In fantastic showcase of our region, David Collins who visited Ravensthorpe and Hopetoun in September 2016, in a partnership with FORM, is wrapping up a mesmerizing exhibition at the end of this month.
Ravensthorpe Regional Arts Council would like to acknowledge David's breath taking work. We hope to see him back in our region again.
by David Charles Collins
What’s your name. It’s a symbol. Don’t talk.
by Gian Manik
July until September, 2017
Gian Manik and David Charles Collins mark significant new direction in upcoming FORM exhibitions highlighting Western Australia’s Pilbara and South Coast.
FORM’s latest exhibition features a return to Western Australia by artists Gian Manik and David Charles Collins with new bodies of work marking a significant new direction for each artist.
Wild Silence, by David Charles Collins and What’s your name. It’s a symbol. Don’t talk., by Gian Manik are the first major bodies of work created in Western Australia by the artists since leaving their home state. The works, a photographic series depicting iconic orchids, and a 10-meter long collaborative canvas respectively, open together at FORM Gallery Perth on Friday 9 July, 2017. They are drawn together by their focus on the remote Western Australian landscape and process of co-creation with communities in which they were developed.
FORM Curator Andrew Nicholls said Manik and Collins established their practices in Perth before moving to Melbourne and Sydney respectively. “In 2016 FORM invited both artists to return to Western Australia and undertake residencies in two of the State's remote regions,” Nicholls said.
“Over recent years Collins has gained growing national attention for his richly sensual photographic and video works, which reference the aesthetics of high-Renaissance painting to critically comment upon the hedonism, decadence and apathy of his generation,” Nicholls said.
In late 2016 FORM commissioned Collins to travel to Western Australia’s remote southern regions and create a new body of botanically-themed works in conjunction with the Ravensthorpe Wildflower Festival. His resulting photographic series, Wild Silence, documents the iconic orchids of the Fitzgerald Biosphere, an area of nationally-significant biodiversity at the border of the Great Southern and Goldfields-Esperance regions. In striking contrast to the high baroque sensibility of Collins previous works, the images have a stark and minimal beauty, representing a new direction in his practice.
Collins describes each photograph as an abstracted portrait. “The flowers, initially hard to see and find, still carried the weight and history of the place in which they had quietly existed,” he said. “Becoming more than flowers, I conceptualized them as individuals in a community, all tacitly aware of the knowledge of the land they inhabited. I found these silent bodies heavy with the secrets they keep to themselves”.
Nicholls describes Manik’s paintings as having come to focus almost exclusively on reflective and mirrored surfaces since he relocated to Melbourne in 2011. “This subject matter allows him to represent an in-between or ‘liminal’ space that shifts between abstraction and representation,” Nicholls said.
Manik spent three weeks in the Pilbara during April 2017, developing a series of new paintings inspired by his surroundings. What’s your name. It’s a symbol. Don’t talk. showcases a spectacular 10-meter long canvas produced during this time, in partnership with students from Hedland Senior High School. Manik mentored around 40 students from years 6-12 in drawing and painting techniques, inviting them to work directly on to his canvas. His own impressions of the Pilbara were then over-painted to create a bold collaborative work.
Manik said he liked the way that a section of the canvas was rolled out at a time, the children sat around and then did their work. “I worked similarly, paying little attention to perspective and orientation, let alone relational aesthetics, so there is little expectation in terms of landscape/story as is expected in most mural work.”
As with Collins’ exhibition, this work represents a new direction in the artist’s practice – having focused on refining a single concept for the past five years, this new site-responsive, collaborative project has resulted in a chaotic, layered aesthetic combining diverse mark-making and humorous juxtaposition.
Hopetoun Photography Workshop with Photographer. David Collins and FORM Curator, Andrew Nicholls. 2016