Elvis Richardson Releases ‘The Countess Report’ Examining Male and Female Representation in Australian Art

Elvis Richardson’s blog CoUNTess: Women count in the art-world has published data on gender representation in Australian contemporary visual arts since 2008. Its data-collecting activities provide hard evidence of the need for – and add substantial traction to – action by women artists working to bring gender equality to art education, art practice and contemporary art culture. It is frequently cited.

Responses to gender inequality in contemporary art have increased internationally over the past few years. They include influential New York critic Jerry Saltz’s ongoing commentary on gender statistics, The East London Fawcett Group’s Great East London Art Audit, a data collection project focusing on London contemporary art galleries in 2012, the 2014, Gallery Tally in which Los Angeles artist Micol Hebron asked artists to submit posters visualising the gender representation of commercial galleries then exhibited them online, and the continuing artistic activism of the US-based Guerrilla Girls and Pussy Galore. All these projects have used statistics about unequal gender representation to question how notions of quality and taste apply in determining artistic merit and success.

The Countess Report is a benchmarking project and online resource on gender equality in the Australian contemporary art sector. Put together by Elvis Richardson, it compiles and analyses data on education, prizes, funding, art media, organisational makeup, and exhibitions of various kinds across a wide range of galleries including national and State, regional, commercial, ARIs (Artist Run Galleries), and CAOs (Contemporary Art Spaces). The Countess Report is based on publically available data collected from websites, exhibition catalogues, magazines and media in the calendar year 2014, chosen because the data set is recent, complete and still readily available. Detailed findings now available in The Countess Report offer evidence not previously available and provide a test case sample for future benchmarking.

The project has been designed as a public resource in the form of a website where the base collated data is presented. The results of this data are also available in summary form in this report. The project raises questions rather than provides answers, although this report does contain preliminary findings and initial recommendations for future research and activities.

The Countess Report was conducted by Elvis Richardson, through the initiative and research funding of the Cruthers Art Foundation and assistance provided by NAVA, an Advisory Committee and other paid and unpaid assistants.

See coverage here: Sydney Morning Herald, The Guardian

William Mackinnon’s ‘Internal Weather’ in The Adelaide Review

Jane Llewellyn reviews William Mackinnon’s Internal Weather for The Adelaide Review, now at Hugo Michell Gallery:

““I really want to get across my experience and the feelings associated with these places,” Mackinnon says. “It’s not really representational of a place; it’s almost more a psychological feeling of going somewhere or leaving.””

Read more here!

Lisa Roet’s ‘Heart Beat’

Lisa Roet ‘s Heart Beat is now exhibiting at the Australian Experimental Art Foundation, until 2 April.

Berlin-based Rachel Vance writes in the catalogue: “Her large-scale, theatrical projection Heart Beat (2014-16) confronts audiences with an enlarged three-dimensional projection of a human heart. The mesmerising accompanying soundtrack—a collaboration with musician Charlie Owen—echoes the pulsating beat of the heart, drawing gallery visitors into the depths of a simulated corporeal cavity.

Heart Beat is an example of Roet’s fascination with ideas of isolation and comparison. The animated heart, created with cutting-edge Musion technology—a three-dimensional holographic technology—is in fact a simulation of a hybrid heart. Animated by science animator Drew Berry, the image itself, derived from echocardiogram and MRI footage of the artist’s own heart, is imperceptibly amalgamated with imagery from a gorilla’s heart. Part animal, part human. The gorilla footage was sourced from a research team studying heart health as part of the International Primate Heart Project at Cardiff University in Wales. Such comparative exploration relates directly to Roet’s previous examination of the ‘humanzee’; a hypothetical interspecies human-chimpanzee hybrid.”

Heart Beat is accompanied by a second installation, We Are Animal, part of the result of the artist’s ongoing collaboration with leading Chinese artist Shen Shaomin.

Read more from Vance on Roet and view the catalogue here.

This project has been supported by The International Primate Heart Project based at Cardiff Metropolitan University, Arts Victoria, Melbourne Heart Care and the Adelaide Festival of Arts.

Janet Laurence’s ‘H2O: Water Bar’ in Art Guide

Thanks to Art Guide for their write-up on our Janet Laurence’s latest project, H20: Water Bar!

Janet says of the project:

““It’s funny how in Australia we’ve got that reaction, that we’ve got plenty here and we’re OK. Our water is so fragile, and so much of our water has been affected by industrialisation and mining. People don’t realise it’s their drinking water that’s being affected in that way.”

In 2006 Toowoomba residents voted against having recycled wastewater pumped into their homes. “The people objected to it because they thought it was dirty,” she says. “That’s total ignorance. That’s just how we are here. We’re like that with food. We don’t realise things can run short very quickly.””

