Chinoiserie Landscape 1987–2017 – Tony Clark
At Murray White Room a series of small oil paintings, some postcard-sized, depict the same two forms: crooked trees and Japanese pagoda-like structures in unearthly spaces. Australian artist Tony Clark used to paint more straightforward landscapes, but something happened around 1988, and his works began to feature haunting forms, nature in vivid colours and shadowy architecture in the palette of a ’70s science fiction book cover. The earliest paintings here show these forms set against a camouflage pattern. The most recent work is a diptych in which the landscape appears to have been shattered, giving it a mosaic appearance. It’s a rich theme and he’s returned to it time and again across 30 years.
Chinoiserie Landscape 1987–2017 is at Murray White Room until March 29
Resist Laughter – Alana Holmberg
In 2014 the deputy prime minister of Turkey, Bülent Arınç, declared that women “should not laugh in public”. The women of Turkey wasted no time doing the opposite, flooding social media with #direnkahkaha (“resist laughter”). Melbourne-based photographer Alana Holmberg was fascinated by this conservative moment in modern-day Turkey and travelled there to document women’s lives during the period. Each candid portrait in this show is accompanied by a revealing interview transcript, in which feminism is dismissed as a Western luxury. How do you fight for equality when you’re fighting for your life?
Resist Laughter is at The Lost Ones, Ballarat, until April 1.
Mutlu Cerkez: 1988–2065 – Mutlu Cerkez
This is the first survey exhibition of the curious and challenging work of the late Turkish Cypriot Australian artist Mutlu Cerkez, and it covers the past and future (more on that later) of his practice. It’s an extremely varied selection. His realist oil paintings find subjects in people, architecture and cracked pavement. Transcriptions of Led Zeppelin stage banter from shows in 1969 have been converted into typography-based dot-matrix printouts. There’s a small beehive in one corner; the insects crawl over one another and down through a tube littered with their dead. In another corner a guitar body with the date 25 March 2038 painted on it hangs from the ceiling. You’ll see a lot of these future dates, including in the show’s title. Each piece has two dates – the second is when Cerkez planned to recreate the work. Though he died in 2005, his work carries on through the potential of all his unmade pieces.
Mutlu Cerkez: 1988–2065 is at MUMA until April 14.
Blushed – Natalie Tirant
Melbourne photographer Natalie Tirant turns the human body into sculpture with her lens. Her images are wonderfully irreverent and arresting – all curve and fold, pink and white. Limbs and more are recognisably human, but stripped of faces and hands, torsos, legs and arms take on identities of their own. There are two distinct series here: in Blushed, two bodies linger – in tandem or apart – in a room of crumpled paper and fabric. Images in Interference are close-ups of flesh meeting flesh with a hint of hair or a skin crease or blemish.
Blushed is at Tinning Street until March 18.
Theatre Stills – Stuart Ringholt
Melbourne-based Stuart Ringholt made these 51 collages in Tuscany last year mostly using Italian print media from the 1960s and 1970s. And while Italian imagery cuts through every layer they’re made without a hint of Tuscan sun. Pages of Italian text are collaged with largely monochrome images of landscapes, comics, classical art and architecture with the occasional incident of warm colour. Ringholt calls these pieces “Theatre Stills” because he sees them as “unrealised dramas”. They’re absurd, arcane and a little violent; they are tableaux of gothic horror.
Theatre Stills is at Neon Parc until April 7.