Panoptic Press embraces an ecosystem of thought that allows ideas and concepts to mingle and cohabitate, finding realisation and understanding through shared networks. Below you will find a series of high definition artist’s talks. Co-ordinated and produced for Panoptic by Simon Marsh, all artist’s talks from 2014 will continue to be uploaded to this page as they become available. However, if you would prefer to stream directly from Panoptic’s youtube channel, you will find it here.
Robert Andrew: Recalibrating Country.
When we begin to seriously look at the Contemporary Urban Indigenous artworks of Robert Andrew you would be excused if thoughts of a supersymmetry began nudging their way in from the periphery of your conscious mind. There is no need to be alarmed as this supersymmetricality is simply an aspect of the Indigenous Australian Dreamtime. It pulsates with residues of the past and future histories – in this case of art – to be inescapably and forever placed in the present. The work of Andrew is heavily process driven, experimental and oozes a rare authenticity for one so young. Technologically precise in its gesture toward country, it evokes a rich, deep and knowledgable experience of country and the journey he has undertaken to immerse himself in that Dreaming. The reductive illusionism of Andrew’s mark making hint toward expressing potentials of being incorrectly placed within the white Western Canon. With conversations abounding within particulars of both modernism and Post-Modernism, these seemingly strong aspects and alignments are simply a false flag. And whilst this form of musing may momentarily excite an art historical mind, it remains arguably academic. Irregardless of whether we are able to locate all of these elements and more in the work, the work itself remains Contemporary Urban Indigenous Art.”
Carolyn Mackenzie Craig: Through the Keyhole, “Gambit Lines” Bosz Gallery, July, 2016.
“Living in the subject body means living within certain parameters. Our body-minds are restricted by learned behaviour, both intentional and unintentional due to the influence of cultural normativity. Through the white noise of culture’s codifications, we forget that we exist in a naturally fluid space with potential to be explored. “Please do not sit like that.” This idea of standardisation is used to define our positions both within ourselves and society at large, and seeps into us in ways often unnoticed. When cultural normativity turns bad, people and their behaviours are classified, restricted, catalogued, stereotyped, deemed unacceptable or unattractive and objectified in ways that inherently exclude some whilst privileging others. Cultural coherence means drawing lines and forming categories that are arbitrary in an inherently fluid space, in order to assert control. Instead of using the line to control, Carolyn Mackenzie-Craig uses the drawn line to render such categories fluid again, specifically in relation to genders’ social inscription on her own identity. In repeating daily gendered movements over and over, she kinaesthetically deconstructs them. She uses these tools to identify where there is room to move, and to what extent these categories hold power over her. With repetition within constraints, micro-differences appear that exist outside of fixed knowledge. This is her entry point into codified structure from a fluid perspective, where new meanings can be created or discovered: the grey area where identity is still free.”
Chris Worfold: The Fringe Benefit of Intention: A View of the Woods, White Canvas Gallery, October, 2015.
“As an arts educator I understand the importance of being aware of the socio political position in which you reside and the art historical theory that situates your work. Hopefully I enable students to embrace this. However when we take a broad look at professional arts practise we can clearly see that some artists directly engage with theory as a source for the works production whilst others entertain motivations that lie outside of theoretical stratagems.I feel that both of these positions and everything in between are completely valid. An artist doesn’t have to reach for one particular outcome, doesn’t have to incorporate one particular way of working or indeed one particular way of thinking to achieve a desired outcome. Whilst theory is important it is simply one of many artistic conventions that once understood can quite easily be discarded as an artistic motivator. I feel that my practice is set now. It is not young work anymore. After more than twenty years exhibiting as a professional artist I understand what I want and where the work is going. My practice – this act of painting – is really for others to decide whether it is art or not. And whilst I’m a technically proficient and well-trained painter – there’s not much that I can’t do within the medium – I find myself increasingly trying to let the medium do what it ‘wants’ to do. I find myself simply getting out of the way of the process of its becoming.”
Dr Laini Burton: Fashion, Body Modification and the ‘PostHuman’ Condition.
