Helen Hughes

  • Lauren Burrow

    Bad moods, vagueness, reluctance to interpolate, deanthropomorphised mouth, antidepressed fish: This 2019 piece, whose title was spelled out neatly in permanent marker on horizontal bands of toilet paper mounted high on the gallery walls, announced the key terms of Lauren Burrow’s exhibition. Titled “Nuisance Flows,” it was oriented around the scientific analysis of the effects of antidepressants, not on humans, but on fish, whose environments have become subject to pharmaceutical pollution in recent years. Around the world, antidepressants are turning up in wastewater effluent, eventually making

  • Dale Hickey

    Over nearly six decades, the Melbourne-based artist Dale Hickey has presented historians of Australian art with a minor conundrum, which is how—or, indeed, whether—a consistent conceptual project is expressed across the breadth and diversity of his long career. As a friend and astute critic of the artist, Gary Catalano, once wondered, What is the work’s “hidden content?”

    After gaining prominence as a painter of hard-edge abstraction in the mid-1960s, Hickey abandoned painting for Conceptual art at the close of the decade, producing a number of idiosyncratic, de-skilled works such as Fences, 1969,

  • Kate Daw and Stewart Russell

    Peter Norman, a white Australian sprinter, is mainly remembered for his role in the 1968 Mexico City Olympic Games, where he won silver in the two hundred meters, with African American athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos winning gold and bronze, respectively. At the medal ceremony, Smith and Carlos famously bowed their heads and each raised a clenched, black-gloved fist as the US national anthem played. Norman acted as an ally, donning an Olympic Project for Human Rights badge along with Smith and Carlos. When Carlos realized he had left his gloves in the Olympic village, Norman suggested that

  • Tiger Yaltangki

    In the western and central deserts of Australia, singing and painting are profoundly linked practices. Writings on Papunya Tula artists such as Yukultji Napangati, to cite a prominent example, often describe them as singing their paintings into being: Sitting around canvases stretched on the floor, each simultaneously sings and paints stories of her country, its topographies, and Dreamings (creation myths). As such, it is not an uncommon museological practice in Australia to exhibit paintings by desert artists alongside vocal recordings. This custom suggests that observing a painting in isolation

  • Robert Hunter

    Robert Hunter (1947–2014) is renowned for his “white-on-white” paintings, although, as any Hunter admirer will attest, his works are infinitely more chromatically complex than that. The artist typically based his compositions on a grid (and, anecdotally, on the geometry of the pool table), crisscrossing that structure with intricate but barely perceptible patterns executed in a seemingly inexhaustible palette of white and off-white hues of house paint. This first major retrospective presents forty-one pieces from 1966 to 2013, featuring two remakes of wall paintings, a

  • “Unfinished Business”

    “Unfinished Business: Perspectives on art and feminism” took as its structuring principle the theme of polyphony to demonstrate the maxim “There is no viable feminism, only pluralist feminisms.” And the show had a six-piece curatorial team to prove it, allowing for internal dissent, and for different and even antithetical subject positions to emerge within the exhibition. Though it concentrated on contemporary Australian art and included several new commissions, “Unfinished Business” was anchored by some important historical touchstones. Under the framework of polyphony, central core imagery by

  • Kate Smith

    Australian artist Kate Smith’s recent show “An Impression of an impression” was characteristically sparse. Comprising just four little landscape-format paintings, two of them given walls of their own, the exhibition showed the artist continuing her practice of working on a very small scale and deftly manipulating the space of her installations.

    Three of the four paintings were titled An Impression of an impression (after Rupert Bunny) (all works 2017) and numbered—variations on a theme. In each, hastily brushed-on strokes of chartreuse in oil form the backdrop to quickly scribbled black

  • Philip Brophy

    “Evaporated Music” presented all three installments of Melbourne-based artist Philip Brophy’s eponymous suite of videos, marking the first time these works have been shown together. The three chapters—displayed in sequence in an immersive environment with a monitor opposing a couch, a rug, and five speakers—each address a different way in which music is represented on video. While the visuals of the appropriated clips are left completely intact, Brophy—since the late 1970s a committed deconstructionist of cultural texts—gives the accompanying audio a complete makeover. His