Art Forum Online

Art Forum is a weekly lecture program where invited guests present talks on their curatorial, artistic and research projects to all members of the National Art School staff and student communities.

Tune into our 1-hour lectures featuring a guest speaker each week.

Please note: videos will be posted one week after the lecture is presented.

Thursday 23 April: Juz Kitson

About the artist

Juz Kitson lures her audience into an opulent garden and casts them out renewed: an encounter with her sublime installations provokes deeply affective responses, suggesting a form of contemporary shamanism at play within the gallery.

Kitson’s talismanic objects – memento mori meets animist fetish – combine the dexterous arts of ceramics, textiles and drawing with a strong sense of materialism and process. Overtly seductive, the works’ tension lies in resisting the conventions of craft such as the throwing wheel and the plinth, both central to ceramic traditions. Bound with mystique and feminine power, Kitson’s suspended chimeras become both captivating and unnerving, touching gently on a raw, surrealist nerve. A wanderer and gatherer of no current fixed address, Sydney born Kitson is a serial artist in residence who divides her time between Australia (where the bush is a rich hunting ground) and Jingdezhen, the ‘porcelain capital’ of China, a country she first visited in 2009 to work with renowned installation artist Lin Tianmiao.

While completing Honours in ceramics at the National Art School, Kitson’s Formations of Silence was acquired by David Walsh for his Museum of Old and New Art in Tasmania. Featured in The Museum of Contemporary Art’s Primavera 2013 and Art Dubai 2014, she was also recently included in the 2016 Adelaide Biennial. Kitson’s work is held in public collections, including the Art Gallery of South Australia, Artbank and RMIT University, as well as in private collections in Australia, Germany and the UK.

Image: Juz Kitson, Accumulated Associations, 2019, porcelain relief sculpture, 35 x 45 x 15 cm. Courtesy the artist

Thursday 30 April: Chris Dolman

About the artist

Chris Dolman holds an MFA (research) from Sydney College of Arts, Sydney University, 2018, and a BFA with honours (first class) from the Victorian College of the Arts, University of Melbourne, 2010. In 2019, he won the Fauvette Loureiro Memorial Artists Traveling Scolarship. He received the Dyason Bequest from the Art Gallery of NSW in 2017. ArtStart and New Work grants from the Australia Council for the Arts in 2013 and 2011. He was the recipient of the Wallara Travelling Scholarship, George Hicks award, and the NGV Women’s Association Award, VCA 2009.

Dolman has undertaken international residencies at the Cité Internationale des Arts, Villa Belleville Paris, and Frans Masereel Centrum, Belgium. National residencies include: Hill End, Bundanon Trust, BigCi NSW, Ceramic Design Studio, Parramatta Artist Studios, and Artspace Sydney. He has presented work in solo and group exhibitions in Australia and overseas.

He is represented by Galerie pompom, Sydney.

Image: Chris Dolman, Lonesome Traveler, 2019, oil and pencil on cotton, 138 x 198 cm, installation view SCA gallery. Courtesy the artist and Galerie pompom, Sydney

Thursday 7 May: Patrick Hartigan

About the artist

Patrick Hartigan was born in Sydney in 1977. He is currently a Sessional Lecturer at the National Art School, and has been practicing and regularly exhibiting as an artist since graduating from university in 2001. His work is held in a number of public collections including the National Gallery of Australia, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Art Gallery of NSW, the Chartwell Collection at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki and The Art Gallery of Western Australia.

In 2019 Hartigan published his first book, a combination of memoir and short prose, called Offcuts (Gazebo Books). In 2021 he will publish his second book (also by Gazebo Books), a collection of short stories and drawings about the village of birth of his wife Lenka. The village is located in the Spiš region of Eastern Slovakia, a place Hartigan has regularly visited and spent time in since 2001. He and his family resided in this village for most of 2018.

From 2014 to 2019 Hartigan was the art critic for The Saturday Paper – a paper he continues to contribute to. In 2016 he was awarded a Doctor of Creative Arts by the University of Wollongong.

He is represented by The Commercial, Sydney.

Image: Patrick Hartigan, Brancusi at the Anvil, 2015, oil on board, 49.50 x 70.00 x 1.00 cm. Photo: Jessica Maurer/Minerva

Thursday 14 May: Kat Shapiro Wood

About the artist

NAS alumna Kat Shapiro Wood’s practice is centred around the medium of encaustic (based on beeswax and natural resin), and spans the disciplines of painting, sculpture and ceramics, often drawing on the form and materiality of found objects and substrates.

Through the minimal framework of abstraction, her work will often draw on such parameters as the repetitive stripe or colour field, within which she may tease out the nuances of the medium and harness a luminosity that gives substance to space. In reaching towards the complexities of human experience, choices are made that may viscerally and intuitively define the elusive yet essential nature of those observations. Colour, however restrained, is a potent consideration in the process. Gesture comes into play in painterly application and form, in an attempt to distil an emotive state of being to its simplest form. There is a constant investigation into materiality, and into the sensorial potential of surface, tactility, translucency, opacity, depth, weight and light; the painting then asserts itself as something more akin to an object in its physicality.

I’m interested in pushing the level of refinement and subtlety while exploring the medium’s inevitable rawness and sensory aliveness; the potential of stillness and quietness to contain a rich and evocative dynamism is endlessly exciting.

