War has long been a topic artists can not ignore, from depicting it's glory and devastation on the battlefields to responding to its violent aftermath on the homefront. Exploring its many manifestations in contemporary art, Watters Gallery presents 'WAR' for the final exhibition of 2016.
Curated by Geoffrey Legge the exhibition includes artists Ian Howard, Ken Whisson, Richard Larter, Fiona Fell, Ruth Waller, Robert Parr, Euan Macleod, Rew Hanks, Reg Mombassa, Ken Searle, Derek O’Connor, Evan Salmon and Steve Harrison.
Dealing with the universal issue of war, Legge has approached the exhibition by selecting artists that explore the ranging levels of conflicts and the reactions to those.
A dense and varied selection of artists, each has provided their own response to the mad, dark and abstract conflict of war. Looking to the past, works range from reimagined histories with Rew Hanks’ whimsical interpretation of a John Glovers paintings from 1834 – which depicts the Tasmanian Aboriginals and Europeans living in peace – to Euan Macleod’s thoughts on Gallipoli and the deep history it shares with Australia and New Zealand as a result of conflict. Looking to the human experience, Fiona Fell expresses the shared suffering in our lives through her sculpture of a soldier and metaphor Private Plight.
Addressing the forever paired binary of ‘War and Peace’, we are asked to consider peace as its own entity – not just substantiated by the presence of War. As such they have included Steve Harrison’s small ceramic bowls throughout the exhibition. Harrison describes his bowls as “small simple gestures. They appear to be empty but are, in fact, full of good wishes and calm thoughtful intent.” As such the ceramics acts as small calm interludes between the dramatic and dark imagery conjured by the other works.
An exhibition that addresses the issues and fears of war that echo throughout out conscious and unconscious thoughts, WAR is a quiet reflection on this universally experienced conflict.
23 November – 10 December 2016
Watters Gallery, Sydney
Courtesy the artists and Watters Gallery, Sydney.
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