fabrics and paintings. The process by which these pairs of works were produced involved translating textile patterns into painted forms, translating and manipulating these via the conventions of repeat fabric design to create digitally printed textiles/paintings, and then translating back to traditional painted form.
     Pattern Translation continues Munro's interest in translating and distorting mathematical patterns to explore relationships between textile patterning and painted abstraction and begins a new focus on the aberrations and slippages that can occur as a pattern, like a spoken message, is translated from one ‘language’ to another. 

Robert Boynes

- A whole life in a passing moment, 2019

17 July to 4 August

     We often make nonverbal observations and judgements about people, situations and even random objects as they pass before us.
     Some of these image may be burned into our memory and reappear as tropes that we recognised and repeat. They may be a pattern of habits or even personal taste - as in my case. I search for the drama of that moment or the stillness of another, which I find compelling in my ordinary life.
     Some of these works focus on the private and domestic, a reflection on internal thoughts and local matters. Others are more global in nature, portraying large scale social and environmental events. The pairing of these two positions place the works into a global context. These paintings stay with us as flashes of memory, like rapid bursts of light that resonate after our eyes are closed. Mysteries remain.  

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Charlotte Bakker

- Resonant Forms, 2019

17 July to 4 August

     Resonant Forms presents a body of sculptural work that considers the synchronicities between sculptural composition and musical improvisation. Drawing on the enduring connection between the fields of music and sculpture, these works are responsive to musical rhythm and movement. The steel and timber forms seek to articulate the lyricism inherent to musical composition, presenting a harmonious sequence of visual elements that explore implied and constructed sculptural space.
     Through an improvisational process driven by intuition, Bakker’s practice is informed by the legacy of steel sculpture, the practice of drawing in space and the rhythmic forms in classical and instrumental music. An extension of the practice of drawing in space allows for an investigation of linearity beyond the limitations of the flat surface, engaging with the three-dimensional through line, form and spatial tension. Utilisation of steel as a primary material exploits the connotation of its industrial uses, uncovering its unexpected expressive and poetic possibilities.

Catherine O'Donnell, finalist in the Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2019

Catherine O'Donnell

24 July - 15 September 2019

The Sunshine Coast Art Prize 2019 is a national contemporary acquisitive award presented by Sunshine Coast Council. The award is open to any artist who is an Australian resident, working in a 2D medium. Forty finalists will be selected for exhibition at the Caloundra Regional Gallery and the winning work will be added to the Sunshine Coast Art Collection.

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Ruth Ju-Shih Li at Art Taichung

19 - 21 July 2019

Ruth Ju-Shih Li will be showcasing her work alongside a number of artists from around the world in this year's ART TAICHUNG. Taiwan Art Gallery Association (TAGA) launched ART TAICHUNG in 2013. Each year, outstanding artists are introduced by galleries in both Taiwan and abroad, providing to the people of Taichung with a visual art feast.

Charlie Sheard at Manly Art Gallery & Museum

Absolute Abstraction

26 July to 1 September

Charlie Sheard 's solo exhibition Absolute Abstraction, at Manly Art Gallery & Museum.

Agnes Tyson

- The Interior of Home, 2019

7 August to 25 August

     A well established genre for artists, ‘The Interior of Home’, consists of paintings depicting the artist’s homes, from childhood to the present. Our lives fill the interior spaces with our energy - our moods, aspirations, disappointments, fears, traumas, joy, celebrations - connections with ourselves and others. They hold our possessions and provide space for us to sleep, eat, wash, rest, play, relate, interact, think, create and daydream. Every home has a feeling, a kinaesthetic sensation that fills the space and these paintings engage with the unique energy of the places they depict. 
     The body of work also explores the more formal concerns of space, line, shape, tone and colour. It plays with spatial relationships, flat space and pattern. The paintings invite the observer to physically enter the spaces depicted. While these interiors are specific and personal, they also seek to take us to a space we have might have known, remembered or imagined. 

Alex Karaconji

- Morning, 2019

7 August to 25 August

     Morning is a hand-drawn animation about the first hour of my day. Although the plot is relatively simple, I have tried to draw each gesture and object as vividly as I can. In doing so, I have tried to reclaim a part of my day that I am rarely conscious of. Stop-motion animation is well-suited to this undertaking. It is slow and repetitive, and it often involves a close examination of subtle, almost imperceptible movements.
     Morning exemplifies my approach to drawing in both its domestic subject matter and in its attempt to intensify an experience of life through the close observation of fine details.

