Belem Lett: Aviary, 20 Oct – 12 Nov 2016

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In Belem Lett’s latest series of paintings, organic forms of strange elegance unfurl in richly coloured plumages. Mark-making is central to these works, rendered in glowing definition over white underpainting and ranging from precise repetition to bold, sweeping spontaneity.

Aviary is borne out of ongoing research into the 18th century Rococo movement, or late Baroque, a period known for its elaborate organic motifs and lavishness. Lett playfully mimics the symmetry found in baroque decoration, encouraging constellations of colour and gesture to read as flora or fauna. This mirroring also references Rorschach’s infamous ink-blots, designed to bridge the gap between the conscious and the unconscious mind. Lett’s energetic forms appear embryonic or in states of rhythmic transformation, dilating into fully fledged creatures or recoiling into abstract fields of colour and shape.

Lett is a graduate of UNSW Art and Design (formerly COFA), completing a Master of Fine Arts by research in 2013. In 2010 he was awarded the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship and undertook a residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris. He regularly exhibits nationally and overseas and in 2016 has been a finalist in the Chippendale New World Art Prize, Sunshine Coast Art Prize and Paddington Art Prize. He work is included in the collections of Artbank, Mirvac, Raven Contemporary and 10 Group.

Lett features in the current issue of Art Collector magazine, on sale from 9 October. Aviary is his fourth exhibition at Gallery 9.

Ed Bats, 16 Nov – 10 Dec 2016

Ed Bats’ mixed-media practice makes use of commercial and industrial materials, with an interest in the cross over between the ready-made and abstraction. Often drawing upon whatever materials are at hand, his new series of paper collages were made while staying in the Lake Hayes district on the south island of New Zealand.

Based in New Zealand, Bats works across painting, collage, sculpture and installation. He has exhibited nationally and internationally, and produced murals around New Zealand, Australia and European countries inc. Germany, Austria, Spain, Czech Republic, Poland and Croatia. Bats is a three time finalist for the Wallace Art Prize (NZ) and has numerous works housed within the Wallace Collection. Upcoming projects include a solo exhibition in Hastings, New Zealand, at Parlour Projects (2017) and a temporary installation in Fort Tekapuna for the NZ onShore sculpture festival (2016).

Lake Hayes is his first exhibition at Gallery 9.

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Louise Tuckwell: Paintings and Tapestries, 16 Nov – 10 Dec 2016

The idea of limitless combinations of colour, patterns, shapes and textures, whether simple or complex, is the starting point for Louise Tuckwell’s vibrant, non-objective works. Paintings & Tapestries comprises a new series of paintings on board accompanied by ten tapestries. Often made up of more than one individual board, each painting reveals surprises and subtle reinterpretations of Tuckwell’s distinctive abstract language. Contrastive diagonals, stripes, obtuse colour juxtapositions and perspectival shifts are enhanced by the chance assembling of separate paintings into a single work.

Tuckwell has been making tapestries for over thirty years and this will be the first time they have been shown at Gallery 9. Representing an important and time consuming aspect of her practice, Tuckwell’s warm palette and simple geometries are delicately expressed in these meticulously constructed fibre works. Seven tapestries included in this show have recently returned from a tour around Australia as part of the Tamworth Textile Triennial exhibition.

Tuckwell originally studied at the Julian Ashton Art School and later graduated from the National Art School, Sydney. She has been exhibiting her work for over 30 years in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne and has previously shown with Tim Olsen Gallery, Utopia Gallery and Damien Minton Gallery. Tuckwell is widely represented in public, private and corporate collections, including MCA Australia, Artbank, City of Sydney, New England Regional Art Museum, Tamworth Art Gallery, Bathurst Regional Gallery and Allens Linklaters. Paintings & Tapestries is her fourth exhibition at Gallery 9.

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Andrzej Zielinski: Primary Data, 20 Oct – 12 Nov 2016

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Andrzej Zielinski’s sculptures are composites of a dazzling range of materials including bronze, agate, opal, perspex and wood. Through textural contrasts, sculptural ingenuity and riotous painted colour, Zielinski invests vitality into these inert substances. His sculptures are quite unlike the ubiquitous electronic devices they represent – mobile phones, printers, laptops and shredders. With sardonic titles such as Cluster Analysing and Secure Encryption, Zielinski asks questions about the central role of technology in our lives. As Eleanor Zeichner suggests in the October issue of Art Almanac: ‘his work makes the case for a pause in progress, in favour of a version of the world more idiosyncratic than innovative, more fantastical than functional.’

