‘Strange beasts haunt the lair of Bruce Armstrong’s studio. Looming out from the shadows are bears and birds and other denizens of the sculptor’s iconic deities, poised and powerful. At times creatures not of this world emerge as though from the ancient maritime maps that warn where monsters dwell. Pagan gods revelling in their redgum and oregon flesh, impervious to the elements. At times members of his menagerie have guarded the Docklands precinct (‘Eagle, aka Bunjil’, the spirit creator of the Kulin nations), at others they have guarded the portal of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) in St Kilda Road.’ (Ashley Crawford, Artist Profile Magazine, Ahead of Armstrongs 2016 NGV Retrospective)
Bourne’s works have an unsettling effect on the viewer. We are not necessarily uncomfortable, though it seems we are in a dream world where rules don’t quite apply and our relative size makes little sense. The paintings are eerily beautiful and the sculptures hold a raw energy that is fuelled by the movement of their individual parts. Bourne’s paintings explores new terrain, both in the physical and the metaphysical world.
Nick Pont is represented by Kunstverein
Pont’s style is quintessentially Australian, and so are the stories he tells. He cites, among others, Sidney Nolan and Brett Whiteley as artistic influences, as well as author Tim Winton. The painters’ influences are noticeable, while Winton’s ideas of character mystique and cultural escapism are highly visible in Pont’s work.
The novelist Victor Lodato said about short story writing, “The first sentence is often like a crazy blob of paint that my subconscious throws down on the page – and then I work from there toward a greater understanding of the picture.” The inverse is true of Nick Pont’s practice when it comes to his ink works: “The narrative aspect of my work is always based on a life experience or from a distant memory and then moves on and involves other thoughts, experiences and reference material e.g. photographs, literature or historical documents.” Where Lodato’s craft begins with a blob of paint to later form a narrative, Pont begins with a story and arrives at an image.
Ian Smith’s exhibiting career began in 1969 when his work was curated in the exhibition Young Contemporaries, Contemporary Art Society, Brisbane; three years later, in 1972, Smith held his first solo exhibition with Gallery One Eleven, Brisbane. From that time onwards the artist exhibited with Ray Hughes.
In 1988 a major survey exhibition examining Smith’s work was curated by the Museum of Contemporary Art, Brisbane. A decade later in 1999 the Brisbane City Gallery curated the exhibition Bridges an exhibition of paintings produced over a six year period, the imagery of which acted as metaphors for the life the artist was leading at the time whilst he journeyed between Belgium (his home between the years 1988 and 1994), and Australia.
Ian Smith’s work is represented in Australian and overseas institutional collections including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Standaard Boekhandel, Belgium, National Collection, Ghana, National Gallery of Australia, Queensland Art Gallery, National Gallery of Victoria, University Art Museum, University of Queensland, QUT Art Collection, and various regional and university collections.
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