Tonee Messiah: Over Considered, 17 Feb – 5 Mar 2016

Opening Wednesday 17 Feb 2016, 6–8pm

Gallery 9 welcomes back Tonee Messiah for her eighth solo exhibition: Over Considered.

Messiah begins each work by spontaneously painting in a solid ground. This ground is then built on, with various hard and soft forms overlapping and intersecting in an archeological drift. The effect is one of movement and agitation, closure and expansion, drawing the viewer towards the inner sub-structure of the painting.

For Messiah, this new series is a reflection on the chaotic and artificially ‘harvested’ nature of our contemporary identities. Her shifting, variegated surfaces indicate a psychological restlessness. However, the invitation to move beyond surface drama, towards the uncluttered centre, is always there. Messiah treats the silently structuring understory of a painting as a metaphor for the authentic self.

These works are a visual reflection on a society that is at odds with itself, which has lost the confidence to navigate the difficult task of honesty and authenticity. Our experiences are shared as social currency before they are understood; our identities are constructed and reimagined without reflection or comprehension. What importance do we place on connections between experience and understanding? The images that arise in this body of work are reflections on a generation that confuses acute consideration with deep thought. The varied visual language of composition and style allude to the haphazard harvesting nature of our self-creation, the choices we make about our identity are informed by aesthetic whimsy and stylistic fluidity. Now more than ever, being what you are rather than who you are requires over consideration.
Tonee Messiah, January 2016


Tonee Messiah is an honours graduate of Sydney College of the Arts (2004) whom Pulizer Prize winning critic, Sebastian Smee (The Boston Globe, The Australian), in 2007 identified as one of the nation’s most interesting young artists. In 2015 she was a finalist in the Hazelhurst Works on Paper and Paddington Art Prizes. Her work is held in the Monash University Museum of Art as well as in numerous corporate and private collections.

Paul Snell: Formal, 17 Feb – 5 Mar 2016

Opening Wednesday 17 Feb 2016, 6–8pm

For his second exhibition at Gallery 9, Paul Snell continues his examination of the possibilities of abstraction and minimalism in photo-media. Snell describes this new work as purely formal and self-referential in its intentions:

I invite the viewer to drift among primal and tonal aesthetic matter, creating a sensory experience of inner contemplation and transcendence. It investigates the transformation of photographic modes of production and the manipulation and exploitation of data to invent new visual forms. It is the disassembling and reconfiguration of images of reality into coloured bands. These pieces are not representations of certain realities; they are their own reality and involve furthering the concepts of reduction (of form, space, line and material) and the effect of colour as visual signature. By developing these concepts, I am inviting the viewer into the space for a contemplative experience with the work. My aim is to create a phenomenological experience of each location that potentially overwhelms or transcends its physicality. 

Paul Snell graduated from The Tasmanian School of Art in 1989 and later completed Honours there in 1995 also being admitted to the Deans Roll of Excellence. In 2010 he travelled and researched in London and New York and in 2011 was awarded his Master of Creative Arts from the University of Tasmania. Snell has taught art for the past 20 years and maintaining his own practice throughout, he has exhibited widely solo and group exhibitions in Tasmania, Victoria, NSW, Queensland and in New York. Most recently he has staged solo shows with Colville Gallery, Jan Manton, Edmund Pearce and at 146 Artspace. His work is held in numerous private and public collections including Artbank. In 2015 he was the winner of the $25,00 Whyalla Art Prize. 


Simon Blau & Jelle van den Berg: CO-OP, 20 Jan – 13 Feb 2016

Opening Wednesday 27 January 2016, 6–8 pm

CO-OP brings together the most recent paintings of Simon Blau and Jelle van den Berg, who have maintained a friendship and working relationship for over three decades.

Van den Berg explains that their chosen title for the exhibition, an abbreviation of ‘cooperative’, is ‘in some way a reaction to the high level of importance given to the individual, to bring it down a notch in favour of the shared experience in the group.’ Their preference for a communal approach to art-making emphasises the value of the shared language that can develop among artists. Between them they have swapped over thirty paintings – a wordless exchange of ideas translated into material form.

Both artists respond to the physical world around them and the things that make up their everyday – the studio, the sea, the view from a window. These external references slide in and out of vision after a complex process of abstraction. Together their work addresses the endlessly abstract nature of reality and the self, revealing the remarkable intricacies that lie beneath our common-sense perceptions.