14 AUG – 7 SEPT 2013
“Lookers may well be confronted by the minimalism of these pictures (Liquid Data and Five Lines) - they actually reference works I did almost 20 years ago … (They) are also crystallisations from the big bang/singularity (molten lava - background radiation - liquid nails) work and follow in Helen’s Leg’s footsteps in reducing the glazed pigment pictures into fossilised moments of pictorial thinking, the glaze and hue simultaneously formed in a one act painting. The de-compositional structures in the gold leaf works have also aided the transformation towards a singular structure of absolute conveyance.”
– what, Sydney, April 2013
What’s practice has encompassed painting, performance, sculpture and installation and often critiques the role of art and the artist in contemporary society. His work draws on his own life, popular culture, art, music, politics and religion and often provokes controversy as well as humour. In 2007, Sebastian Smee (formerly of The Australian, currently Boston Globe) remarked “what is fearless.” A key aspect to what’s work is interrogating the limits of materials and his diverse use of sometimes unconventional materials was demonstrated in What: Large Art 1720 - 2009, what’s survey exhibition held at the National Art School in 2009. At the show, Mike Parr declared that what’s Instrument for Measuring the Universe 2002-2004 “one of the masterpieces of Australian art.”
What is a graduate of the National Art School, Sydney, and holds a Master of Arts from the University of Western Sydney. His recent solo shows have been held at the National Art School, Campbelltown Art Centre, Wollongong Art Gallery, Gallery 9 and Block Projects, Melbourne. what has participated in group exhibitions at Perth Institute of Contemporary Art, Firstdraft Gallery and MOP Projects as well as internationally. He has been a finalist in the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize and the winner of the Fisher’s Ghost Art Award in 2002. what has formerly held artist residencies in Basel, Switzerland; in Wollongong; and at the Arts NSW Gunnery Studio Residency, Sydney. In 2012 he curated Near Earth Art at the Wollongong Art Gallery and was featured in the 18th Biennale of Sydney satellite exhibition, Transmission at the Campbelltown Arts Centre. His large gold leaf works hung at the centre of Contemporary Painting staged by Gallery 9 at fortyfivedownstairs in Melbourne in May 2013.