An isolation excursion at its finest. The National Gallery of Victoria, home to the best exhibitions in Australia, has launched a live in-studio series with Australian artists and designers who have previously exhibited at the Gallery or are in the NGV collection, in conversation with NGV curators. The lineup includes Sydney artist Agatha Gothe-Snape, musician and artist Jon Campbell, iconic furniture designer Mary Featherston AM, and contemporary artist Yhonnie Scarce. “The NGV is fortunate to be surrounded by an incredibly diverse local art and design community,” said Tony Ellwood AM, Director, National Gallery of Victoria. “This series gives our audience an opportunity to connect with these artists and designers and hear their perspectives about their practice during this period of isolation.” The audience can tune into the series on Instagram Live every Wednesday at 6pm, or on demand on the NGV Channel online. See the below info on each artist before we head into their studios in the coming weeks:
Agatha Gothe-Snape invites NGV Curator of Contemporary Art, Pip Wallis to discuss her dynamic practice exploring western art history materialised through language, feelings and gestures.
Gothe-Snape’s POWERPOINTS 2008-2013, which is held in the NGV Collection, is an ongoing project exploring emotional and associative responses using Microsoft PowerPoint.
JON CAMPBELL – MAY 13
Dialling in from his home studio, Melbourne Pop artist and musician Jon Campbell will introduce works from his text-based practice influenced by Australia’s laidback culture and his upbringing in Melbourne’s Western suburbs.
“I feel lucky that I have my work to keep me busy. I think it’s important to stay connected, I like seeing what other artists are up to and there seems to be more artists sharing their practice at the moment,” said Campbell.
The NGV holds several of Campbell’s works in the Collection, notably the 85-piece installation DUNNO (T. Towels) 2012, featuring kitsch tea towels depicting suburban Australia.
YHONNIE SCARCE – MAY 20
Contemporary artist, master glass blower and Kokatha and Nukunu woman Yhonnie Scarce will join the series to share insights into her practice investigating the effects of colonisation on Indigenous people.
Scarce recently unveiled a joint project at NGV International with architecture firm Edition Office titled In Absence 2019, the winning design of the 2019 Architecture Commission. The design incorporates Scarce’s signature hand-blown glass murnong (yams).
MARY FEATHERSTON AM – MAY 27
From her home studio in Ivanhoe, pioneering interior and learning designer Mary Featherston AM will discuss her school environment focused research and design practice. In 1965, Featherston formed a trail blazing partnership with husband Grant Featherston which spanned three decades and lead to some of Australia’s most aesthetically and technically innovative furniture designs.
“At this time in my life, I’m reflecting on a lifetime in design. In social isolation, I’m reflecting on life . . . and the future,” Featherston said.
From September 1966-68, Mary and Grant Featherston completed the interior design of the new Roy Grounds designed NGV International building on St Kilda Road. The pair introduced modular furniture and user centred design to cater for the needs of Gallery visitors, staff and the NGV Collection.
Taking audiences into her studio will be Gunditjmara and Torres Strait Islander artist Lisa Waup whose practice involves weaving and printmaking. Waup’s work celebrates her ancestral connections and often incorporates natural materials.
“I think it is greatly important for artists to be able to share their stories at the moment. The world relies on creatives for entertainment, for company, for comfort – in turn we are then able to share another way to express and touch people on a different platform,” said Waup.
Use of feathers in Waup’s practice is highlighted in the NGV Collection work Cultural nesting, 2013, a cluster of woven baskets representing bird’s nests featured in the 2013 exhibition Melbourne Now.
DARREN SYLVESTER – JUNE 17
Virtually opening his Brunswick studio, multi-disciplinary artist Darren Sylvester will share an insight into his work and practice, which is known for its commentary on pop culture, music, and consumerism.
“It’s been amazing how quick the uptake has been to embrace new ways of expression. My new exhibition Balustrade Stake opens at Sullivan+Strumpf, Sydney in June and we’ve had to find other ways of working, take different directions and do it quickly,” Sylvester said.
In 2019, Sylvester’s first major Australian exhibition, Darren Sylvester: Carve A Future, Devour Everything, Become Something, was presented at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia featuring photography, installation, video and music works probing the influence of multinational brands and glorifying everyday life.
CHRISTOPHER BOOTS – JUNE 24
Melbourne lighting designer Christopher Boots will take viewers into his Fitzroy studio where he works with a team of artisan makers handcrafting decorative lighting. Boots’ practice is inspired by natural forms and references his Greek heritage through narratives of ancient mythology.
“The opportunity to continue to work and create in such times and having a platform in which to share that with others is a privilege. Sharing my insights on my work during this time means an ability to share learnings, options and possibilities of dealing with challenges and creating new ways of working that we didn’t consider before,” said Boots.
In the NGV Collection, Boots’ most recognisable design, ORP: Oblique rhombic prism 2011, emphasises simplicity and form while employing sacred geometry to create a 3D optical illusion.
Tune into @NGVMelbourne on Instagram Live every Wednesday at 6.00 pm to watch the live in-studio visits. All virtual visits will be available on-demand on NGV Channel on NGV’s websites at ngv.melbourne/channel/in-studio-artist-visits