© 2018 by Monash Gallery of Art for LEGACY. Your collection. Our story.

LEGACY+... COLLECTING CONTEMPORARY

GALLERY ONE

 

MGA’s collection is incredibly unique; the only public collection solely dedicated to Australian photography. Over the last three decades the collection has grown exponentially and now numbers over 3,100 Australian photographs that narrates the history of photography in Australia. The collection has continued to develop in depth and significance through a combination of acquisitions and donated works.

LEGACY+ … collecting contemporary features two pop-up exhibitions which show how acquisitions and donations work in concert with each other. This dynamic conversation is at the heart of how a public collection can grow and become an incredible cultural asset for the community, one that reflects, responds and speaks to the importance of photography, of public collections, and ensures future generations have access to our shared cultural history and one of the most important artistic mediums of our time. 

An important aspect of the collection is collecting contemporary practicing artists. LEGACY+ focuses on key works in the collection by leading practicing artists acquired through donation and purchase. These small vignettes place the works and these artists in conversation with each other to result in surprising connections that elicits a powerful narrative continuum.

 

Legacy+… collecting contemporary:

Hoda Afshar | Pat Brassington | David Rosetzky

18 July – 19 August 2018

Legacy+… collecting contemporary:

Petrina Hicks | Darren Sylvester | Christian Thompson

22 August – 19 September 2018

These six contemporary practicing artists utilise the photographic medium in radically different ways, approaching diverse subject matters with bold and powerful narratives that speak to contemporary issues.

The first exhibition showcases the work of Afshar, Brassington and Rosetzky who create incredibly potent narratives within their practice, with performative, experimental and chance encounters tying these works together. 

The second exhibition explores the work of Hicks, Sylvester and Thompson whose practices reference contemporary pop culture in staged scenes or tableaus that invite the viewer to delve past the enticing imagery and deep into the undertows and question what lies beneath. 

Hoda Afshar | Pat Brassington | David Rosetzky
18 July – 19 August 2018

Pat BRASSINGTON

Shadow boxer  2013
from the series Quill
pigment ink-jet print
72.0 x 50.0 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2016
MGA 2016.142
courtesy of the artist, ARC ONE Gallery (Melbourne) and Betts Gallery (Hobart)

 

Pat Brassington (1942– ) is a Hobart-based artist who studied printmaking and photography at the Tasmanian School of Art, graduating with a Master of Fine Arts in 1985. Brassington draws on a personal archive of visual material to compose her images. This archive includes both photographic and non-photographic material, which has either been found or produced by Brassington. Her work takes inspiration from surrealist photography, with its recurring interest in fetish objects and uncanny domestic scenes. Brassington typically employs digital collage to manufacture disjointed compositions, and she exhibits her work in elliptical series that suggest dream-like narratives.

 

Pat BRASSINGTON

Untitled VIII  1980–2002
from the series Untitled
pigment ink-jet print
33.0 x 26.9 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program by Pat Brassington 2011
MGA 2011.010
courtesy of the artist, ARC ONE Gallery (Melbourne) and Betts Gallery (Hobart)

 

Pat Brassington’s photographs have often made use of the artist’s home and family life as subject matter. The photographs in the series Untitled were taken during the early 1980s and, with their tight cropping and diagonal obliques, suggest that family life is an anxious and ambivalent place. Erotically charged body parts – whether partner’s or offspring – are left to hang, like fetish objects drifting through a dream. Brassington is consciously mining the clichés of psychoanalysis, with her focus on shoes, panties and an ominous father figure, but she reworks this symbolism with a comical lightness that is closer to a teen horror film than the analyst’s couch.

