Sculpture

N0000, N2359, N2351, N2402

Public Description: 

Featuring a series of blown-glass domes, Scarce reflects on the containment and classification of Indigenous peoples since colonisation. Enclosed in glass domes with a cracked and fractured finish, photographs of family members are displayed in a natural history museum-style fashion. Prior to the 1967 Referendum, Aboriginal people were classified under the Commonwealth Government’s Flora and Fauna Act, and not thought of as human beings. Scarce’s work references this policy, with images of her ancestors displayed like specimens under a bell-jar. These photographs were retrieved from the South Australian Government Archives and are presented with their reference numbers fully intact — Australian Aboriginal people were photographed and tagged with identity numbers, just like common criminals and prison inmates.

The first bell jar contains blown glass Indigenous fruit. This outlines the comparison between flora and Indigenous peoples and how they once held a shared place in the white Australian conscience. The cracked finish of the various bell jars makes it difficult to see clearly. This references the recording of Aboriginal history since colonial settlement, the truth of which is fractured and not all disclosed.

Yhonnie Scarce was born in Woomera, South Australia, and belongs to the Kokatha and Nukunu peoples. Scarce holds a Master of Fine Arts from Monash University. She is one of the first contemporary Australian artists to explore the political and aesthetic power of glass, describing her work as ‘politically motivated and emotionally driven’. In 2015 Scarce exhibited internationally in Hong Kong, Vancouver, Berlin, Japan and Italy and was involved in several major projects around Australia including the Palimpsest Biennale, Mildura and a site-specific installation at the Art Gallery of South Australia as part of Tarnanthi Festival of Contemporary and Torres Strait Islander Art.

Images © Yhonnie Scarce

Broken

Public Description: 

Working in both earthenware and porcelain, Ray explores the products of 18th-century ceramic manufactories including Wedgwood, Spode and Sèvres as representations of conspicuous consumption. Broken explores notions of display and privilege inherent in these objects as it questions the role of ceramics in society as both utilitarian objects and as symbols of wealth and status. Ray's work presents a unique opportunity to critique the role of ceramics in our domestic lives and thereby resonates with the thematics of ‘home’ surrounding Bundoora Homestead.

Broken © David Ray

Victoria's Secret

Public Description: 

The current four members of DAMP produced Victoria’s Secret alongside a suite of ceramic based artworks, which on close inspection are a patchwork of broken fragments. Kitsch, bric-a-brac, valuable and classical pieces are broken or dissected, independently painted and painstakingly reconfigured.

The basis of The Harrison Collection, featuring the work Victoria’s Secret, began with the simple gesture of breaking a plate. Each member of DAMP painted a fragment of this plate and it was glued back together. For two years DAMP gathered found objects, personal effects and references and transformed these into a sculptural patchwork. Each of the 40 or so objects in the series were a result of the collaboration, demarcated by individual hands. In the case of Victoria’s Secret, a ready-made statue was carved into pieces. DAMP members used the American cartoonist and musician Robert Crumb and a Bauhaus Tapestry as reference material for this piece.

DAMP is an artist collective. Since 1995 the Melbourne based group have made groundbreaking artworks that have addressed the relations between artists and audiences. In 1999 the group staged a histrionic series of conflicts, which escalated into a brawl in the window of Gertrude Contemporary. In 2009 the group constructed a monumental faux-marble plinth on which local collectives could meet as part of APT6 at the Queensland Art Gallery. Current members of DAMP are Narelle Desmond, Sharon Goodwin, Debra Kunda and James Lynch.

Puppy (2)

Public Description: 

In Puppy (2) Natalie Thomas pays homage to Jeff Koon’s Puppy (1992) as she explores the interaction between humans, pets, science and our experience of nature. Thomas uses tiny shells to cover a plaster spaniel creating a fur effect that references the folk art traditions of seaside town mementos, and a childhood spent growing up in Queensland.

From classical antiquity, the shell or mollusc has been regarded as one of the most amazing achievements of nature, and has frequently been imitated in works of art. The architecture and astonishing ornamentation of shells are used in this work to compose an external covering suggestive of armour on forms; recognisable as a puppy. The use of shells to represent form and fur is a means through which complex human experience is distilled down to simple motifs and ideas; in this instance the experience of walking with a dog on a beach. Research assures us of the significant emotional benefits of pet ownership. Whether the mechanism is touch, exercise, attachment, non-evaluative social support, or some combination of these, the human connection to the non-human animal world is enjoyed by many and merits our close consideration.

Natalie Thomas has a diverse and independent visual and performing arts practice encompassing sculpture assemblage, gardening and photography. She works with multiple themes which are driven by an interest in the media landscape, consumption and popular culture. Thomas has exhibited extensively as an individual and as part of a collaborative project ‘nat&ali’ at the National Gallery of Victoria, Museum of Contemporary Art (Sydney), Institute of Modern Art (Brisbane) and Art Basel 2010 (Florida, USA). She is the recipient of the William and Winifred Bowness Prize for Photography, Monash Gallery of Art (2008) and a winner of the Darebin Art Show (2013).

Puppy (2) © Natalie Thomas.

Bundoora Homestead

Public Description: 

Bangkok-born Srivilasa created the work Bundoora Homestead for a group exhibition held within the Access Gallery at Bundoora Homestead Art Gallery in 2006. His work responds to the history and architectural features of Bundoora Homestead through the use of motifs associated with the Smith Family, owners of the property between 1899 and 1920. The blue and white cylindrical ceramic vase, decorated with the race and stud horse, Wallace, and a swallow and butterfly design found within the stained glass windows in the building, are surrounded by eight small white sculptural hands.

Wallace, who was sired by the 1890 Melbourne Cup winner Carbine, was a thoroughbred at stud at Bundoora Park from 1901 to 1917 and earned a fortune for the Smith family via successful progeny including the champion racehorse, Trafalgar. Portraits of both Wallace and Trafalgar are part of the Darebin Art Collection.

The swallow and butterfly featured in the stained glass windows in the Homestead are attributed to August Fischer, a renowned glass artist of the late 19th century in Melbourne.

Srivilasa’s art practice is predominantly focused upon ceramics, and also includes animation, works on paper and sculpture. His recent work explores ideas of contemporary social, political and ethical issues, as well as his experience living between his two homes; Australia and Thailand. This distinctive blue and white style pottery is based on the Thai tradition of making Chinese style ‘blue and white’ under-glazed porcelain, sometimes called Ming porcelain (although the style originated earlier in the Yuan dynasty (1271-1378).