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Soft Core

31 March - 14 May 2017

An exhibition of newly commissioned and recent work by 13 Australian and International artists whose work questions the fluctuating meaning of softness.

Soft Core presents artistic practices that explore the many facets of ‘softness’ - from large-scale inflatables to forms made from soft materials to materials that simply look soft. These artists are making works that demand attention.

This exhibition includes works by preeminent Australian and International artists including international superstar artist Tony Oursler; Michael Parekowhai, arguably New Zealand’s most celebrated artist; Patricia Piccinini, who famously designed the Skywhale hot air balloon; and Mikala Dwyer who courted controversy for her ritualistic excrement based performance in 2013.

The materials in this exhibition encompass air, inflatable nylon, unfired clay and plastics bags – materials that have been co-opted for their versatility and their mutability between function and emotion. Some of the works require activation – such as electricity or inflation to become whole while others inhabit their softness quietly.

In the 20th Century, artists began to disassemble the notion of traditional sculpture by adding and subtracting constructions, incorporating found objects and designating everyday items as art. These adaptive and divergent methods of form making continue today in a generation of artists who define sculpture in the negative condition: not bronze, not stone, not the macho force of the blast furnace.

The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive soft-form catalogue featuring newly commissioned writing on each of the exhibition artists by significant institutional and independent writers including Justin Paton, Lisa Slade, Anna Davis, Jason Smith, Russell Storer, Georgina Cole, Francis E Parker, Vanessa Berry, Robert Leonard and Victoria Lynn.

Softcore is curated by Micheal Do, in conjunction with Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre and is toured by Museums & Galleries of NSW.

Click here for more information.

About the artists

Tony Oursler (US)

Tony Oursler conjures bizarre characters and surreal narratives through the use of multimedia projections on 3D forms. Referencing the occult and voodoo, his puppet theatre of sorts transport his viewers into environments interlaced with black humour, irony and torment. Tony Oursler has had numerous survey exhibitions including Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Tate, London; Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Pinchuk Art Center, Kiev, Ukraine; Musée de Jeu de Paume, Paris; Kunsthaus Bregenz, Austria and Musée des Arts Contemporain.

Paul Yore (AU)

Paul Yore combines hand-woven tapestries and kitsch found objects to shape phantasmagorical imagery, saturated in psychedelic colours, playful techniques and imaginative compositions. His works draw from science, architecture and religious practice to engage with issues of gender, gay politics, the environment and capitalism.  He has exhibited at Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia, Heide Museum of Modern Art, National Gallery of Victoria, Gertrude Contemporary, Federation Square and Seoul Art Space Guemcheon. He is represented in public and private collections including Heide Museum of Modern Art, Wangaratta Art Gallery and Artbank.

Brook Andrew (AU)

Brook Andrew provokes western histories by co-opting text, historical relics, and language to unpack the realities of being Aboriginal in contemporary Australia. In doing so, his highly politicized artworks recast understandings of anthropology, historical authenticity and colonialism. In 2011 Andrew was awarded a Sidney Myer Fellowship. He has also been the recipient of the Australia Council ISCP residency, NYC (2008–09), South Project at Museo de Arte Contemporáneo residency, Santiago (2006), Australia Council for the Arts Fellowship (2001). Publications include Future Images (2010), Theme Park (2008), Current: Contemporary Art from Australia and New Zealand (2008).

Tully Moore (AU)

Tully Moore’s three-dimensional painting practice appropriates and remixes graphic devices and motifs found on street signage, logos and branding. His curious artworks often incorporate fabrics and assemblage; conjuring childhood nostalgia, playfulness and innocence. He has exhibited at Hell Gallery, FirstDraft and TCB. Moore was also the recipient of the John Vickery Scholarship and the Roger Kemp Memorial Prize in 2007 whilst studying at VCA and in 2011 was a recipient of the Australia Council Residency (Liverpool, UK). His work is in various private collections in Australia and the UK and public collections including Artbank.