“Motivated by the question: How might we ‘fashion’ our bodies in the future? this paper reflects on a range of examples from cosmetic surgery and extreme body modification, scientific breakthroughs such as the successful bio-fabrication of human flesh, through to the design of wearable organs hosting synthetic life. In taking this discursive approach, Dr Laini Burton presents a talk that urges us to consider the ethical, material and aesthetic aspects of (re)designing ourselves. By looking more closely at these fringe developments, then, we can begin to come to terms with the inevitable evolution of the human form that is appearing in the wake of a techno-scientific revolution. In doing so, we can acknowledge the materiality of the body as unstable, and address the fears that accompany the mutable body. Held at the Little Tokyo Two Substation on Sunday the 20-3-2016, Laini argues that, should we be so bold, we may yet configure a relational economy with synthetic life toward an unfixed, evolving politics of species-being.” Dr Laini Burton is a Lecturer at the Queensland College of Art, Griffith University where she convenes Studio Art and Honours within the Bachelor of Digital Media. Her research centres on body politics, bio-art and design, fashion theory, performance and body/spatial relations. Laini’s professional activities work across practice and theory where she both exhibits and publishes.
Dr Courtney Pedersen: Fashion, Body Modification and the ‘PostHuman’ Condition.
“While we often think of body modification and a ‘posthuman’ condition as being contemporary phenomena, we can look to the avant-garde art and design of the early twentieth century as predictors of many of our current concerns. In both art and fashion, there was a keen interest in redesigning the body itself as a response to technological and social change. In this talk, Dr Courtney Pedersen invites us to consider the provocations that these practitioners raised and how many of their concerns are still relevant for us today.” Dr Courtney Pedersen is the Head of Visual Arts at QUT and a Senior Lecturer in Art History/Theory. Her research interests include the position of women in art, feminist methods in creative practice-led research, and visual arts pedagogy. She has also been a practicing artist for over 20 years, with her primary training in photography at Prahran College and the VCA. Courtney is currently a co-director of the feminist artist collective LEVEL, and serves on the boards of Eyeline Publishing and Boxcopy Contemporary Art Space in Brisbane. Held at the Little Tokyo Two Substation on Sunday the 20-3-2016, Dr Courtney Pedersen delivered the first of three papers exploring historical phenomena surrounding fashion and body modification pre-empting a contemporary configuration of the ‘posthuman’ condition.
Dr William Platz: Under Arena, Drawing International Brisbane 2015.
Adversely and surprisingly given Platz’s performative studio based practice which exhibits an intimated contact between and the complete embodiment of the corporeal, almost eliciting a visceral communion between the artist and model: Under Arena for Platz could be viewed as a failure. It evoked the level of poor choices made in the conceptualisation and execution of the performance. Drawing only in the most literal of senses with brush and sumi ink whilst evoking a gestalt of high Modernist conservatism the work also failed as performance art. Whilst the denial of the artist’s body within the overall performative arena could be configured as a form of anti-performance, this was not it. Having segregated the space with an arch of rice paper the image gradually appeared to the viewer without any reference to the source of creation. This choice was incomprehensibly in direct reaction to the high levels of embodiment already exhibited by the other artists. However and importantly it removed the medium of performance art from the viewing public. Add to this the levels of interruption and source of spatial static caused by the taut rice paper which inhibited the sonic flow and relegated the artistic conversations to that of the three previously mentioned groups. The paper in this case acted as a full stop, a cull de sac, an almost impenetrable void.
Kellie O’Dempsey: Under Arena, Drawing International Brisbane 2015.
The interdisciplinary onslaught of affectation ranged in turn from the authenticity of action expressed by Kellie O’Dempsey’s integration and hybridised blending of the digital and analogue. A dynamic process of contemporary mark making that referenced the anti-extentional, visionary, transcendental and metaphysical nature of an abstracted expressionism. Interestingly the material events created by O’Dempsey lay in the palpable in-between space that was initiated between the layering of the digital line over that of the analogue. The degrees of distance that this layering intimated allowed the eye of the viewer to comfortably inhabit this in-between space of liminality. The hyper absorption of O’Dempsey’s technique of mark making: dynamic, building, big and bold chiaroscuric gestures back dropping the electric incandescence of the digital line, over time, became increasingly difficult to detach from. The degrees of a spacial distance and the celebration of an articulated difference of media that these three groups exhibited were all heightened by the tempered sound sculpting of both Michael Dick and Ben Eli: unremitting in its aleatoric cyclical determinancy.
Todd Fuller | Carl Sciberras Flatline: Under Arena, Drawing International Brisbane 2015.
When we start to drill down into the particulars of collaboration we consistently enter a space of experimentation that can be seen as a form of professional development. This sense of professional development can be clearly evidenced in the degrees of difference shown by Todd Fuller and Carl Sciberras together comprising Flatline: a practice that is based on technicalities and how to resolve the differences that exist between the languages of contemporary choreography, dance and drawing. What we are dealing with here is the interior/exterior nexus of line, point, space, shape and contour and how these basic actions can be interrogated and reconciled between each medium in arriving at a hybridised intellectual, artistic rendering of physicality. And as both artists agree there exist many points of entry for a viewer to engage the embodied dialogue of a Flatline performance art event. The fluidity of movement between both artists allows them to skilfully create and importantly sustain an articulated space throughout each performance. Both artists are alert to each other’s predisposition and can, but importantly will acquiesce to the better choice of line, the better choice of movement, shape, contour and point.
