Gertrude Contemporary. Melbourne, Victoria.
Exhibition Dates: 6 April – 18 May
Gertrude Contemporary is pleased to announce the openings of two new solo exhibitions by Brisbane-based Dale Harding (Bidjara, Ghungalu and Garingbal Peoples, Central Queensland) and Sydney-based Jamie North. Continuing Gertrude’s commitment to supporting artist-driven projects by dynamic creative practitioners, Harding’s The Golden Mile and North’s Slag Studies have been programmed alongside one another to reflect upon ideas of entropy, the potential for rejuvenation, and the embodiment of histories contained within materials and gestures. Both projects draw directly upon the landscape and the complex histories of connections to it, with Harding’s work connecting to and continuing his ancestors’ embedded relationship to country, acknowledging extended periods of living in relative peace ruptured by the trauma of colonialisation. North’s new body of work takes cue from the continuing extraction of natural resources from this land, with reference to historical modes of industrialisation, and in particular the by-products produced through processes of refinement. Together these two new projects present a particular kind of interpretation of landscape, each devoid of human representation, yet encoding the connection between people and place within them.
Dale Harding: The Golden Mile The Golden Mile is Dale Harding’s first solo exhibition in Melbourne, and expands upon a central mode of practice developed over recent years by the artist, working with members of family and connecting to and embedding an ancestral lineage in his storytelling. Working within a reductionist palette of natural yellow ochre using dry pigments mixed with natural binders, Harding and familial collaborators have worked on a series of canvases in Brisbane where the artist is based. In this form the works have been transported to Melbourne and sequentially installed upon the gallery walls. Thereafter, all discernible images are obliterated, culminating in the eradication of the works utilising the white paint of the gallery. Through this, the paintings remain merely as a trace of the performative enactment of their erasure, as if to be residual rectangular stencils of an act unseen. Repositioned in the gallery as now whitewashed paintings, these erased works remain as echoes of an act that is not one of violence or censor, but rather, a respectful acknowledgement of the artist presenting work in a place, on country, that he does not have direct connection to.
Jamie North: Slag Studies Working with arcane methods of mineral and resource extraction, Jamie North has gained critical attention for his ruinous appearing sculptures made from hand-produced concrete. Treating a traditionally mass-produced process with artisanal care, North creates formal structures that appear to have been weathered and deteriorated by the elements, while fostering and supporting emerging plant-life. Slag Studies begins to unpack the modes of production for which the artist is renowned. In a suite of photographic works, North depicts the industrial process of extracting iron, rendered moodily dark and foreboding, with machinery moving to tip molten slag into a churned landscape. In each, the slag pot appears as a fierce and luminous embodiment of energy, not dissimilar to the sun. This circular motif echoes throughout the sculptural works through the coring of slag rocks resulting in cylindrical tunnels. Some of these are filled with water, while in others lithophytes nestle in the cavities, bringing the carboniferous process full cycle. Each sculpture alludes to the various studio processes the artist employs in the making of his sculptural work, with the slag that has been used primarily as a material component in previous works essentialised and taking centre stage.
1. Dale Harding, As I Remember it, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and Milani Gallery, Brisbane
2. Jamie North, The Tipping (Dearborn/Skull Disc), 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney.
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