 

Pat BRASSINGTON

Twins  2001
from the series Gentle
pigment ink-jet print
70.0 x 55.5 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2002
MGA 2002.24
courtesy of the artist, ARC ONE Gallery (Melbourne) and Betts Gallery (Hobart)

Pat BRASSINGTON

Starlight  2001
from the series Gentle
pigment ink-jet print
65.0 x 43.5 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2002
MGA 2002.25
courtesy of the artist, ARC ONE Gallery (Melbourne) and Betts Gallery (Hobart)

Pat BRASSINGTON

Untitled  1984
from the series 1 + 1 = 3
gelatin silver print
17.9 x 28.1 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2010
MGA 2010.032
courtesy of the artist, ARC ONE Gallery (Melbourne) and Betts Gallery (Hobart)

Pat BRASSINGTON

Untitled  1984
from the series 1 + 1 = 3
gelatin silver print
18.0 x 28.0 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2010
MGA 2010.031
courtesy of the artist, ARC ONE Gallery (Melbourne) and Betts Gallery (Hobart)

 

Pat Brassington’s series 1+1=3 is one of her earliest artworks. It is a significant series because it prefigures her longstanding interest in the psychodynamics of family life and the presence of uncanny forces in domestic spaces. These works employ oblique perspectives and asymmetrical framing to affect a dreamlike pictorial space. An interest in the history of surrealist photography is particularly evident in the way Brassington has cropped body parts and focused on classic fetish objects such as women’s shoes and body hair. This early series of work also captures the importance of photography in the development of Brassington’s practice, which has increasingly embraced the flattened pictorial space of collage and print-making.

 

Pat BRASSINGTON

Socket  2006
from the series Sweet thereafter
pigment ink-jet print
85.8 x 64.5 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2010
MGA 2010.026
courtesy of the artist, ARC ONE Gallery (Melbourne) and Betts Gallery (Hobart)

Pat BRASSINGTON

Font  2007
from the series Heat
pigment ink-jet print
86.0 x 63.0 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2010
MGA 2010.024
courtesy of the artist, ARC ONE Gallery (Melbourne) and Betts Gallery (Hobart)

Pat BRASSINGTON

Untitled III  2002
from the series Untitled
pigment ink-jet print
37.0 x 24.8 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2010
MGA 2010.028
courtesy of the artist, ARC ONE Gallery (Melbourne) and Betts Gallery (Hobart)

Pat BRASSINGTON

Untitled VI  2002
from the series Untitled
pigment ink-jet print
37.0 x 23.9 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2010
MGA 2010.029
courtesy of the artist, ARC ONE Gallery (Melbourne) and Betts Gallery (Hobart)

 

'Untitled VI’ and ‘Untitled III’ are from Brassington’s Untitled (2002), one print pictures a child facing a wall while wearing headphones and the other shows a child who has been fixed to a wall with masking tape, and feature the artist’s children collaborating with the camera to stage uncanny domestic scenarios.

 

David ROSETZKY

Aaron I  2004
chromogenic prints
50.0 x 61.0 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2005
MGA 2005.02
courtesy of the artist and Sutton Gallery (Melbourne)

David ROSETZKY

Hamish  2004
chromogenic prints
50.0 x 61.0 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2005
MGA 2005.01
courtesy of the artist and Sutton Gallery (Melbourne)

 

David Rosetzky (1970– ) is a Melbourne-based artist who has been exhibiting his work since the early 1990s. He studied painting at Victoria College in Prahran and completed a PhD in Fine Art at Monash University in Caulfield. Rosetzky’s video work has been exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, resulting in major commissions including for the National Portrait Gallery, 'Portrait of Cate Blanchett' (2008), a collaboration with choreographer Lucy Guerin and composer J David Franzke. Rosetzky’s practice extensively encompasses other media including photography and installation and typically explores themes of identity and interpersonal relationships.


'Hamish and 'Aaron 1' are early examples of his photographic cut-out and collaged portraits, a style of portraiture Rosetzky has been producing periodically since 2004. To create these images, Rosetzky produces cool studio portraits of young models, referencing the style of photography found in advertising and fashion magazines. He then layers as many as three photographic portraits on top of each other before hand-cutting sections to reveal parts of the underlying prints. This technique allows Rosetzky to explore themes that are central to his practice. Using this technique he is able to represent his subjects as being multi-layered and highlight the idea that identity is fragile, changeable and often concealed.