After training at the School of Art Institute of Chicago with a major in painting, Zielinski went on to complete a Masters of Fine Arts at Yale University. He exhibits regularly across the United States as well as in Europe, Japan and Australia. In 2015 the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City staged his first survey exhibition, Open Sourced, with an accompanying monograph and essay by art critic for The Nation Barry Schwabsky. His work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia; Canberra Museum and Gallery; Portland Art Museum, Oregon; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas and the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Missouri.

Zielinski is currently artist in residence at the Australian National University (ANU) School of Art, Canberra. Primary Data is his third exhibition at Gallery 9

READ an exhibition preview by Eleanor Zeichner for Art Almanac

Gallery 9 at Spring 1883, 17–21 Aug 2016

On 17 August Gallery 9 will open the door to room #218 at the historic Windsor Hotel, Melbourne. Presenting painting by MICHELLE HANLIN, JULIAN HOOPER, MATTHEW HOPKINS, BELEM LETT, TONY LLOYD, TONEE MESSIAH, DAVID RALPH, MARK RODDA, LOUISE TUCKWELL, JAKE WALKER and video work by PETER ALWAST and ROBIN HUNGERFORD.

Through its intervention into a hotel’s context, Spring 1883 sees the traditional art fair model replaced with a boutique site for dialogue and interaction between galleries, artists and collectors. Conceived by galleries for galleries, participation in Spring 1883 is through personal invitation, allowing the project to evolve out of shared conceptual engagements.

Spring 1883 is free and open to the public:
18–21 August
Thursday–Saturday, 12pm–6pm
Sunday, 12pm–4pm
111 Spring St, Melbourne

For more information visit the Spring 1883 website

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9 ALMOST 10: Group Show, 31 Aug – 17 Sept 2016

Since opening its doors on 28 October 2006, Gallery 9 has presented over 180 exhibitions, maintaining an exciting program that keeps artistic experimentation at the foundation of its curatorial approach. 9 almost 10 celebrates the first ten years of Gallery 9, representing the rich and varied artistic voices that make up the gallery stable.

Gallery 9 would like to acknowledge and thank all the artists who have contributed to our diverse program and we thank our supporters, friends and curators who visit the gallery.

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Michael Bennett: Present Tense, 21 Sept – 15 Oct 2016

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Michael Bennett’s first solo exhibition at Gallery 9 presents what he calls the ‘visual evidence’ of his studio-based experimentations. Taking basic forms from the world around him, he geometrically reduces them through a considered response to the immediacy of the painting process. Information is spontaneously added and subtracted, building elemental compositions that draw focus to subtle relationships between texture, shape and colour of paint and the translucency and direction of its application.

Born in 1987, Michael Bennett is a self-taught interdisciplinary artist working between painting, sculpture and installation. He divides his time between Sydney and Berlin and exhibits widely in Europe. Projects in 2016 include: The future will be different, Mini Galerie, Amsterdam; Contemporary Perception, Galleri Bernoni, Copenhagen and a residency and solo exhibition at Lapua Cultural Centre, Finland.

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Suzie Idiens: Neutral Ground, 21 Sept – 15 Oct 2016

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Suzie Idiens’ meditative new series quietly contests the boundaries between painting and object, surface and depth, colour and the monochrome.

Neutral Ground comprises eight sculptural wall-mounted panels. These simplified forms are layered with various tints of soft grey paint. Each object is seamless, as if industrially fabricated. They gently occupy space and superficially achieve a lightness and neutrality that encourages their own invisibility. Upon closer looking, complexities emerge: shadows gather weight, colours deepen, and tones shift as you move around each piece.

Idiens’ reductive investigations direct us towards the power of our perceptive capabilities. She challenges the concept of neutrality and invites us to see more in the most minimal of surfaces. Her highly reflective finishes cleverly illuminate the challenge: their liquid-like purity return the viewer’s own self-image, while at the same time encourage a view beyond the surface membrane, into limitless depths of colour and paint.

Born in the UK, Idiens studied art and design at the Royal College of Art, London. Since emigrating to Sydney in 2006 she has exhibited in Berlin, Sydney and London as well as the Melbourne Art Fair and Art Stages, Singapore. She is currently showing in Visions of Utopia, a historical survey of Australian non-objective art at the Wollongong Art Gallery.

Neutral Ground is Idiens’ third solo exhibition with Gallery 9.

