What’s on at The Art Gallery of Western Australia this summer.

1 Brett Whiteley
The American dream 1968-69 (detail) | Oil, tempera, collage, photography and objects on eighteen wooden panels, 244x2196cm. State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased 1978. © State Art Collection, Art Gallery of WA.

Artist | Brett Whiteley is one of Australia’s most well-loved artists. He was born in Sydney in 1939 and enjoyed considerable early success. His work was included in the seminal exhibition Recent Australian Painting (alongside Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd and more) at the Whitechapel Gallery, London, 1961, when he was just 22.
Artwork | Whiteley’s work is a dynamic 18-part visual summation of his experiences in America, charting his initial passion for the place, his intense responses to the politics and culture, and his powerful desire to leave it all behind.

American dream, American nightmare
Until February 21
American dream, American nightmare is a free two-part display that focuses on one of the collection’s iconic and most requested works, Brett Whiteley’s The American dream (1968-69). From November to February, this exhibition shifts to exploring the darker underside of the American Dream, with such artists as Leon Golub, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol. 


2 Graham Miller 
Blackheath 2013 | Pigment print, 90x60cm.
Courtesy Graham Miller and Turner Galleries.
© Graham Miller, 2013.

Artist | Graham Miller is one of WA’s most important photographers, known for his richly atmospheric images that combine cinematic vision with a short-story writer’s eye for subtle detail.
Artwork | Blackheath is a lushly romantic image of the rain-soaked road that leads to Govett’s Leap, between Lithgow and Katoomba in the Blue Mountains. While the Leap is not visible, the sense that the road leads to a precipice is clearly evident, as land and sky converge in a thin beam of illuminated space against the dark forest that edges in on both sides of the image.

 WA Focus – Graham Miller
Until February 28
Presented in two distinct sections, this show demonstrates the ways Graham’s portrait subjects exist as both characters from an unmade film and, simply, as themselves. In addition, the landscapes, when considered as a group, take on a metaphorical dimension, also functioning as ‘characters’. Working together, these elements will open up the precise slither between fact and fiction, the found and the constructed, that Miller activates so successfully.


3 Trevor Richards
Concertina 2008 | Synthetic polymer paint on canvas over plywood, 162x156cm.
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia.
Purchased through the TomorrowFund, Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2009.

Artist | Trevor Richards is a distinguished Perth artist whose practice includes painting, sculpture, installation, video and architectural interventions through his membership of the public art collective AC4CA. His work focuses on making connections between late modernist abstract painting, mass-produced objects and popular culture.
Artwork | With its serial zig-zag pattern of four colour bands, this painting refers to Richards’ ongoing interest in minimalism and its repeated systematic forms. Since 1999, Richards has limited himself to four colours, an undertaking he calls BYOG after the hues in question (blue, yellow, orange and green), and this guiding principle has informed his work since, without constraining the visual outcomes. 

 WA Focus – TR+AS+JW – Trevor Richards, Alex Spremberg and Jurek Wybraniec
March 12-May 16
Trevor Richards, Alex Spremberg and Jurek Wybraniec are Perth-based artists with a long-standing interest in abstract forms with found interventions. Each employs an approach to art-making grounded in systematic process, but arrived at through intuitive visual progression. The three artists are creating new bodies of work for this project show, including sculpture, works on paper, and paintings.


4 Shaun Gladwell
Broken Dance (Beatboxed) 2012 (still) | Two-channel synchronised high definition video, 16:9, colour, sound; duration 85 minutes, 41 seconds; edition 3 of 3, with artist proof. State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased through the TomorrowFund, Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2015
© Courtesy the artist and Anna Schwartz Gallery.

Artist | Shaun Gladwell is one of Australia’s most renowned contemporary artists. He represented Australia in the 53rd Venice Biennale, 2009, and was an official war artist in Afghanistan in 2014. Since 2000, he has held numerous solo exhibitions in Australia and overseas.
Artwork | Broken Dance (Beatboxed) continues his engagement with the urban sub-cultures, given expression through the body against a backdrop of graffiti-covered spaces. One channel of the video depicts the vocal percussions of a beat-boxer; the other focuses on gesture, tracing the ‘freestyle’ motions of dancers who merge the genres of breakdancing, krumping and whacking.

Screen Space – Shaun Gladwell Broken Dance (Beatboxed) 
Until January 10
A new work is screened every two months in this dedicated space for
AGWA’s growing filmic acquisitions.


5 Ryan Trecartin
CENTER JENNY 2013 (still) | HD video, duration 53 minutes, 15 seconds.
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased through the TomorrowFund, Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2014. © Ryan Trecartin. Image courtesy Andrea Rosen Gallery, New York.