Kat has held solo and group exhibitions at Chalk Horse Gallery, in the Byron School of Art Project Space in Mullumbimby, the Tweed Regional Gallery, ArtState Lismore, Flinders Lane Gallery, and as an invited artist to the International Association of Ceramics 47th Congress in Barcelona in 2016. She lived and worked in Amsterdam and Berlin in 2016-17. She teaches sculpture, ceramics and drawing at the Byron School of Art, and has taught sculpture in studio schools over the last 15 years. She is a 2006 graduate of the National Art School majoring in Ceramics, where her work with encaustic became a strong part of her focus.

Image: Kat Shapiro Wood, Untitled (matter, ether), 2020, Encaustic on board, encaustic and gouache on board, Each 30 x 19cm (diptych)

Thursday 21 May: Jerico Tracy

About the speaker

Jerico Tracy is a curator, art consultant and the director of Jerico Contemporary Gallery.

Jerico holds a Masters in Art Curatorship from Sydney University, a Bachelor of Art History from the College of Fine Arts and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales. As a committed arts philanthropist she is a member of the Art Gallery of New South Wales’ Atelier Program and a Museum of Contemporary Art’s Young Ambassador. In 2018, Jerico was selected to join the International Lamborghini Female Advisory Board.

With experience at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Shapiro Auctioneers and Christie’s in London, Jerico has in depth knowledge of the commercial art market and extensive knowledge of contemporary Australian and International Art. As the director of Jerico Contemporary, Jerico works closely with artists, collectors and clients to make art more exciting, engaging and accessible. Additionally, Jerico advises private collections of international clientele with discretion and integrity.

Born in 1990, Sydney Australia. Jerico currently lives and works in Sydney, Australia.

Image: Jamie Preisz presented at the Jerico Contemporary booth at Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, 2019. Photography by @docqment

Thursday 28 May: Fiona Lowry

About the speaker

Born in 1974 in Sydney, Australia. Lowry received her BFA (Hons) from the Sydney College of the Arts and is a regular exhibitor in the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes. She won the prestigious Archibald Prize, Art Gallery of New South Wales (2014), as well as the Moran Portrait Prize (2008) and the Fleurieu Landscape Prize (2013).  Her work is held in a number of public collections including the National Gallery in Canberra, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, the National Portrait Gallery, Artbank, the University of Queensland Art Museum and the Macquarie Bank Collection. Her work the ties that bind (above) is currently on display in Bodies of Art at the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra.

Image: Fiona Lowry, the ties that bind, 210 x 520 cm (diptych) acrylic on canvas, 2018

Thursday 4 June: Mitch Cairns

About the speaker

Mitch Cairns (b. 1984, lives Sydney) is a figurative painter and cartoonist with an eye for abstraction and notational use of line. He whittles away extraneous detail and gets down to basic libidinal pleasures of the vernacular in a reduced palette. His painting is neither tough nor trivial. He makes figure-ground relationships dance and language dance in the realm of poetry.

Cairns was awarded the 2017 Archibald Prize for his portrait of fellow artist and partner, Agatha Gothe-Snape. 2017 was the fourth time that he has been a finalist in the high-profile prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales. The winning 2017 portrait was acquired by Monash Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, while the runner-up portraits of Reg Richardson (2014) and Peter Powditch (2015) were acquired by the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, and the Art Gallery of NSW, respectively.

Cairns has been invited to curate the 2019 Primavera: Young Australian Artist exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia. Primavera is the MCA’s annual exhibition of young Australian artists aged 35 and under. Since 1992, the Primavera series has showcased the works of artists in the early stages of their career.

He has been awarded a number of prizes and residencies as well as being a finalist in several prize exhibitions including, The Archibald Prize (2017, 2015, 2014, 2013), The Brett Whiteley Traveling Art Scholarship (2012) which included a residency at the Cité internationale des arts, Paris (2013) and the Linden Art Prize (winner postcard prize), Linden Contemporary, Melbourne (2012). He has been a finalist in the Arthur Guy Memorial Prize (2017); Geelong Contemporary Art Prize (2017, 2014), the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize (2013, 2010), the Fishers Ghost Art Prize, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney (2011), the Helen Lampriere Traveling Scholarship, Artspace, Sydney (2009, 2007, 2006), the John Olsen Drawing Prize (2005), the Gruner Landscape Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales (2004, 2003).

His work is held in the collections of the National Art School, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, Artbank, Deloitte, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, Sydney (donation from Ergas Collection), the National Portrait Gallery, Canberra, and Wollongong University Art Collection.

Mitch Cairns is alumnus of the National Art School, Sydney, where he currently sits on the Academic Board.

Wednesday 23 September: Dr Dan Elborne

About the speaker

Dr Dan Elborne is an Australian artist who primarily works with ceramic materials; in this talk he will contextualise his practice and reflect on the meaning and process behind his major artwork, Deathgate, which is the largest Holocaust memorial ever produced in Australia. The artwork comprises 1.3 million handmade ceramic stones: 1 for each detainee of the Auschwitz network of concentration camps. Every piece was produced by the artist over 1,242 days; the same length of time mass killing was carried out in those camps. Deathgate is exhibited in direct reference to the railway line that leads through the main entrance to Auschwitz II Birkenau extermination camp and is largely a personal response to the artist visiting Auschwitz in early 2016.

Elborne’s work has exhibited extensively across Australia and is part of both public and private collections across the globe. Internationally, he has participated in residencies and exhibitions in France, Denmark, Iceland, London, Helsinki, Sweden, Copenhagen, Japan and Philadelphia.

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