Review / Paintings, and other things, explore today’s world

art / “Painting Amongst Other Things”, at ANCA Gallery, until August 26, at ANU School of Art and Design Gallery, until September 1, and ANU Drill Hall Gallery until October 7. Reviewed by JOHN LANDT

‘Painter 2 (Melancholia in 2017)’, by Jelena Telecki

PAINTING has a long history and is a remarkably resilient element of art practice. 

In contemporary art, painting is as likely to be one element of a three dimensional installation combining multiple objects and materials, as it’s to be found on a stretched canvas hanging on the wall.

This exhibition explores some of the many ways painting is being employed by contemporary artists. It’s a large exhibition of works by 50 artists, assembled by five curators in three Canberra venues. It’s accompanied by an extensive catalogue, which includes a range of essays and colour reproductions of many of the artworks.

At the ANCA Gallery in Dickson, Oscar Capezio has assembled works by six artists. The exhibition includes works that focus on the place of the artist and of self‑reflection in today’s world, as in Jelena Telecki’s captivating work “Painter 2 (Melancholia in 2017)”. It occupies the middle space of the gallery and combines found objects such as clothing, onto which expressive facial elements are painted.

The exhibition at the ANU Drill Hall Gallery is curated by Tony Oates and includes works by eleven artists, such as some of the most highly regarded artists of recent times. The strong presence of works by renowned artists, such as “Scrape” and “Scent” from Robert Rauschenberg’s “Hoarfrost editions” of 1974, and Richard Tuttle’s “Separation (Group 4, Numbers 3 & 5), 2015” and “Pressing: Hole in the Head, VII, 2015-16”, does not overshadow the works of the other artists.

The exhibition at the ANU School of Art and Design Gallery includes works by 33 artists and is curated by Peter Alwast, Raquell Ormella and Su Yilmaz. This exhibition also includes many outstanding works, employing a wide range of materials and theoretical approaches. 

On the left as you enter the gallery, the sculptural hanging works by Mei Wilkinson “Mingler” and “Whorly‑gig” envelope the viewer in a dynamic display.

Further along the left wall, the small back-lit oil paintings on glass by Waratah Lahy, “The streets where I live”, have a mysterious presence. 

Nearby, are three colourful works by Dionisia Salas, including “Antinomy Dust”, that combine oil pastel with screen, lino and woodblock prints in collages on marbled paper. 

On the opposite wall the large work by Sally O’Callaghan “Cambodia and Singapore” is full of life and the viewer is drawn into dynamic worlds that extend onto the gallery walls. In the gallery foyer, there is a collection of fine sculptural works by Karl Stasce mounted on adjoining walls, including “Beneath”.  These works use steel, perspex, wire, string, pencil and oil and acrylic paint and are reminiscent of works by Kasemir Malevich.

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