BEN TAYLOR | PAINTINGS
15 MAY - 16 JUNE 2019
The Nancy Sever Gallery was pleased to present an exhibition of recent work by Ben Taylor, curated by Peter Haynes.
Ben Taylor was born in Sydney in 1960. He is a graduate of the Canberra School of Art and was a lecturer in Printmaking there from 1983 to 1985. He has been exhibiting throughout Australia since 1983 and his work is to be found in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the Australian National University, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Brisbane, the University of New South Wales, the Newcastle Regional Gallery, Parliament House and Artbank.
Ben Taylor has a home in the Monaro where he works in an old fettler’s cottage surrounded by decaying railway buildings. The trains no longer run. Grass grows up through the tracks and the cows are gradually pushing over the railway workers’ sheds. But it is in this unlikely setting that the artist finds escape from the pressures of the city and inspiration to nurture his artistic creativity.
Peter Haynes is an arts writer and historian, and the curator of this exhibition. He has described Ben Taylor’s present body of work as “a reinforcement of the validity of the exemplar of his restless curiosity and exploration of the rural surroundings that occupy a substantial portion of his life”.
“In the current exhibition we are presented with very particular views of parts of the sheds and other rural structures,” Peter Haynes writes. “There is a sort of naïve directness in the manner in which Taylor configures his images. The faults and flaws that characterise his decaying structures do not seem out of place........Taylor celebrates what once was while pictorializing its decay. There is however an attractive warmth imbued into these works through the artist’s use of soft atmospheric colours and the clever use of black in the outlining of the structures. Taylor has developed his pictorial language to a level of finesse and certitude that speaks of his deep attachment to place and to his concomitant attachment to the activity of painting”.
GIJA ARTISTS | CELEBRATING WARMUN AT 21
RUSTY PETERS, GORDON BARNEY, SHIRLEY PURDIE, MABEL JULI, CHURCHILL CANN, PEGGY PATRICK, TOMMY CARROLL, LINDSAY MALAY, CHARLENE CARRINGTON, DAVID COX, BERYLINE MUNG, TRACEY DOORLO RAMSAY
20 MARCH - 5 MAY 2019
To celebrate the Warmun Art Centre’s 21 years of nurturing, supporting and promoting the art of the Gija people of the remote East Kimberley region of Western Australia, the Nancy Sever Gallery presented Gija Artists | Celebrating Warmun at 21, an exhibition of the work of a group of senior artists including Gordon Barney, Tommy Carroll, Mabel Juli, Peggy Patrick, Rusty Peters and Shirley Purdie. The exhibition also features work by mid-career and emerging artists including Charlene Carrington, Tracey Ramsay, Lindsay Malay and Beryline Mung.
What connects the senior artists is an encyclopaedic knowledge of Gija Country, their skills as expert cross-cultural communicators and educators, and the desire to share their art within their own community and to audiences beyond. Exploring vast areas of the spectacular Gija Country including Bow, Ord and Turner rivers, Roogoon (Crocodile Hole) and Darrajayin (Springvale Station), these works present a rich tapestry of narratives that reveal the contemporaneity of the Ngarranggarni (Dreaming) amidst the currents of colonisation.
The paintings in this exhibition are simultaneously geographical, historical and biographical. Country is mapped with natural ochres and pigments to illustrate the present and the past: the artists’ personal lives and those of their ancestors.
The artists use painting to depict places that are hard to access, practices discontinued, knowledge shared and fond memories, so that they may endure. The landscape becomes the forum for discourse derived from and located in memory. Natural forms and geographic locations articulate cultural histories. Features in the landscape such as hills, trees, rocks, waterholes and rivers appear as motifs, but they represent the history of the land.
ARRYN SNOWBALL | MOBBED BY CLOUDS
20 FEBRUARY - 17 MARCH 2019
The Nancy Sever Gallery was pleased to welcome back Arryn Snowball with his latest exhibition Mobbed by Clouds.
Arryn was born in 1977 and graduated with first Class Honours from the Queensland College of Art in 2002. In 2008 he spent a year in residence at the Tokyo National School of Art and Music and in 2011 he was awarded a Doctorate of Visual Arts at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University. For six years he has been living and working in Berlin. As the arts writer and critic Professor Sasha Grishin has observed ‘Arryn Snowball is an artist young enough to embrace a fascination with the worlds around him and be receptive to fresh ideas and stimuli, yet old enough to have mastered a technique of painting that has subtlety and lightness of touch.’ The work in this exhibition relates to the Pacific Ocean and is part of an expansive, ongoing collaboration called Slack Water with the acclaimed Brisbane poet Nathan Shepherdson. The paintings deal with light and water, sky and horizon, surface and depths. They are also about meaning, abstract poetry and the dissolution of being. In conversations with the artist and writer Jonathan McBurnie, Arryn elaborates on his art. “Painting can slide between different orders of significance because it can be symbolic but it is also indexical. It’s material. It is made of marks. I think it is about chasing that feeling that the painting has arrived from somewhere… Somehow, suddenly the painting arrives through the process, and by the time that has happened there is something else there other than the material. Something new”.
‘As the paintings build up around me in the studio’, the artist notes, ‘some of them start to clump together into little groups. They gather associations. They find titles for themselves from the poems. Paintings are vessels for meaning. Like a bowl, they want to fill up with things no matter how much you empty them out. It seems the emptier a painting is, the greater the size of the metaphors that come to rest in it’.