Feast your eyes: Seven exhibitions to catch in festival season

Amid the festival season madness, there are a swag of impressive visual art exhibitions to catch. John Neylon and Jane Llewellyn pick seven of them for you to enjoy.

New Alchemists @ Flinders University Art Gallery

Art Orienté Objet, May the Horse Live in Me!, 2011, video still

New Alchemists explores the intersection between art and science and the ways in which technology impacts on our consciousness. Developed by Salamanca Arts Centre, the exhibition is being toured by Contemporary Art Tasmania. Curator Dr Alicia King has selected artists who use new technologies to communicate the narrative in their work. Artists featured include, Art Orienté Objet (FR); Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr (AU); Michaela Gleave (AU); Ian Haig (AU); Nadege Philippe-Janon (AU); Thomas Thwaites (UK); and Lu Yang (CN).

New Alchemists
Flinders University Art Gallery

17 February – 15 April 2018

Jess Mara: These four walls @ Floating Goose

Jess Mara, Mother, Tent, Shelter, 2017-2018, oil on canvas

Through her practice Jess Mara explores ideas of identity, place and the passage of time. As the name suggests, These four walls pays particular attention to the notion of the home as both a physical and emotional space. Mara’s paintings and sculptural works use domestic fittings and fixtures which are both functional and aesthetic. She combines these with the formalities of colour, form and pattern, representing the physical fabric of a home.

Jess Mara: These four walls
Floating Goose

Until 4th March 2018

Bundit Puangthong & David Ray @ BMG Art

Bundit Puangthong, Never got Caught (the One that Got Away),  2017, acrylic, soft pastel, oil pastel, spray paint on linen

Bundit Puangthong’s spectacular paintings, fusing traditional (Thai) traditions and western art idioms and pop culture, offer a glimpse into the way the artist views the mixed up world in which we all live. David Ray says his OTT, neo-baroque, porcelain trad-riffing works are like ‘Wedgewood on acid’. They deserved to be eaten by the eyes but watch out for the bitter aftertaste.

Bundit Puangthong & David Ray
February 23 until March 17

Andrea Przygonski: Chi Town Chronicle @ Praxis Artspace

Andrea Przygonski, Altar to the Underground, (Triptych), digital print on hessian

Chi Town Chronicle is a series of works by South Australian artist, Andrea Przygonski, inspired by her Chicago Residency for her Masters, which she completed in 2017. Przygonski’s artworks look to extend the practice of contemporary printmaking beyond its traditional boundaries by incorporating elements of other disciplines. Chi Town Chronicle straddles printmaking, textiles, sculpture and installation with light and sound and includes works that connect place and experience through the abstract mapping of the physical landscape of Chicago and surrounds.

Andrea Przygonski: Chi Town Chronicle
Praxis Artspace

28 February – 23 March 2018

2018 Palmer Sculpture Biennial

Palmer, east escarpment

Tired of the white (or charcoal) cube gallery experience? Then head east this Fringe into the rain shadow country at Palmer where dead dogs bark at strangers and granite boulders lean away from the wind. Here art has to earn its right to survive in a vast theatre of light, land and distance. To walk across hillsides studded with contemporary sculptures – massive steel works dissolving in the heat haze or ephemeral propositions springing underfoot like native grasses – is a memorable experience unlike all others. Stout shoes and hearts recommended.

2018 Palmer Sculpture Biennial
Davenport Road Palmer

17 March – April 15 (see Fringe Guide for open times)

Richard Lewer, The History of Australia @ Hugo Michell Gallery

Richard Lewer, The History of Australia (detail), 2017, oil on steel, copper, brass,

On entry, salute an outsized Australian flag graffitied with the words ‘I Must Learn To Like Myself’. A panel of images – a mashup of some of the nation’s darkest or defining hours (frontier wars, stolen children, bushrangers and gold gold gold) stretches like a street march banner across another wall. Facing them a series of cute-as-pie drawings of some of the nation’s most popular tourist destinations including Belanglo State Forest, Snowtown Bank, Lindt Café and massacre sites. Australian history under the blowtorch of Richard Lewer’s mordant wit.

Richard Lewer, The History of Australia
Hugo Michell Gallery

8 February – 17 March

Laura Wills, Finders Sharers @ Hill Smith Gallery

Laura Wills, Clean and Sour

Laura Wills’ trademark push-pull of the macro and micro gives energy and complexity to her exploration of the mysterious world of plants – particularly, on this occasion, the edible ones. Love is in the air in beautifully crafted paintings and drawings overlaid on maps mercifully free of any Siri coordinates. Wills has been in cahoots with something called the Open Space Contemporary Art Foragers, Weed Gardens and Gatherings / Finders Sharers project. That she has survived this encounter with all creative cylinders firing and has crafted images that look good enough to eat is a tribute to her ability to map uncharted territory. You’ll never look at your squeeze bottle of lemon fresh dishwasher liquid in quite the same way again.

Laura Wills, Finders Sharers
Hill Smith Gallery

8 – 31 March

Header image: Andrea Przygonski, The Negative City (installation detail)

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