Read the interview and article in full here!

Hugo Michell Gallery Open: William Mackinnon & Toby Pola

You are invited to the first exhibition opening at Hugo Michell Gallery for 2016, for William Mackinnon’s ‘Internal Weather’, and Toby Pola’s ‘Uniform Choice’.

William Mackinnon presents ‘Internal Weather’, a series of new paintings examining abiding themes of home, coastal Australia, and journeys physical and psychological. These large-scale works, with their bold compositions and manipulations of paint, deserve contemplation in the flesh, revealing small patterns within the landscape. Mackinnon continues to make a strong name for himself as a contemporary Australian painter, garnering widespread national and international attention. We are thrilled to present his second solo show at Hugo Michell Gallery – his first as a represented artist.

In Toby Pola’s new series of sculptures, the artist plays with our perception of material through a honed understanding of woodcarving. The works read as a black comedy, referring to a youth rich in skate culture, street art and irony. ‘Uniform Choice’ invites viewers to delve into Pola’s calculated world of altered objects and wit.

We’d love you to join us in celebrating a fantastic start to the year. See you there!

Sera Waters Joins Hugo Michell Gallery as a Represented Artist

Hugo Michell Gallery is thrilled to announce that Sera Waters has joined its roster of represented artists!

Waters is an Adelaide-based artist whose mixed-media soft-sculpture works are imbued with a dark and emotive meticulousness. Waters thinks of her practice as a process of “exorcising fears”; a way to work through the ideas, attitudes and stories that underpin our lives and often go unexamined. She is a master of her trade – especially of needlework and embroidery – and the extensive time and labour required by her practice mirrors her devotion to its narrative explorations and conceptual concerns.

Waters first showed at Hugo Michell Gallery in 2015, with Spectre Folk. We can’t wait to exhibit more of her spectacular work!

Have a look at her artist profile here.

Lisa Roet’s ‘Golden Monkey’ Collaboration Unveiled as Part of ‘White Night Melbourne’

Lisa Roet’s Golden Monkey, a collaboration with Inflatable Design and Felipe Reynolds, will be unveiled on Saturday 20 February at 7pm at the Melbourne Town Hall, as part of White Night Melbourne. Golden Monkey has been supported by the City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program.

Works from Justine Varga’s ‘Accumulate’ Series Acquired by the National Gallery of Australia

Three works from Justine Varga’s Accumulate series have been acquired by the National Gallery of Australia!

EdgeEnter and Exit (Red state) are now on display at the NGA as part of Australian Art Now.

Congratulations to Justine on this most exciting acquisition!

Artists Announced in the Fleurieu Art Prize 2016

The Fleurieu Art Prize, the richest landscape prize in the world, will present a diverse selection of artists working across multiple-media celebrating Australian landscape. Established in 1998, this non-acquisitive prize is valued at $65,000 and will be the first time the prize has been exhibited in the CBD. The exhibition will take place at the Samstag Museum of Art, running from 3 June to 29 July 2016.

The winner will be announced at the launch on the 2nd of June and judging panel includes: Nigel Hurst, Director, Saatchi Gallery London; Suhanya Raffel, Deputy Director and Director of Collections, Art Gallery of New South Wales; and Erica Green, Director, Samstag Museum of Art.

A huge congratulations to Narelle Autio, Ildiko Kovacs, Janet Laurence, Richard Lewer, William Mackinnon, Sera Waters and Amy Joy Watson who have all been shortlisted for the prize!

For more details and a full list of participating artists, click here.

Janet Laurence’s ‘H2O: Water Bar’

Janet Laurence’s latest project will be exhibiting in Sydney from 13 to 28 February from 6 to 9pm at Paddington Reservoir Gardens:

“Sydney’s latest must-visit tasting bar is serving something more precious than vintage French bubbles or Japanese whiskey: our natural water supply.

H2O: Water Bar is a reflective, glassy glistening installation by Janet Laurence that allows you to sample a variety of water sourced from diverse regions of Australia.

Outfitted like an apothecary or laboratory, H2O: Water Bar is set amongst the heritage industrial space of the Paddington Reservoir Gardens’ inner chamber, opened to the public especially for this installation.

Australia’s identity is forever tied to our relationship with water, from the waterholes used as weapons during the colonial era, to the long droughts that affect our regional communities, and the environmental threats to the future of Australia’s ground water. By inviting you to experience the qualities of different Australian waters, H2O: Water Bar helps us to better understand the complexity and fragility of this vital resource.”

Read more about the project here and here!