Michael Parekowhai (NZ)

Michael Parekowhai is a leading New Zealand artist with a practice spanning over two decades. Working primarily in sculpture, his practice utilizes scale, humour and intrigue to comment on colonialism, popular culture and national narratives. Parekowhai was awarded an Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate Award in 2001, and is currently Professor at Auckland University's Elam School of Fine Arts. In 2011 he represented New Zealand at the Venice Biennale and most recently was the subject of a significant solo show at the Queensland Art Gallery, Gallery of Modern Art.

Tully Arnot (AU)

Tully Arnot draws wry commentaries about the ubiquity of the high tech gadgets that inform our contemporary existence. Through low-tech technologies, he crafts playful sculptures and installations that warn of the perils in experiencing the world through the devices which we most cherish. Arnot has exhibited at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (2015), Penrith Regional Gallery (2015), Brisbane Powerhouse (2015), Gallery 4A (2015) and was recipient of the inaugural NAB Private Wealth Emerging Artist Award in 2014.

Mikala Dwyer (AU)

Mikala Dwyer creates profound sculptures and installations that redefine the boundaries of materiality and form. She often uses invisible materials such as helium, clear plastics and voids in her art practice, creating art that extends the definitions of art making. Dwyer has had solo exhibitions at the Musuem of Contemporary Art, Australia (2000, 2015), Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (2012), Biennale of Sydney (1992, 2010, 2014) and has exhibited in extensively overseas in group and solo exhibition projects.

Patricia Piccinini (AU)

Patricia Piccinini maps the changing boundaries of humanity through her hybrid sculptures drawn from imagined scientific experiments. Piccinini is one of Australia’s most recognized multi-disciplinary artists and has been the subject of a number of Australian and International institutional solo exhibitions including CCBB Brasilia, Brasilia, Brazil (2016), Artinternational, Istanbul, Turkey (2015), Art Gallery of South Australia (2011), and the Australian Pavilion of the 50th Venice Biennale, (2010). She is extensively collected by state institutions including National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland Art Gallery and the Art Gallery of NSW.

Todd Robinson (AU)

Todd Robinson reimagines the inherent properties of objects by toying with colour, form and placement. In manipulating objects, such as balloons and ropes, Todd skews perceptions of gravity and common sense, creating the extraordinary from the ordinary. Select projects include CHASM Gallery, New York, USA (2015), Penrith Regional Gallery (2015), Artspace (2006, 2013), Hazelhurst Regional Gallery (2009) and Gallery 4A (2006, 2007).

Koji Ryui (AU)

Koji Ryui imbues found and everyday objects with distinct life, personality and possibilities. Ryui exhibits regularly in Australia and has featured at the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo (2013), Artspace, Sydney (2009), University of Queensland Art Museum (2012) and the Monash University Museum of Art (2011). His work features in the collection of the Art Gallery of NSW.

Kathy Temin (AU)

Kathy Temin creates experiences that are both confronting and contemplative for the viewer. Often working with overtly man-made materials, Temin softens the Minimalist art tradition, known for its use of repeating forms, geometric shapes and industrial materials, into the realm of the tactile. Temin has exhibited extensively in Australia and internationally and is currently a lecturer at the Monash University, Melbourne. Select exhibitions include 200 Gertrude Street (1991), Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne (1995), Galerie van Gelder, Amsterdam (2003), ICA, London (2004), Manifesta 1, Villa Museumpark, Rotterdam (1996) and Soft Sculpture, National Gallery of Australia (2009).

Louise Weaver (AU)

Louise Weaver renders sophisticated animal sculptures decorated with ornate crocheted, embroidered and sequined pelts that evoke folklore and enchanted fables. Weaver has a significant exhibition history both internationally and nationally and is represented in a number of major and private collections.  Select exhibitions include: Jeonbuk Museum of Art, Seoul, South Korea (2015),  Art Gallery of NSW (2015), Tarra Warra Museum of Art (2013), Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (2013), Museum of Contemporary Art Australia / National Museum of Contemporary Art, Korea (2013).

Simon Yates (AU)

Simon Yates captures the spirit of human inventiveness in his artworks, utilizing defunct technologies, found objects and readily available materials to create robots and curious inventions. Yates will be creating new work for this exhibition and has previously exhibited at the Australian Centre of Contemporary Art (2005), the Adelaide Biennial of Art (2010) and Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre (2015).

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