JCG is Open from 16 August – 15 September
The mission of the John Curtin Gallery is to bring to its audiences, both within Curtin University and well beyond, opportunities to experience and critically engage with the visual culture of our time.
With a view to exploring the infinite possibilities engendered by art, the exhibitions, events and public programs offered by the Gallery are a catalyst for thought, change and exchange. They provide a forum for examining our past and how it shapes our present, and for imagining the world of our future.
HIGHER DEGREES 19
The John Curtin Gallery is bringing together some of Western Australia’s most exciting and creative artists to exhibit the results of their artistic research projects. Culminating from studio-based and theoretical investigations into topics as diverse as built environments and overlooked spaces as well as the intrigue of secret societies, the artists are making highly distinctive work. “The artists featured in Higher Degrees 19 are at the forefront of current art practice. The quality and sheer diversity of their work is a testament to each artist’s dedication and commitment to their arts practice.” said John Curtin Gallery Director, Chris Malcolm. Higher Degrees 19, which show cases some of the most innovative art being made in Western Australia today, opens to the public on 16 August at the John Curtin Gallery and features three discrete projects by exciting emerging and mid-career artists: Kieron Broadhurst, David Ralph and Lance Ward.
Kieron Broadhurst is an artist based in Perth, WA. Through a variety of media he investigates the speculative potential of fiction within contemporary art practice. He has exhibited regularly since completing his BFA (Hons), including at Firstdraft, PSAS, Moana, Success, Cool Change Contemporary, FELTspace and Free Range.
Earth Coincidence Control Office (ECCO) tracks the existence of a secret society whose members believe they can communicate with dolphins through a language based in coincidence. Arising from the LSD-fuelled, NASA-funded experiments conducted by American scientist and psychonaut John C. Lilly in the late 1960s, this secret society continues to exist to this day, with many individuals in different locations around the world attempting to map and produce coincidences in order to communicate with one another and with dolphins. This installation is a recreation of the Fremantle office space of a member of ECCO which was discovered after his estate was purchased anonymously at auction in 2015.
David Ralph reflects on how built environments, cities and personal dwellings shape human experiences and forge identities. His paintings address the psychology of architectural interiors and what they say about the people who create them. Recent work has focused on interior portraits of the soul and psyche – of interiors that artists and musicians colonise that create an outward likeness of their inner world. After moving to Leipzig Germany in 2014, Ralph became interested in the derelict buildings artists were choosing to convert into studios, dwellings, cinemas and cafés, as former art precincts in Europe had become too gentrified and unaffordable to support artists.
David Ralph is based between Melbourne and Leipzig, Germany. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from the Victorian College of the Arts and an MA (Fine Art) from the Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. He is currently undertaking his PhD through Curtin University.
He is represented by Gallery 9 in Sydney and has work in numerous collections including the National Gallery of Victoria, Art bank, BHP Billiton, the RACV and the Gold Coast City Art Gallery.
Lance Ward was born in 1985 in Perth, Western Australia where he currently lives and works. Ward works in the medium of photography. Within this practice-led research project he investigates how formal compositional photography can be employed to create an engagement with overlooked utilitarian spaces of the city. In order to find and capture these spaces, a form of engaged exploration within the city is used. Employing approaches to walking used by the flâneur, the observational methods of Georges Perec and an understanding of the history of street photography, Ward explores and examines the city on foot. He considers the utilitarian spaces not for function but instead for the information revealed about everyday life within the city. The intrigue in these specific spaces comes from the raw information found on their surfaces, giving a sense of how these spaces are used, and giving an indication to the presence of past users of the space. Within this project, Ward has come to understand these spaces as a form of edgelands; spaces in which past histories and physical traces accumulate and tell of everyday life within the city.
COLLECTION FOCUS – Thea Costantino
Thea Costantino’s practice includes drawing, sculpture, video, photography, written works and performance. She has exhibited and undertaken residency projects within Australia, Europe, the UK and USA both in a solo capacity and collaboratively.
Broadly, Thea’s work investigates the representation and memorialisation of the past: the use and abuse of history, the continuing influence of the past on the present, and the ways in which repressed or forgotten material can resurfacein daily experience. She often explores the talismanic power of objects including photographs, which despite their ubiquity often have intense personal significance and are intimately tied to rites of memory.
Thea holds a PhD from Curtin University and undergraduate degrees in Fine Art and Literary Studies. She received a 2015 Visual Arts and Craft Mid-Career Fellowship from the WA Department of Culture and the Arts, the 2013 Hutchins Art Prize, a 2011 Qantas Foundation Encouragement of Australian Contemporary Art Award and the 2012 Artsource/Gunnery Artist Exchange. Her work is held in collections including the Art Gallery of South Australia, Art Gallery of Western Australia, The Cruthers Collection of Women’s Art, Murdoch University, John Curtin Gallery, City of Perth, and City of Joondalup.