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David Lawrey and Jaki Middleton: Open Sky, 28 Jul – 20 Aug 2016

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Open Sky is an exhibition of new video work and photographs by David Lawrey & Jaki Middleton, based upon a fictionalised account of John Henry Pepper’s ‘cloud compelling’ experiment, which took place in 1882 at Brisbane’s Eagle Farm racecourse.

Pepper is perhaps best know for his contribution in developing and popularising the theatrical illusion ‘Pepper’s Ghost’ which Lawrey & Middleton have used to great effect in a number of previous works; however he was also a passionate scientist and educator. For this exhibition, the artists have chosen to delve into Pepper’s life in Australia, drawing parallels between the illusion he popularised and his own delusions of grandeur.

As the narration of Open Sky reports the story of Pepper’s arrival in Australia, his tour of ‘the ghost’ across the country and the manifestation of his rainmaking experiment – the visuals slowly alternate between a scene of endless clouds and a drought-stricken landscape. It soon becomes apparent that the scenes are made from hand-fabricated miniature sets, manipulated in various ways to create impressions of depth and scale. Open Sky blurs the boundaries between film, sculpture and installation, revealing the artifice of a reality in which every certainty may well be false.

David Lawrey & Jaki Middleton are Sydney-based artists who have worked collaboratively since 2005. The artists have undertaken residencies in Paris, London, Los Angeles and New York, and their work is held in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Wollongong Art Gallery and Macquarie Group.

Open Sky is Lawrey & Middleton’s third exhibition with Gallery 9. In 2015 the artists held their first survey exhibition, Between Worlds at Hawkesbury Regional Gallery. Other recent exhibitions include Mind the Gap at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in 2014, Living in the Ruins of the Twentieth Century at UTS Gallery, Sydney; The Hunt at Gallery 9, Sydney (both 2013); Time & Vision at the Bargehouse Gallery, London in 2012; and Otherworldly at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York in 2011, which subsequently toured to MUba – Eugène Leroy,Tourcoing, France in 2012.

Peter Nelson: Things that look like rocks, 28 Jul – 20 Aug 2016

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Peter Nelson’s latest exhibition results from the interplay of two very different creative processes. Working with computer graphics by day as part of his PhD research at the School of Creative Media in Hong Kong, Nelson found the need to digitally ‘switch off’ at night and engage with the task of painting, which he originally trained in.

Things that look like rocks comprises of five works of ink on paper. The compressed landscape orientation of the works and vast areas of negative space reference traditional Chinese scroll painting. Drifting across these sparse surfaces are ambiguous sculptural shapes variously resembling rocks, mountains and clouds. The forms also recall Scholar’s stones – rock formations traditionally appreciated for their awkward symmetries and natural textures. Looking more closely, each painting is softly gridded on a perspectival plane, identical to the grids used in the production of 3D computer renderings. In some works, fragments of skyscrapers, synonymous with the contemporary landscape, are accurately inserted into the grid. These neat constructions contrast with the gnarled, rock-like forms that spill over the gridded lines.

In these paintings Nelson creates a delicate fusion of contemporary and traditional worlds. He points to the rationalised urbanism at odds with organic form. More specifically, he addresses the dominance of the virtual over the directly experienced, and the gap between these two modes of engagement. Nelson describes the looseness, tactility and unpredictability of painting as another way of thinking, and a vital means of extending his creativity in the digital realm:

‘The sensation of painting, and the ways the materials, ink, brush, pen and paper interact with one another, and how this works as a form of thinking, was then a different tactile memory I could remind myself of when I went back to the digital process.’

For Nelson, painting is an essential corrective to his methodical production on the computer. An investigation into classical Chinese art and philosophy is another complimentary countermeasure. As much an exploration of the relationship of the analogue to the digital, Nelson’s practice is a meditation on the rich contradictions of the country and culture in which he has chosen to reside.

Peter Nelson studied painting and drawing at UNSW Art & Design and graduated with Honours, the University Medal for Fine Arts and a Masters by Research. He has been an artist in residence at Red Gate Gallery (Beijing), Cite Internationale Des Arts (Paris), Taipei Artist Village (Taipei), Organhaus (Chongqing) and Serial Space (Sydney). He has held solo exhibitions in Sydney, Taipei, Hong Kong and Chongqing. He is currently undertaking a PhD at the School of Creative Media, Hong Kong, specialising in the interaction between landscape art history and computer games.