Three new exhibitions open at NERAM in August

On Friday, August 17, NERAM will open three diverse new exhibitions spanning colourful ceramics featuring outrageous characters; a look at a historical moment in Australian abstract art; and photography that shows the changing face of Papua New Guinea.

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Piksa Niugini – New Guinea Portraits & Diaries

Piksa Niugini - New Guinea Portraits and Diaries, a touring exhibition by internationally acclaimed photographer Stephen Dupont, captures the fragility and endurance of the people and culture of Papua New Guinea, as globalisation affects tradition.

Some of the most important cultural and historical places in Papua New Guinea such as the Sepik, Bougainville, and the capital city Port Moresby, are depicted in tranquil landscapes, images of urban development, and in remarkable portraits that capture a unique human spirit.

The exhibition is a celebration of an ancient people and an in-depth study of cultural erosion told through Dupont’s images and personal diaries created during his many trips to Papua New Guinea.

Over the past two decades, Dupont has produced a remarkable body of visual work; hauntingly beautiful photographs of fragile cultures and marginalized peoples.

He skilfully captures the human dignity of his subjects with great intimacy, often in some of the world’s most dangerous regions.

His images have received international acclaim for their artistic integrity and valuable insight into the people, culture and communities that have existed for hundreds of years, yet are fast disappearing from our world.

Dupont’s work has earned him photography’s most prestigious prizes, including a Robert Capa Gold Medal citation from the Overseas Press Club of America; a Bayeux War Correspondent’s Prize; and first places in the World Press Photo , Pictures of the Year International, the Australian Walkleys, and Leica/CCP Documentary Award. In 2007, he was the recipient of the W. Eugene Smith Grant for Humanistic Photography for his ongoing project on Afghanistan.

“It is quite impacting and overwhelming to see this work,” NERAM director Rachael Parsons said.

“There is immense beauty and insight into a unique culture but there is also very apparent poverty and an indication of violence. The exhibition provides important insight into a culture that is perhaps little known and understood.”

From the Field

Also opening is From the Field, an exhibition of abstract artwork selected from the NERAM collections.

The exhibition references the National Gallery of Victoria’s seminal 1968 exhibition The Field, which presented the first comprehensive display of colour field painting and abstract sculpture in Australia.

The exhibition was received with outspoken criticism, outrage, and praise. The divisive response to the exhibition would incite years of continued debate, theorizing and interpretation, including a recent restaging of the original exhibition at NGV, fifty years later.

“I studied this exhibition as part of Australian art history at university,” Rachael Parsons said.

“When the NGV launched its campaign to try and locate the 74 original artworks, they contacted NERAM, as we were known to have a number of the artists represented in our collection. We did not have any of the works from the original show, but we had a lot of complementary works that represented the abstract style of The Field.”

The exhibition includes works by significant Australian artists including Sydney Ball, Peter Booth, Gunter Christmann, Alun Leach-Lones, and Wendy Paramor. At the time of the original 1968 exhibition, most included were emerging artists under 30, representing the NGV’s vision to show current, cutting edge art.    

“The NGV opened The Field Revisited earlier this year, displaying 62 of the original works,” Ms Parsons said. “It seemed like a perfect time for NERAM to connect to an important moment in art history and current national practices by showing some fantastic abstract work from our collection. These pieces have a great impact, and still manage to intrigue and in some cases baffle audiences.” 

Love Jamboree    

The third exhibition is Love Jamboree, sculpture by Walcha based artist Myfanwy Gullifer.

The fine porcelain sculptures depict minute worlds and narratives in vibrant colours and acute details. Each work is an adventure to look at, small dramas that add a theatrical twist to aspects of the artist’s own life and day to day actions.

“The works are joyous, irreverent, and hilarious,” Rachael Parsons said. “People encountering these sculptures can’t seem to help but smile at the outrageous scenes that are also relatable in their familiarity, such as hanging out the washing or going on a road trip.”

Gullifer studied at the Victorian College of the Arts in Melbourne and has been exhibiting for over a decade. She is represented by King Street Gallery on William, Sydney. She lives and works in Walcha.    

Exhibition activities:

Exhibition opening 6.00 – 8.00pm Friday 17 August 2018 at NERAM –  all welcome

Artist Talk Myfanwy Gullifer:

Saturady 18 August 10.30am – all welcome