Arts / Academics and artists collaborate in unique show

‘Timespun’ by Ella Whateley (and collaborator Peter Riggs), 2018, oil in perspex

A UNIQUE show, on display until the end of the week, is proof that academics can dust off the cobwebs and mingle with artists.

Those present at the exhibition opening, which was last night at ANU’s school of art and design gallery, heard from head of the school, Prof Denise Ferris, who said this was the fifth anniversary of the “Vice-Chancellor’s Artist Fellowship Scheme”.

It aims to promote collaborative research between different areas of the university, but it was, in her view, high time for a new, catchier name.

Supported by funding from the vice-chancellor, this five year scheme is the first of its kind in an Australian University. It aims to promote collaborative research between disciplines in the university and provide opportunities for developing future trans-disciplinary Australian Research Council-funded projects in which practice-led research and creative design logic would be embedded.

‘Crystal Imperfections as Agents of Deformation’ by Jennifer Robertson and collaborator Ian Jackson, 2016.

According to Prof Ferris, the name “the Brians” had been pitched to vice-chancellor Brian Schmidt, who had modestly declined the suggestion, as it had not been him but his predecessor, Prof Ian Young, who had founded the scheme.

A large crowd of used the production of new and intriguing work as a creative way of looking at “this diverse universe”.

‘Australian Society of Herpetologists presidential crown, by Steven Holland and collaborator J Scott Keogh, 2016.

A popular example of the new approach was the way in which artist Ella Whateley collaborated with Dr Peter Riggs of the research school of physics and engineering to create a piece which aims to disrupt the viewer’s time perception. Their resultant interactive work, “Timespun”, features sets of painted discs that can be spun by the viewer to slow down at different rates.

Unsurprisingly, the Nobel Laureate-VC was most taken with the mathematical explorations into art, but other study areas he mentioned were archaeology, herpetology, “dead bodies” and, in a new venture, the study of Asian civilisations.

The exhibition mixes the work of past and present fellows and includes art by Susan Buret, Kit Devine, Alexandra Gillespie, Michelle Hallinan, Ella Whateley, Vanessa Barbay, Tony Curran, Kirsty Darlaston, Nicola Dickson, Ursula K Frederick, Steven Holland, Jay Kochel, Anna Madeleine, Carolyn Young, Jennifer Robertson and Erica Seccombe.

Vice-Chancellor’s Artist Fellowship Scheme Exhibition 2018, School of Art & Design Gallery, 105 Childers Street ANU until Friday, July 13.



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