Zoe Porter: Under Arena, Drawing International Brisbane 2015.
The Dada inspired surreal sublimity exhibited by Zoe Porter, Mariana Joslin and Mayu Moto that in turn also loosely referenced Fluxus with its incorporation of the viewers shadow-play and action into a series of highly worked appropriated projected imagery. The soft sculptural works that evoked a distinct sense of a hybrid form: referencing both the human and animal this hybridity acted as a psychological trigger allowing us access into an otherworldly frame of reference. Porter’s style of performance is hyper organic which allows her to respond in real time to real events and although a rough roadmap of the performance is discussed beforehand it is apt to change. The levels of an artistic phenomenology that operate throughout a Porter performance exacerbate an almost predetermined choice of whether we do or do not fall down Porters metaphorically constructed rabbit hole. As always it remains our individual choice as to whether we converse with the work or not. It is difficult. It is primal and yet intrinsically human, shamanistic and conceptually animal. Foundational in its referencing of the three basic shapes of drawing from which anything can manifest.
Dr William Platz: Life Drawing, Yawning Zombies and the Dragan Ilic Affair.
Dr William Platz is an artist and writer whose research, teaching and practice concern life drawing, portraiture and pedagogies of drawing. He is also the co-convenor of the drawing research project Drawing International Brisbane (DIB), which brings together leading drawing scholars and practitioners from around the world to conference and exhibit on the current state of drawing practice, curatorship and theory. This paper will ruminate over a few ongoing research projects as part of a longstanding inquiry into contemporary life drawing and the transactions that occur between artists and models. It draws upon recent studio practice and an investigation of Human Canvas — a 1979 performance at Brisbane’s College of Art by artist Dragan Ilic. The studio work blends the symbolic action of yawning with tropes associated with zombie narratives. A key point of reference for this work is an obscure and sinister drawing by Edgar Degas of a young woman yawning. The study of Human Canvas focuses on the transgressions of artist/model and professional/student boundaries and the retributive aftermath of the work.
Professor Susan Best: Reparative Aesthetics Witnessing in Contemporary Art Photography.
Sue Best is the convenor of Fine Art and Art Theory at the Queensland College of Art. She is an art historian with expertise in the area’s of critical theory and modern and contemporary art. Reparative Aesthetics: Witnessing in Contemporary Art Photography offers a new way of thinking about the role of politically engaged art. It examines the work of four women photographers from the southern hemisphere who are pioneering a reparative approach to art about shameful histories such as: the harsh and unjust treatment of indigenous peoples; the cruel institutionalisation of vulnerable groups; the disappearance of dissidents; and the carnage of civil war. They are: Rosângela Rennó (Brazil), Anne Ferran (Australia), Fiona Pardington (New Zealand), and Milagros de la Torre (Peru/USA). These artists make a radical break with the dominant approaches to political art (institutional critique, identity politics), which still follow the precepts of the anti-aesthetic tradition…© Susan Best all rights reserved.
Simon Degroot: Indirect Response a Synthesis Of Abstract Constructs.
Degroot’s research interest focuses on the translation of formal elements in contemporary abstraction, tracing how and when shapes become reused, and from where they are sourced. To be able to investigate this he must speak many of the so-called ‘languages of art’; he must understand the logic of past aesthetics in order to apply his process of translation into contemporary abstraction. These recent works articulate the fluency with which he speaks these aesthetic languages. The understanding of how to make paintings that are both original and reiterative of something else is highlighted throughout this show. As a PhD candidate, the depth of Degroot’s research means his work must knowingly take onboard the impossibility of undoing the Modernist monochrome. He must work ‘in direct response’ to the black monochrome, photocopying and displaying these problems in order to keep them present. And yet he must also translate these problems into new and contemporary terms – define the parameters – to propel them forward.
Rex Butler Ben Quilty: The Fog of War.
For the second of his talks at the inaugural FASST event Associate Professor Rex Butler questions…”Why are certain art works popular? Because they express something of our attitudes towards things, and thus tell us something about ourselves. There is nothing more popular in this year of the centenary of Gallipoli than Ben Quilty’s images of soldiers who have served in Afghanistan, “After Afghanistan.” But what – if we look at them closely – do they have to tell us about contemporary attitudes towards war, perhaps even despite themselves and whether we like it or not?” This is a 30 minute lecture style historical inquiry traversing the art of Jaques-Louis David through to Ben Quilty. Butler’s – stock in trade – incisive framing of war and or history painting arrives at a vague complicity an almost ambiguous empathy that we share with the artist in the rendering and viewing of these works that can only hope to trace the specificity of lived experience.
