Tachisme is Justine Varga’s first exhibition at Tolarno Galleries. The winner of the Dobell Drawing Prize (2019) and Olive Cotton Award for Photographic Portraiture (2017), Varga’s new works rupture any clear distinction between photography and painting.

The negatives from which these photographs derive were smeared and stained with pigment during their long exposures. Justine Varga has always seen her photography as a drawing with light, or more literally as a light-sensitive substrate on which she makes marks or allows the world to leave its own marks.

These photographs make visible an art practice that is at once physical and chemical, autobiographical and contingent, painterly and photographic. Tachisme is a critical rumination on inscription, meaning and knowledge.

An exhibition of PHOTO 2021
International Festival of Photography
18 February – 7 March 2021

Image: Justine Varga Vicissitude 2018-19, chromogenic photograph, 151.5 x 121 cm (framed size), edition of 5 + 2 AP



Visit Shoegazer Online Viewing Space

Shoegazer, a diverse group of drawings made by Andrew Browne during the extended Melbourne COVID-19 lockdown, is a playful allusion to that sub-genre of indie rock, Shoegaze, but more so to the attention one pays to subjects and prompts found close at hand… almost underfoot. These somewhat introspective images are tender and intuitive encounters with observation, composition and mood.

Image: ANDREW BROWNE Shoegazer (wharf) 2020, pencil on Moulin Du Gue paper, image size 37.5 x 26 cm, paper size: 76 x 56.5 cm


Sydney Contemporary presents 2020 (online)

Tolarno Galleries is pleased to participate in the online event Sydney Contemporary presents 2020 with new works by A&A, Brook Andrew, Andrew Browne, Amos Gebhardt and Ben Quilty.

Pictured: A&A Klaatu, tallboy. Custom dyed rye straw, birch ply, brass, 160 (h) x 42.5 (w) x 42.5 (d) cm, unique.


memory scars, dreams and gardens

This will be the first Judy Watson exhibition at Tolarno Galleries since 2016.

Read the catalogue essay by Katina Davidson.

memory scars, dreams and gardens precedes the TarraWarra Museum of Art exhibition Looking Glass: Judy Watson and Yhonnie Scarce, opening 28 November 2020 to 8 March 2021.

Image: Judy Watson memory scar, cable tie, nut 2020, indigo, acrylic, graphite and linen thread on canvas, 176 x 90 cm

stitching by: Dorothy Watson

[daily confirmed COVID-19 deaths in Australia March 14 – April 23, May 25 2020, graph source: Crikey]


Night Horse

Online Viewing Space

Night Horse examines the powerful currents between horses as they negotiate consent and desire during mating season. The viewer is drawn inside the kinetic swirl of the herd where hooves, flicking tails, and outstretched limbs offer an intimate encounter across the species divide. Shot in the heat of a February summer’s night, on the artist’s birthday, the charged atmosphere is palpable.

Modern equine reproduction is now often a supervised insemination process, or between a mare and stallion who are performing on cue. Night Horse captures a rarely seen ritualised courtship, where the protagonists experience heightened states of being ‘for themselves’. Gebhardt says, “The images are raw, showing the mess of body fluids and muscle, giving vivid dimensions to the physical language of the body as an archive of story, to suggest a dramatic arc in horse terms.”

Image: AMOS GEBHARDT Crest 2019, archival inkjet pigment print, 122 x 163 cm, edition of 5 + 2 AP


TV Week 1980-1985

Online Viewing Space

A new series of small abstract paintings by Peter Atkins, playing on cultural memories of small screen heroes and villains from the 1980s.

Image: Peter Atkins ‘Why Jack Thompson Posed Nude / Inside Kamahl’s Sydney Mansion’ 2019, acrylic on board, 28 x 21 cm, 51.5 x 41.5 cm framed

Download the TV Week 1980-1985 catalogue essay and full list of works


Parallel Universe

Online Viewing Space

If a painting is a portal to another dimension, then the canvases of Tim Johnson are magic carpets, each one an invitation to embark on a voyage through the acclaimed Sydney-based artist’s personal cosmology. Revealing his sustained interest in Buddhism and other Eastern traditions, these serenely composed constellations of figures, objects and symbols inhabit an exalted space free from everyday concerns.

Johnson’s first show in five years with Tolarno Galleries, which has represented him since 1987, Parallel Universe brings together twelve new paintings, five of them made in collaboration with Daniel Bogunovic, a self-taught artist who lives in Los Angeles.

Image: Tim Johnson Thredbo River 2020, acrylic on linen, 101 x 137 cm

Download the exhibition essay by Tony Magnusson.

Watch the exhibition video featuring Tim Johnson in a rare glimpse inside the studio with curator-at-large Tony Magnusson. Our thanks to Thirdrow Films.


Four new works

Online Viewing Space

Tolarno Galleries is very pleased to present a suite of four new Brent Harris works in the Online Viewing Space in July 2020, direct from the studio.

Brent says, “These paintings have been worked on during the COVID-19 lockdowns. But really my studio practice is quite the same, as with most artists, we are used to working in isolation. The subjects of these panoramic pictures originates in the personal, before hopefully taking on relevance for the individual viewer.”

These previously unseen new works include two paintings, and two related works on paper.

Image:  Brent Harris Imaginary Brother 2020, oil on linen, 92 x 73 cm