Australian artist Christian Thompson, currently based in London, is only in his thirties, yet he’s made enough significant art and garnered enough of a reputation to warrant a survey at the Monash University Museum of Art. A lot of his work is about his relationship with his Indigenous heritage. Thompson engages with his family history in fascinating contemporary ways, drawing on fashion photography, pop music and sculpture. Thompson often uses his body as a canvas. His most striking works are photographs of him modeling wearable sculpture: garlands made from banksia leaves and yellow kangaroo paw; a colourful hoodie and a face obscured by layers of pearls; a white wig with chalky white facepaint and a coil of smoke curling out his mouth. It’s intimate and enigmatic.
Ritual Intimacy is at Monash University Museum of Art until July 8.
The vast gallery space at ACCA is decidedly spartan at the moment. There’s a half-complete room made of mirrors; a replica of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud’s unusual reading chair, and a photo of artist Claire Lambe’s adult son covered in chocolate. It’s not pretty. Lambe revels in stripping away the sheen to find the ugliness in art, and here she’s also interested in cinema and the filmmaking process. “I want it to feel incomplete,” she tells Broadsheet. “This show is about stripping back the veneer of ‘finished’ work and showing you something under construction.” There are also weekly avant-garde dance performances in the space, which Lambe considers part of the overall work.
Mother Holding Something Horrific is at ACCA until June 25.
The pristine white shoebox that is Neon Parc’s Brunswick gallery is a fitting space for Darren Sylvester’s work. With a mix of sculpture and photography, Sylvester offers an ode to ’90s commercial imagery. Large, slick photographs feature beautiful people in a glossy rainbow–hued world; a trio of bespoke couches are upholstered in fabric that looks like ’90s McDonald’s burger wrapping (bright yellow for Cheeseburger, baby blue for a Filet-O-Fish), lending the show an air of the absurd.
Darren Sylvester is at Neon Parc Brunswick until June 10.