Rex Butler with A.D.S Donaldson: I am, You Are, We Are Australia.
What do a series of works called ‘Australia’ done by artists who do not come from Australia have to tell us about ourselves? Equally, what does the presence of paintings of gumtrees throughout European modernism have to tell us about the Australian landscape tradition? Perhaps, in a way, we are all Australian, even those that were not born here. Perhaps “Australian” art can be made overseas by artists who are not Australian. Art historians for some time have tried to define what “Australian” art is. Their definitions have inevitably been exclusive, often leaving out, for example, Australian artists working overseas and artists from overseas working here. But what would it mean to say that “Australian” art can be made by anyone, anywhere? We try to answer this question by looking at a series of European artists who have painted gumtrees and a series of European and American artists who have made works called Australia and even “Aboriginal” art.
Franz Ehmann: The Materiality of an Artistic Existence.
in literature i always read the modernist writers such as Beckett or for example Thomas Bernhard who are always on about capturing and imparting an experience of the end game…though the question remains…how can i work with this concept…this kind of existential aspect and what does that then infer to the overall value of our existence…producing artworks in this manner you question the value in this kind of endism so to speak…you know it’s never there…realistically you constantly have to construct some form of communicational dialogue in a search for how we can possibly utilise this space or this sphere to culturally instil these concepts into ‘place’ and of course an audience who simply may not be aware of what it is you are referring to in the first place…these very minute literal changes carry with them a certain form of irony and dark humour…not to mention a complete feeling of the absolute absurd…
Renata Buziak: The Absolute Authority of Authenticity.
When we look at the abstractions of startling photographic beauty Renata Buziak designates as Biochromes, we are immediately struck by thoughts of the transubstantiative atemporality of nature. This art/science endeavour embraces a distinct affect that literally jolts us from our subsumed linear elasticity and suggests altered temporalities beyond those of a cyclical transience, linear adaptability, experiences of flux, fluidity and vestigial remnants: it is an endeavour that requires a prominent reordering of the indexical nature of our observation whilst simultaneously celebrating the traditional beliefs in the indexical nature of the photographic process. The unmitigated density of the varying strains of knowledge that this body of work proposes coalesce into a paradoxical visual treatise that fixes the subject as an authenticating sign which resists the signification of both life and or death…
Benjamin Werner: Blinded by the Lights.
The bright lights of the city are a recurring metaphor representing the seduction of the ‘big smoke’, with its promise of fame, fortune and endless possibilities. Indeed the city at night, seen from a high vantage point like a lookout, appears almost magical. We can imagine the lives of those living amongst the beckoning lights and dream about who we could become and what the city has to offer us. Sometimes it’s more about the visual experience of watching the lights dance across our field of vision, forming a blanket of light circles that envelop us and wash away the stresses of everyday life. Benjamin Werner’s latest works draw on these experiences as their starting points, but push them visually to explore perception, seduction and music in a search for the sublime in contemporary life. The exhibition’s title is drawn from The Streets’ 2004 single about ecstasy, relationships and the sensory rush of drug and alcohol intoxication…
Simone Oriti | Article | YouTube | November 2014
Karike Ashworth: The Simplicity of Truth: Death Is Not the Enemy.
Ashworth’s Lamentation marked the two-year anniversary of the passing of her mother in May 2012. The exhibition conveys the collective grief of twelve women including the artist who have all lost their mother to death. A celebration of life viewed through the lens of artistic contemplation? Perhaps, though one is drawn to a speculative rending of the mind and body in the face of a perceived culmination of events amounting to the sublime certainty of finality. It is a dialogue that as a society we tend to dismiss. And yet framed as artistic eloquence in a recognizable public space, a space in which dialogue is encouraged and permitted to take shape, enables the viewer to constructively consider the many complexities surrounding the human inability to explore the absolute certainty of our collective demise. To investigate ideas that oscillate between the felt pain of a certain vacancy and a remembered presence underscored by a seemingly…
Carolyn V Watson: The Physicality of Process.
