Artereal is excited to present Millennium Cherry, an optimistic vision of the future of the Australian contemporary art landscape. Featuring the works of a number of emerging artists, the show celebrates the next generation of talent from Sydney’s National Art School.
If you take a walk not far from the National Art School through the Royal Botanical Gardens, you’ll glimpse the vivid pink petals of the Millennium Cherry tree. Much like our talented artists, the Millennium Cherry was cultivated right here in Sydney. The flowers are a hybrid of other varieties, better adapted to thrive in our Australian climate.
In a time where collective revaluation and contemplation are experiencing renewed regard, the talents of these artists are obvious. Each artist, in their own way, has turned their gaze towards the disused and disregarded fringes of our visual and material culture. Flexible of mind and adaptable in their approach, these artists and their practices are as radiant and resilient as the Millennium Cherry.
For Artists like Mungo Howard, the frayed and fractured veneers of our everyday lived environment become bright, bold readymade paintings. By employing photographic and printmaking processes, Mungo creates considered compositions evocative of the language of abstraction. Likewise, Sadie Whelan uses energetic and playful mark making to amplify the serendipitous beauty of these same spaces. Sadie’s paintings, which often make use of found materials, celebrate discarded traces of our existence.
Others, like printmaker Taylor Steel, repurpose our disposable visual culture. Guided by process, Steel filters found images through multiple digital and traditional printmaking methods to create vibrant abstractions. Eschewing traditional printmaking materials, Steel instead prints onto concrete slabs endowing the experiments with an unwavering permanence. Clare Wigney, on the other hand, looks to highlight the tension between the physical and the immaterial that permeates all contemporary visual culture. Clare uses the language of our digital age, the pixel, to create painterly eulogies for long disused corners of cyberspace.
Often depicting moss, fungus and other microbial forms, painter Jess Callen seeks to magnify the beauty and substance found in even the smallest microcosms. Concerned with universal patterns, particularly those found in nature, Jess’s surreal compositions present the natural world as a living network of interconnected organisms, forms and qualities.
Calling our attention to similarly undervalued fragments of our existence, Emily Ebbs uses spontaneous scribbles and energetic mark making to create vigorous abstractions. She works on unprimed canvas using thin acrylic washes that highlight the materiality of the painting, Emily’s work recalls a youthful nostalgia and asks us to re-evaluate the importance of child-like play. For Ceramicist Grace Farmilo, her Synesthetic experiences offer her a unique perspective of our sonic surroundings. Working from a collection of her own field recordings, Grace’s intricate ceramic experimentations sculpt sounds and frequencies into material form.
Defined by their remarkable abilities to reinvent and repurpose elements of our fractured existence these artists and their practices are blossoming during these turbulent times. Through invention and adaptation they are creating new methods of presenting their work outside traditional gallery norms, painting a hopeful picture of the future of Australia’s rapidly evolving contemporary art landscape.
A Sydney-based painter currently studying a Master of Fine Art at the National Art School, Jessica Callen’s work explores universal patterns, particularly those found in nature. Often depicting magnifications of botanical life, consisting of fungus, moss and other microbial forms to emphasize the importance of even the smallest microcosms and present the natural world as a living network of interconnected organisms, forms and qualities.
Currently completing her third year of a Bachelor of Fine Art at the National Art School, Sydney-based painter Emily Ebbs creates abstract works incorporating forms of child-like play and recalling youthful nostalgia. Using spontaneous mark making and meditative forms of colour, Emily works on un-primed canvas with acrylic washes, leaving the materiality of the work exposed.
A Sydney based ceramicist currently completing her Bachelor of Fine Art at the National Art School. Grace Farmilo’s practice explores the importance of sound as an experience. Working from field recordings, Grace uses her synesthesia to create sculptural ceramic works based on her visual experience of sound.
Mungo Howard’s multimedia practice takes as its inspiration the abstract compositions within the urban environment, appropriating these readymade paintings through a contemporary approach to printmaking and low relief sculpture. He is a current Master of Fine Art student at the National Art School, and recent Bachelor of Fine Art (Painting) graduate. He was also the 2019 recipient of the Mark Henry Cain Memorial Travel Scholarship to the United Kingdom. Mungo Howard is currently working towards an upcoming solo exhibition at Robin Gibson Gallery in Sydney.
Currently in her final year at the National Art School where she is completing a Bachelor of Fine Art, Taylor Steel’s practice of contemporary printmaking aims to stray from the traditions of print on paper. Primarily working with an archive of photographs or found materials, Steel uses computer programs, scanners and printers to alter these images through a process of abstraction. Reproduced and viewed as new images, they explore the ambiguity of print. Her work creates a material dialogue between personal, digital and physical archives.
Sadie Whelan grew up in Auckland, New Zealand and moved to Sydney in 2018 where she is currently completing her third year of a Bachelor of Fine Art degree at the National Art School. Incorporating painting, drawing and assemblage, her interest in the blurring of the lines between art and life greatly informs her practice, and lends to her work a focus on the presence and absence of human traces; the beauty of the unintentional and the visual language of the urban environment
A Sydney-based painter studying a Master of Fine Art at the National Art School. Drawing on visual imagery found in long discarded corners of the internet, Clare Wigney utilises the language of digital representation, the pixel, to highlight the tension between the physical and immaterial that permeates all contemporary visual culture.
Angus Neil – Curator
Angus Neil graduated in 2019 with a Bachelor of Fine Art from the National Art School. In early 2020 he began an internship at Artereal, an opportunity that led to this show. Trained as a practicing contemporary artist with a focus on painting, Angus is currently exploring a potential career as an arts worker. As an aspiring curator Angus is particularly interested in supporting emerging voices having curated five editions of Crossroads, a celebration of budding artists and performers in unconventional gallery spaces.