2007
DAMP
Black & Silver
Tim Fleming
Jess Johnson & Jordan Marani
Conor O'Brien
Dell Stewart & Adam Cruickshank
Amber Wallis & Lizzie Hall
Dylan Martorell
Jake Walker & Mark Rodda
Nathan Gray
TSHDT? 004
Alter Egotism
Do You Remember What It Was?

2008
Elvis Richardson
Belle Bassin & Alasdair McLuckie
Al-Ah-Manful
Brendan Huntley
Kate Smith
Marcus Keating
Flux Capacitor
Tristan Jalleh & Saskia Pandji Sakti
Susan Jacobs
Habitat
The Changes
Grow Wild

2009
Dan Moynihan
Thomas Jeppe
Amber Wallis
Christopher Day
Akira Akira
Leah Fraser
Ry Haskings
Victory Over the Sun
Amiel Courtin-Wilson
Ash Keating
Brendan Huntley
William MacKinnon
The Edge of the Line
Helen Johnson
Charlie Sofo

HELEN JOHNSON
ON THE MAKE
EXHIBITION SAT 14 UNTIL SAT 28 NOVEMBER

This exhibition presents a body of work that slides between formal, practical and ideological concerns; on the make figured here as 'on the subject of making' over the top of the more obvious associations of striving for something. It is an exhibition laden with questions more than answers. Investigations into the material possibilities of painting, the limitations of the pictorial field, the idea of painting as moment of tension or divider, reductive abstraction versus constructed representation, become the stage for asking questions about society and the individual: about what it means to be an Australian artist; what feminism means in contemporary society, and how much of a presence misogyny maintains (what would you think of this if it was painted by a man?); what is left of worker's insurrection; what is left of smoking's cool; what Europeans think of Australia; what it means to be 'green' these days; the ways in which people attempt to escape bureaucratic drudgery.

Self-absorbed subjects undertake quotidian tasks and private thoughts, their composure falling into step as the possibilities of painting's objecthood is explored; the constructs, functioning at once as object and revealed support, will be suspended, leant, propped on other objects, tethered, wedged. The painting style is visually soft and tonally subtle, which both counters a monumentalist reading and encourages a subjective one. The images are opaque, enigmatic; the product of subjective experience intermingling with canonical references to arrive at a new point. This exhibition endeavours to draw the materiality of the work into conversation with questions about socio-cultural construction. It continues a long-standing interest in the dynamics of cultural production in Australia, in particular the processes of adopting, filtering and subjectivising styles and movements from other places that are so central to the way we make ourselves.

Helen Johnson completed a BFA (Hons) in Painting at RMIT in 2002 and her Master of Fine Arts at the Victorian College of the Arts in 2008. Solo exhibitions include 'Love over Gold', Sutton Gallery, 2009; 'The tides are a fight between the Earth and the Moon' at Future/Present, curated by Cecilia Alemani for Artissima07, Turin, Italy, 2007; 'Do not go gentle into that goodnight', Sutton Gallery, 2007; 'Some thoughts on interiority', Summer residency presentation, Kunstlerhaus Dortmund, Germany, 2007; 'Australia in the Seventies', Joint Hassles, 2007; and Melbourne Art Fair, Project space for Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces with Michelle Ussher, 2006. Recent group exhibitions include 'New World Records' curated by Nick Mangan and Helen Johnson, Sutton Gallery, 2009, 'Octopus', curated by Steven Gilchrist, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, 2009; Sutton Gallery @ Depot Gallery, Sydney, 2008; and 'New 06', curated by Juliana Engberg, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, 2006.




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