Artist | Ryan Trecartin is widely considered to be the artist of our moment. Calvin Tompkins of The New Yorker recently dubbed him “a video art visionary” whose work is full of “breaking news from the future”.
Artwork | This Perth debut of Trecartin’s work features AGWA’s major new acquisitions, Sibling Topics (section a) (2009), and CENTER JENNY (2013). These incredibly intense and inventive works will be presented alongside four more movies: K-CorealNC.K (section a) (2009), P.opular S.ky (section ish) (2009), Items Falls (2013), and Junior War (2013). Screened daily, back to back, these six movies will immerse visitors in the ‘ecstatic poetics’ of Trecartin’s practice. 

Ryan Trecartin – 6 Movies
January 31-May 8
A highlight of the 2016 Perth International Arts Festival Visual Arts Program.


6. Francis Cotes
Mrs George Reynolds, with Indian lily 1768 | Oil on canvas, 127x112cm.
The David Roche Foundation, Adelaide, SA.

Artist | Francis Cotes was a fashionable British portrait painter, who was particularly admired for his skills working with pastels. Cotes was a founding member of the prestigious Royal Academy, and vied with his contemporaries Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough to be considered the pre-eminent portraitist of the eighteenth century.
Artwork | Mrs George Reynolds, with Indian lily was painted in the year Francis Cotes became a Royal Academician. Although known for his pastel portraits, by the time this work was painted Cotes had moved to working with oils, in order to work on a larger scale. Mrs Reynolds is shown in fashionable dress, watering
an exotic plant, while at the same time confidently looking out of the picture at the viewer. The portrait retains the informality and delicate handling of a pastel portrait; interestingly the clothing in Cotes’ portraits was often painted by a different artist, Peter Toms, which partly explains the difference in handling between flesh and fabric.

Treasure Ships: Art in the Age of Spices
Until January 31
The exhibition features the spectacular and exotic art produced for global markets from the 16th to early 19th centuries. Demand for spices spurred on the great voyages of exploration and the establishment of vast empires across Asia. Treasure Ships presents the stories of the spice markets, slave trade and shipwrecks, as well as illustrating the astonishing beauty of Chinese porcelain – known as ‘white gold’ – and celebrating vibrant Indian textiles.


7 David Hay
A need for balance 2014 | Blown glass, overlayed sandblasted and carved, 22x22x24cm.
State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased 2015.

Artist | David Hay is a contemporary Western Australian glass artist. Originally trained at UWA as an engineer, he subsequently finished a diploma in glass techniques and technology from the International Glass Centre, at Dudley College of Technology, England, in 1995. Since that time, he has participated in numerous group exhibitions, and has been shortlisted in the gallery’s Tom Malone Prize five times.
Artwork | Like all of Hay’s work, this piece combines incredible coldworking techniques with consummate blowing skills. Moving away from his typical focus on vessels, this new circular form showcases more fully the material lushness of his approach to glass. Inside and outside are given equal weighting in the piece, and as they are, we see the coming together of land and ocean, from an imagined aerial perspective.

Luminous: The Tom Malone Prize 2015
February 12-May 2
This display features the works short-listed for the Tom Malone Prize 2016. The Tom Malone Prize was established in 2003 as an annual award for Australian glass artists. An acquisitive prize, each year’s winning entry becomes a part of the State Art Collection. Glass is one of the most exciting and dynamic art forms in this country. It’s a captivating medium, capable of almost endless transformation, and a perfect vehicle for the exploration of a range of themes, from the personal to the observational.


8 Julie (Yaminga) Dowling 
Yagan 2006 | Synthetic polymer paint and ochre on canvas, 150x200cm. State Art Collection, Art Gallery of Western Australia. Purchased through the The Leah Jane Cohen Bequest, Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation, 2007.

Artist | Julie Dowling is a highly respected Western Australian artist whose paintings focus on personal and shared histories, lest we forget. Many, if not all, of these stories are depicted through portraiture, including this painting of Yagan, a Nyoongar warrior and freedom fighter in and around Perth during early settlement.  

Until February 21
Resistance is a presentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices and world views about contemporary Indigenous life. It features Indigenous knowledge systems and commentary on Indigenous experiences, histories, cultures and people. It highlights the importance of everyday resistance and
the use of ‘voice’ to combat voicelessness and invisibility — conditions that are regularly experienced by Indigenous peoples and minorities around the world.


Art Gallery of Western Australia
Perth Cultural Centre, Perth
(08) 9492 6600, www.artgallery.wa.gov.au

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