Featuring works by Greg Ades, Tony Clark, Brett Colquhoun, Dale Frank, Maria Kozic, Vivienne Shark LeWitt, Linda Marrinon, Jonathan Throsby, [Tsk Tsk Tsk] and Juan Davila.
Exhibition Dates: 1 January – 1 January 1983
If the Beatles were a real influence on the generation now in its thirties, the
Monkees prefigure the artists who are in their twenties. The Monkees are
nothing now, and they were only an image then: a simulated popband, a
plot by CBS. Four men auditioned, and guitars dropped into their hands.
Their music was played off-stage by studio musicians, their TV show a
weak sit-corn. Although today's art scene is an aspiring pop scene (with
its artists as popstars), it is not in this way that the Monkees are mentors:
it's because something remarkable happened to them - they learned to
play their instruments, to write their own material and to navigate their
desired course. A real popband germinated and swelled within the image of
a popband. Simulation completed, they transformed themselves from word
Today, painters overtake their medium the way the Monkees wrought their
mutiny. Painting - not simply the realm of fiction, of urgency and of lowtechnology
representation - is the historical category which always,
unavoidably, signifies Art. Painting is the swift way of not simply being an
artist but of also being seen to be an artist. Conversely considered as a
body of knowledge, stylistic problems and solutions, a tradition passed
through the talents of generations and, more recently, as an insufficiently
"radical", experimental and real artform, painting is today severed from the
rank and file of Australian art history. What better means is there than
painting to be anti-"radical", post-experimental, hyperreal? Painting is a
trace of the old culture picked up by young artists who have suspended
their disbelief in art.
A shell, a hull, painting is an empty signification now filling up with all
manner of expressions which would befit popstars (irony, stereotype,
subjectivity, theatricality). Opportunistic, "faithful", it is a negative space in
the positivism of our past. Awash with traditionalism, it is yet a "fragment
detached from the earth" (like Conrad's Narcissus), "lonely and swift", a
ship which navigates the "illimitable silence" of the nihilistic ocean (the
"image of life with its glittering surface and lightless depths").
The ship's occupants are pirates and mutineers. They overthrow the image
of painting unenlivened by the late modernists only to themselves better
occupy their hull of a ship.
— Paul Taylor