David Noonan has spent the past two decades making silk-screened collages, tapestries, films and sculptures using his treasure-trove collection of black-and-white found photographs. Much of the imagery is of actors and dancers in theatre performances from the 1960s and ’70s, others are harder to place, but all of Noonan’s output has a very distinct, granular and monochromatic persona.
Only When It’s Cloudless is Noonan’s first major mid-career retrospective. Works in all shapes and forms are installed throughout the iconic Powell & Glenn-designed gallery spaces, and the sheer productivity of his melancholy musings is on view for all of us to take in, in one weighty go. It may be outside our typical Melbourne gallery remit, but as the only venue in the world to host this exhibition, it’s well worth the trek.
Until July 10, at Tarrawarra Museum of Art, 313 Healesville–Yarra Glen Road, Healesville. Tickets here.
“I just want a Picasso in my casa” Jay-Z raps in Picasso Baby, the song he performed for six hours straight in his iconic collaboration with artist Marina Abramovic at New York’s Pace Gallery. Alas, there’s no Jay-Z or Abramovic performing here, but in this NGV Winter Masterpieces exhibition you’ll come across a number of infamous paintings from Picasso’s heyday. There’s the classically cubist The Violin (Le Violon) from 1914, paired with Woman With a Guitar (Femme à la Guitare) from 1913 by his friend and confidant, Georges Braque. There’s Picasso’s Figures by the Sea (Figures au Bord de la Mer) from 1931 and Alberto Giacometti’s similarly reclining Man and Woman (Homme et Femme) from 1928–29 in bronze.
Featuring more than than 80 works by Picasso alongside dozens more by his contemporaries, what’s particularly refreshing about this show is the presentation of paintings by a number of female artists. There are the women of surrealism – Dorothea Tanning and Dora Maar – as well as lesser known, early 20th century artists like Natalia Goncharova, Suzanne Valadon and Marie Laurencin. It’s a mega exhibition, one that is as much about the communities of artists from which Picasso emerged as it is about the artist himself.
From June 10 to October 9 at NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne. Tickets here.
Speaking of the Picasso effect, there’s a subtle nod to him – and his Eastern European modernist contemporaries – in the work of Melbourne-based artist Tim Bučković. For his first solo exhibition at Futures, a fresh-faced gallery which opened in the midst of the tumult of last year, Bučković is showing a series of petite oil on linen paintings.
Using tiny brushstrokes and a subdued palette, mainly comprised of olives, greys and maroons, the artist creates fractured scenes of intertwined, abstract figures in nondescript landscapes. In Sight 2022 for example, anonymous figures appear to stroll and dance across a grid-like floor. In Transpose 2022 they morph into floating clouds and rolling hills. They’re sombre dreamscapes of sorts.
Until June 25 at Futures, 21 Easey Street, Collingwood. Free.
There’s something about the intimacy of ceramics that never gets old. Whether it’s the remnants of individual fingerprints, or the glossy glaze that seals it all in, clay has a DIY sensibility that somehow feels both ancient and new. Enter Sydney-based artist Alexandra Standen, whose numerous past solo exhibitions at Gertrude Street gallery stalwart This Is No Fantasy have consistently put the spotlight on ceramics in Melbourne.
For her latest presentation at the gallery, Standen has created a number of large-scale ceramic works that push the boundaries of their medium. As Standen explains, “As I scaled up and experimented with the limitations of the medium, I experienced collapses, cracks, blowouts, and glaze disasters. … As much [as] defined by my intent, they are equally imbued with a personality gained through the journey of their making and survival.”
Using some of her signature motifs – the bulbous vase, the sphere lid, the ring-like base – the arrayed objects are presented in dialogue with one another. Staged indeed.
Until June 18 at This Is No Fantasy, 108–110 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. Free.
Alana Kushnir is the founder of Guest Club, a membership network for art lovers and collectors.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Campari.