Carolyn V Watson is part of a wave of artists who are reviving traditional art making practices. Integral to Watson and other artists working in this marginal way (think Lae Oldman, Juz Kitson and Lindsay Pichaske), is the wholehearted commitment of the artist being immersed in each stage of their artistic process. Embracing the physicality involved in the act of making, these artists privilege the handmade over the technical, the humble over the ostentatious and the organic over the manufactured. As a result, making art is a labour intensive, obsessive and at times ritualistic experience. This emphasis on process counters much mainstream contemporary art where the role of the artist is limited to the creation of an idea and the making is outsourced to skilled technicians. Yet, as witnessed in Watson’s work, the investment of the artist’s time and care confers a gravitas that cannot be achieved in any other way…
Gary Carsley: The Collapse of Refinement.
Similar to the mapmakers in Jorge Luis Borges’s short story On Exactitude in Science, found in the collection, A Universal History of Infamy, Gary Carsley adheres to a cartographic exactness throughout the creation of Sciencefictive, a metaphoric mappa mundi situating the viewer at the centre of the world. The superabundance of conceptual questions that one is met with when viewing the complex series of surfaces that constitute Carsley’s most recent exhibition at the Institute of Modern Art Brisbane, seamlessly revolve around an artistic inference, circle the believability of a metaphoric significance that exists between, within and throughout the artistic object, time, space, place and of course the viewer in situ. What we are challenged with are a profusion of conceptual slippages between illusion and reality. Challenged by Carsley’s artistic representation of a flattened world…
Kerry Tribe: The Terminal Attrition of a Conscious Memory.
Filmed in Greystone mansion, Beverly Hills, California, from the outset we begin to formulate a sense that the overall mise en scene points toward an obscenely excessive wealth that simply lies beyond the normative conventions of culture. Tribe’s exceedingly high production values map, in a five act sequence, hypothetical’s surrounding the high society murder of Edward Doheny Jnr and his personal assistant Hugh Plunket in 1929. Whilst superficially, the installation sounds, looks, smells and feels like it ticks all the boxes of our preconceived expectations of what traditional narrative film based media is composited, the distinct and at times absurd friction that we as an audience feel between the projected image and scripted language – reminiscent of concrete poetics – leads to an almost uncomfortable slippage for an audience with which to formulate any sense of attachment with the characters.
Nic Plowman: Relations of Mutual Resonance.
Produced in the wake of Australia’s first parliamentary enquiry into institutional child-sex abuse, Plowman’s subject is topical and potent. The change in medium from watercolours to mainly oils and acrylics is due to the artist believing that his subject requested – even demanded – a raw visceral approach. (3) Consequently, many works have a purposive crudeness that reflects the unresolved nature of his weighty subject. For instance, in Pope I: The Great , the chimpanzee that squats on the papal throne is half rendered – the body being delineated only by rough preparatory markings. In a reverse gesture, the carefully rendered face of Clement IX, which cites Carlo Maratti’s portrait of 1669, has been painted over so that the pontiff’s presence appears ghostly and outmoded. The effect of these markings and erasures conveys the uncertainty of moral values in the Church.
Celeste Chandler: The Embarrassment of Sincerity: The Changing State of Contemporary Figurative Painting.
A fearless and at times brutal re-imagining of the act of contemporary figurative painting, the artwork of Celeste Chandler unmistakably engages with the development of a new set of strategic maneuvers in her reconfiguration of a visual lexicon with which to communicate ideas. This was clearly evidenced and importantly felt in her most recent solo exhibition The Embarrassment of Sincerity: The Changing State of Contemporary Figurative Painting, shown at the Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Melbourne, from the sixth to the fifteenth of February 2014. The unmitigated import of Chandler’s visual grammar of potentiality surrounds an artistic economy of sensation mediated by the inherent instability of an ambiguous perception. What we very quickly ascertain when viewing Chandler’s oeuvre is the patent unverifiability of the underlying sentiments of production being seamlessly mapped onto that of the reception of the work…
Christian Flynn: Power is Born Here.
Securing his course work masters with first class honours from the Queensland College of Art in 2007, Flynn has consistently been showing his seminal brand of post-modernism over the past decade. Including, though not limited to, galleries such as Soapbox, I.M.A, Ryan Renshaw, George Petelin and Ray Hughes, from the outset, his earlier efforts have clearly informed his more mature developments as an artist. This coherent commitment to exploring in depth a post-modern trajectory is in itself, testament to establishing an artistic output in an overloaded marketplace. Reading through the scant literature surrounding the works of Flynn one often feels that there is something missing, namely, an historical, artistic meta-narrative that clearly maps, informs and shapes his practice. For when looking at his output over the past decade we get a clear sense that Flynn’s oeuvre extols an accessible, unambiguous pastiche of certain artistic fundamentals evident throughout Modernism.