Festival season might be over, but it’s not too late to visit one of these art exhibitions around town.
Clarice Beckett: The present moment
Almost 130 works by modernist artist Clarice Beckett are featured in this retrospective at AGSA, which is the largest exhibition of Beckett’s works to date. Her ethereal, atmospheric paintings have been arranged to take visitors on a journey from day to night, beginning with works set during sunrise through to bright morning scenes, quiet afternoons, dreamy sunsets and moody evenings. Although she received little recognition during her lifetime, Beckett is now one of Australia’s most admired modernist painters, celebrated for her ability to capture the commonplace.
The present moment features works drawn from national public collections and salvaged from rural Victoria (many of Beckett’s canvases were left to decay after her death in 1935) and the private collections of people such as Ben Quilty and Russell Crowe. Throughout April, AGSA is hosting weekly mindfulness workshops exploring Beckett’s art in a new light.
You can see Clarice Beckett: The present moment at the Art Gallery of South Australia until May 16.
The Image is not Nothing (Concrete Archives)
Running as part of this year’s Adelaide Festival program, powerful Ace Open exhibition The Image is not Nothing is the result of extensive field research by curators Lisa Radford and Yhonnie Scarce. Pre-pandemic, the pair explored some of the world’s most recognisable sites of devastation, including Chernobyl, Auschwitz, Hiroshima, Fukushima, New York’s financial district, Maralinga, Wounded Knee Creek and sites of bloodshed in former Yugoslavia.
The exhibition features works by more than 20 emerging and established artists from Australia and abroad, all grappling with these histories: from Japanese artists on Hiroshima and Fukushima to New York artists on Ground Zero, to art focusing on nuclear and colonial atrocities occurring on home soil – in particular, nuclear weapons development testing carried out on Indigenous ancestral land from 1952 to 1963.
The Image is not Nothing (Concrete Archives) is at Ace Open until April 24.
Coincidentally opening at the same time as Adelaide Festival’s Plastic Bag Store, Jam Factory’s Pop Mart exhibition also tackles consumerism through the ironic and nostalgic recreation of everyday supermarket items. It also explores the intersection between luxury and essential goods in the pandemic era – when exhibitions are cancelled and galleries are closed and the white, wide-walled, flood-lit supermarket becomes something of a proxy to these venues.
Ordinary supermarket objects have been recreated by artists working in ceramics, glass, cardboard and yarn. You’ll see a ceramic sculpture of strawberry jam by Melbourne-based artist Kenny Pittock; sandblasted slices of fritz by local glass artist Emma Young, alongside her well known recreations of the Balfours Frog Cake and Menz Fruchocs; and, in a nod to Warhol, crochet hats that look like soup cans from Melbourne’s ChiliPhilly.
Catch Pop Mart at JamFactory Adelaide before April 26.
Adelaide // International
There’s only a few days left to see Adelaide // International at Samstag. Also presented by Adelaide Festival, this year’s edition comprises four exhibitions that consider the future while looking to the past and present. The project’s showpiece work is a film, sound, light, sculpture and performance-based installation Tremble, Tremble from Irish artist Jesse Jones. Named after a protest chant sung by Italian women in the 1970s (“tremble, tremble, the witches are back”), the work was created during Ireland’s abortion referendum, and features a lifelike giantess standing defiant against oppression.
Also on display is a video triptych by Taloi Havini, which explores acknowledgement and reconciliation through footage taken during a traditional mediation ceremony in Papua New Guinea; a work by Australian artist James Tylor that investigates the mistakes, mistranslations and loss of knowledge resulting from European attempts to document Kaurna culture; and a work by multi-disciplinary Victorian artist Fayen d’Evie that incorporates image, text, sound and movement, imagining new ways of communicating with future audiences.
Adelaide // International is at the Samstag Museum of Art until April 1.
An exploration of gender identity, the queer body, performativity, safe spaces, support and connection, Presence is on display for a few more days at Bowden’s Praxis Artspace. Originally presented online in 2020, this physical version of the exhibition features works by local and national artists spanning moving image, digital illustration, photography and painting. Each artwork is a space of autonomous self-reflection, and challenges categorical assumptions around gender.
Presence is on display at Praxis Artspace until April 1.