THE School of Art and Design at ANU has been transformed from studio to gallery to show case the final art works of 110 graduating students from the class of 2018.
Amongst this year’s works are a hands-on drawing machine made from a bicycle fork and bamboo, giant images of the male nude hung on silk and a series of stunning photographic portraits of elderly women with their extraordinary life stories captured on a mobile phone mounted next to them that people can listen to.
The exhibition features art works from each of SOA&D’s disciplines including ceramics, furniture, glass, gold and silver smithing, painting, photography, animation and video print media and drawing, sculpture and textiles and art history and art theory.
Head of school, Prof Denise Ferris said the exhibition is a highlight on Canberra’s cultural calendar.
“Much of the art and design work you will see is socially engaged and draws awareness to social issues and the stories of others including intergenerational stories and our shared narratives with Indigenous people,” she said.
“They include stories of ageing, the politics of race, identity, the body and domestic labour, expressed in material form. The exhibition, as always, exudes a sense of real materials as well as the technology of the moving image.”
Beverly Smith’s piece “Ochre Pans” depicts the actual ochre pans near Brewarrina rendered with pigments taken from the banks of the Bogan River. Beverly, a masters student in her 60s whose Aboriginality was kept from her until she was in her late 20s, infuses all her artworks with places of significance to her heritage.
“I got permission from the Elders to use the pigment from the pans; there’s a grey from the river bed, then a yellow, then a pink as you go up the bank,” she said.
“I wasn’t allowed to use the pigments on my face, but I was given permission to use them in my art.
“I wanted to keep the texture in there so I laid the pigment down on the paper outside and left there for days to dry. During the day, the wind blew bits of stick and grit onto the work and it’s a part of what you’d see in the river bed.”
Honours student David Lindesay’s lit black and white photographs of male nudes were his exploration of why the ideal of the perfect, muscled male body persist today.
“I posed my models on classical Greek and Roman sculptures for the photographs and then to subvert that idea of the hard, chiselled body, I reproduced the images onto soft silk banners that waft and move in the breeze to soften the image,” David said.
The exhibition open tonight, Friday, November 23, 6pm-8pm, and then runs until Sunday, December 2, from 10.30am-5pm.