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Indigo O'Rourke

- At the heart of all things, 2019

28 August to 15 September

     After reading The Secret Life of Trees by British science writer, Colin Tudge, I began to look at trees in a different way. I would drive to locations around Victoria to look at particular trees and whilst being so disheartened by humanity, the drought and climate change, trees would give me a sense of ease.
     Humanity is a mess, creating countless problems with the earth itself. Soil. Lakes. Air. Sea. Rivers…are all under stress. Those who care about humanity, as opposed to those concerned only with personal power and accumulated wealth, understand that global warming needs to be taken very seriously; common sense and basic biological theory, suggest that the more trees we retain and replant, the better managed water courses and soil erosion will be and even simply the temperature on the earth’s surface.
     My next exhibition 'At the heart of all things' explores intricate drawings of incredible trees in their entirely and on-site sketches of trees that I have repeatedly visited over the last two years. Trees affect my practice significantly because not only are they the paper I draw on but also the wooden frames that house them. In my heart trees are the centre of all things.

Eliza Gosse

- Eggs With Soldiered Toast Buttered Well, 2019

28 August to 15 September

     Eggs With Soldiered Toast Buttered Well is a series of paintings based on a collection of memories by Australians who grew up in mid-century modernist homes.
     This gouache series is presented on off-white paper with the corresponding story printed above in reference to Tracey Moffatt’s 1994 Scared For Life suite. While Moffatt’s photographic series depicted suburban dramas, I present amusing and mundane stories that correspond to the home and to these mid-century designs.
     By portraying paintings of modernist architecture alongside personal anecdotes, I stress the importance of the design of this era in Australian history. My paintings capture a rich architectural moment in Australia’s recent past. The way we live contributes to our national identity and so it matters how we tell and retell our collective histories of home. There is a risk that these stories will be lost over time, just as the homes are being demolished. 

Sydney Contemporary 2019

Featuring Robert Boynes, Todd Fuller, James Guppy, Ruth Ju-Shih Li, Waratah Lahy, Mylyn Nguyen, Catherine O'Donnell, Charlie Sheard, Janet Taverner, Nicole Welch

12-15 September 2019

This year MAY SPACE will be bringing 10 of our represented artists to Sydney Contemporary. Featuring Robert Boynes, Todd Fuller, James Guppy, Ruth Ju-Shih Li, Waratah Lahy, Mylyn Nguyen, Catherine O'Donnell, Charlie Sheard, Janet Taverner and Nicole Welch.


- Coordinated by Lisa Jones, 2019

18 September - 14 October

     Square is a group exhibition of mid-career artists working in a range of media and across genres of painting and sculpture.
     Square is an improvisation in visual art that uses a set format as an aesthetic platform or starting point for each artist. Each artist improvises on four 40 x 40cm Ash panels.
     Square artists are Lynne Eastaway, Richard Dunn, Catherine O’Donnell, Daniel Hollier, Pollyxenia Joannou, Lisa Jones, Stephen Little, Tom Loveday, Al Munro and Stuart Smith.

Korean International Ceramics Biennale

27 September 2019

The Korean International Ceramics Biennale 2019 presents works by 302 artists, from whom two Prize winners will be selected. The exhibition is hosted by Gyeonggi-do Province, Republic of Korea and organised by the Korea Ceramic Foundation. The online exhibition will launch on 27 September 2019 and will remain online permanently.

James Guppy

- What is left behind, 2019

16 October to 3 November

     In the Northern Rivers fires are very much a part of life here… bushfires, the canefields, the winter burnoffs.
A few years back we burnt a few big camphor laurel stumps that had been felled many years ago to make way for orchards and gardens. As we kept a watchful eye on the fire… we took photos.  The flames, smoke and slow charcoaling of the wood were mesmerising.
     The photographs looked like alien landscapes; strange and evocative of some other place. It was their ambiguity; the images were of burnt root balls but the scale was confusing and also suggested monumental landscapes. I began to see other worlds in them with looming mountains and far off in the distance minute trails that inhabitants might travel through.
     Such strange and elusive forms became an exercise in possibilities: the charred branches were also spinal vertebrae, the ashen root balls... crustaceans and wild boars. I began to play with the other things hidden in the smoke and fire.  There were mysteries, old mythologies and living things amongst the flames half glimpsed, intuited. Stories began to evolve as I painted. 
     The world seemed to be echoing the stories as I worked… historic heat waves, mass extinctions and migrations, predictions of chaos and doom reducing us to scrabbled existences in destroyed lands.
     Each of these paintings began with the burn we did on that winter’s day. The stories that grew in them… mark the legacy we leave behind us.
James Guppy, May 2019

Keiko Matsui

- Concave, 2019

16 October - 3 November

'For some time now I have been making sculptural vessels, pursuing simplicity and eternal beauty in my work. With this exhibition I am choosing to challenge the form these vessels take. With endless options available to me, I have chosen to produce concave shapes, utilising both coarse stoneware and smooth porcelain. Curved and organic lines lead across each form, where each concave could be part of an arch or a cave; an alcove or nest; a hollow or aperture, inviting viewers to reach out and touch the object.

