Benjamin Armstrong has eschewed paint for ink in a number of his works over the years. His first exhibition at Tolarno Galleries in 2007 included sets of linocuts printed in metallic pigments on hand dyed paper, framed under etched glass. A few years later, he showed Chinese ink and watercolour pictures.
Now there are large linocuts printed onto stretched polyester and his studio doubles as a showroom for this online exhibition. Under the Southern Sky comprises eight works. The images, as Quentin Sprague observes in his catalogue essay: Contact Images, are “Australian in character… not the quasi-mythical construction embodied by notions of ‘mateship’ and a ‘fair go’, but the more foundational character imparted upon us by this country’s history, by the shockwaves of colonisation.”
The compositions are partly inspired by tales of first contact – in particular, Bruce Pascoe’s story telling in Cape Otway: Coast of Secrets (co-authored with Lyn Harwood in 1997). Delving into the past, Benjamin Armstrong, in this powerful and captivating series, offers his imaginative take on the story of ‘first contact.’ It’s a very distinctive reading of cross-cultural junctures that leads into highly nuanced works. Chameleon pigments shift and change like shot silk; colours alter miraculously as light plays over their surfaces. “This is history as magic realism.”
Image: Benjamin Armstrong Shear I 2020. Linocut, pigments & binder on polyester, 134 x 150 x 3.5 cm
“We should remind ourselves, from time to time, that despite what goes on in the world, the best in art always recommends the truth and its sometimes complex and ambiguous nature. As Plato said ‘beauty is the splendor of truth.’ ” – Bill Henson, 1 May 2020
Visit the online viewing space to see three new works from Bill Henson.
Image: Bill Henson Untitled 2010-20 RC SH47 N32C (2010–20), archival inkjet pigment print, 127 x 180 cm (paper size)
Our online program continues with a new feature highlighting the distinctive voice of Amos Gebhardt and focusing on one project: Evanescence an expansive, ambitious video originally shown at the 2018 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Divided Worlds at Art Gallery of South Australia, and a photography series. These works are available for the first time. Click here for all the details, online until 28 May 2020.
“…while our eyes are trained to focus on the human form, sustained viewing of ‘Evanescence’ reveals an anti-hierarchical treatment of the bodies and the landscapes. The human forms are reduced in the composition, a tactic that disrupts the Anthropocentric belief in our significance. How small we are against the immensity of time, and of the natural world.” – Joanna Kitto, Associate Curator at Samstag Museum.
Image: Amos Gebhardt Evanescence 2018, 4 channel, 4K video installation with multi-channel sound, 34 minutes (loop). Installation shot by Saul Steed, courtesy 2018 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: Divided Worlds, Art Gallery of South Australia.