The new forms may look simple, yet the process is quite complicated. Each form is thrown, section by section. I cut and alter the form, rejoining pieces to create the complex curves and concaves, combining the textures of both the coarse and smooth clay bodies. By limiting my colour palette to a monochromatic range of black and white, with a hint of gold or silver, the form of each ceramic is clearly allowed to speak.

This series of vessels is one of contrast. The contrasting colours, textures, and materials working together in each object embody the disparate elements of my own personality. Within the black stoneware, I see my strength, boldness and resilience, while the white porcelain is my fragility and sensitivity. I believe the duplexity in each form not only speaks to my duality in my nature but to the contrasting aspects present within every one.'

- Keiko Matsui, May 2019

Catherine O'Donnell at Grace Cossington Smith Gallery

Catherine O'Donnell @ Grace Cossington Smith Gallery

7 November - 5 December 2019

A Solo show by Catherine O'Donnell at Grace Cossington Smith, awarded for winning the Grace Cossington Smith Art Award in 2018.

Ruth Ju-Shih Li at Yingge Ceramics Museum

- Florilegium

8 November - 29 December 2019

Florilegium, a Solo exhibition by Ruth Ju-Shih Li at Yingee Ceramics Museum, Taiwan.

Ruth Ju-Shih Li at CC Gallery, Taiwan

14 January - 29 February 2020

A Solo exhibition by Ruth Ju-Shih Li at CC Gallery, Taiwan.

Hendrik Kolenberg & Evan Salmon

new urbanscapes

29 January - 16 February 2020

Evan Salmon and Hendrik Kolenberg share an interest in making paintings of their suburban environment – streets & traffic, houses & rooftops, cranes, telegraph poles & wheelie bins, domestic and industrial settings, the working harbour, parkland & waterways. They find their subjects in the familiar everyday or commonplace, the city & suburbs as well as further afield. For Evan that includes landscape near at hand; for Hendrik, Rotterdam, his birthplace. It isn’t place that matters to them as much as the power of light to transform, intensify or surprise them.

This selection of recent paintings  features subjects close to home for each of them, around Warrawong, south of Sydney and Eastwood in Sydney’s north west, each typical of modern urbanism and its unencumbered spread north, south and west of metropolitan Sydney. Painting En Plein Air has preoccupied Evan for some years now, while Hendrik constructs his paintings from drawings and studies in pen & ink, charcoal and oil on paper.

Evan and Hendrik draw together (which is how their friendship developed) and with others but painting is a private occupation for them. This is their first exhibition together.

Top: Evan Salmon, Truck depot, Port Kembla 1, 2019, oil on linen, 51.5 x 61cm
Bottom: Hendrik Kolenberg, House fronts, First Avenue, Eastwood, 2019, oil on gesso on linen on plywood, 63 x 72cm

Fibro Façade

An installation by Catherine O'Donnell at Tweed Regional Gallery

31 January - 28 June 2020

> Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre, 31 January to 28 June 2020.

     “Catherine O’Donnell’s draughtsmanship skills are some of the finest this country has even seen. Rather than create static replications of sites, she imbues her houses with a pathos and resonance which reveals her talents as a storyteller. It is this strength that draws audiences beyond the awe of her life-like drawings, evoking the shared experience of home...” - Lizzy Marshall, curator of 2168: Estate of Tomorrow
     Fibro Façade
is an installation comprising eleven meticulous charcoal drawings of elements from common fibro housing and an architectural tape outline connecting them. O’Donnell’s installation was commissioned by Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre and was on display there in 2018 in the solo exhibition 2168: Estate of Tomorrow.
     O’Donnell leaves the screen door ajar, pulls back the curtain, opens the window and shows the uneven lines of the venetian blinds to reveal that her renderings are equally about the occupants as they are about the structures that they call home.

Images by Silversalt Photography, courtesy of the Artist and MAY SPACE Sydney

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Ruth Ju-Shih Li at Kyoto Ceramics Centre, Japan

Australia Flowers Exhibition

17 - 29 April 2020

Australian Flowers Exhibition, a group exhibition with Ruth Ju-Shih Li at the Kyoto Ceramic Centre, Japan.