 

David ROSETZKY

Composite portrait 5  2015
gelatin silver print
58.5 x 48.5 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2016
MGA 2016.02
courtesy of the artist and Sutton Gallery (Melbourne)

David ROSETZKY

Composite portrait 3  2015
gelatin silver print
58.5 x 48.5 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2016
MGA 2016.01
courtesy of the artist and Sutton Gallery (Melbourne)

 

These works continue Rosetzky’s use of layering in his photographic portraiture. Unlike his cut-out and collaged portraits, these works have been produced in black and white in the analogue darkroom and involve multiple exposures. In using this technique, Rosetzky was inspired by a broad range of influences including 20th-century avant-garde photographers and their experiments with photomontage. These multi-layered portraits allow Rosetzky to explore ideas that are central to his practice, showing identity as fluid and alluding to different psychological and emotional states. The crumpled paper suggests surfaces are dynamic thresholds rather than superficial masks. Used in a photographic context, the crumpled paper can also be seen as a reference to photography’s power to transform and elaborate a person’s social identity.

 

David ROSETZKY

Karlo  2017

gelatin silver print

67.2 x 57.2 cm

Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection

acquired 2018

MGA 2018.13

courtesy of the artist and Sutton Gallery (Melbourne)

David ROSETZKY

Hoda #2  2017

gelatin silver print

67.2 x 57.2 cm

Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection

acquired 2018

MGA 2018.14

courtesy of the artist and Sutton Gallery (Melbourne)

 

Rosetzky has been working in portraiture since the early 1990s to explore ideas relating to the ‘self and identity’ and has a sustained interest in experimental photographic processes. In this work Rosetzky has used analogue darkroom techniques, a double exposure, to lay two images on top of each other. This technique encourages images to emerge through chance.


Rosetzky comments about his latest series Composite Images (20 April 2018 - 19 May 2018, Sutton Gallery) which directly relate to this series is that “the technique of double-exposure photography is particularly interesting to me – working with portraiture and ideas relating to the self and identity – as it helps me to create images that seem ambiguous, fragmented and in a state of transition, rather than fixed or essential.” (Rosetzky – Sutton Gallery)


'Karlo' was a finalist in the Bowness Photography Prize 2017, and Rosetzsky is to be a judge in the Bowness Prize 2018.

 

Hoda AFSHAR

Untitled #4  2015–17
from the series Behold
pigment ink-jet print
95.0 x 120.0 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2018
MGA 2018.01
courtesy of the artist

Hoda AFSHAR

Untitled #1  2015–17

from the series Behold

pigment ink-jet print

120.0 x 95.0 cm

Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection

acquired 2018

MGA 2018.15

 

Hoda Afshar (1983– ) is a Melbourne based artist from Tehran, Iran. She completed a Bachelor degree in Fine Art–Photography in Tehran and is currently undertaking a PhD in Creative Arts at Curtin University. She works as a lecturer in photography at Photography Studies College, Melbourne.


She began her career as an artist in 2005 and was selected in 2006 as one of the top ten young documentary photographers in Iran by World Press Photo to attend their educational training program. Since moving to Australia in 2007 her work has been widely exhibited both locally and internationally and published online and in print.


She has been shortlisted for many prestigious art awards including winning the National Photographic Portrait Prize in 2015 held by Australia’s National Portrait Gallery. She has most recently become a member of Eleven — a new collective of contemporary Muslim Australian artists and thinkers whose aim is to disrupt the current politics of representation and hegemonic discourses around Islam and Islamic identities.

Hoda Afshar’s celebrated Behold series captures the documentary and conceptual performance aspects of her practice while dealing with contemporaneous issues that transcend the borders of countries through her exploration of male homosexuality in Iran.

Artist statement: Behold was made unexpectedly. I was travelling in a city that I sometimes return to, and I got to know a group of gay men who used to meet in this bathhouse in secret. It no longer exists. But while it did, they invited me to document it, and to capture a glimpse of their lives in it. We arrived, but I wasn’t allowed to enter. So we rented the place, and for a few hours I took pictures while they played themselves performing their lives for my camera, so that their desire to be seen and beheld by others might be realised here, in the world of images, where the bare thereness of life is transformed from mere appearance, into something more meaningful ... into recognition. (Bowness Photography Prize 2017)

 

Petrina Hicks | Darren Sylvester | Christian Thompson
22 August – 19 September 2018

Darren SYLVESTER

No longer exposed to problems or tension  1999
chromogenic print
100.0 x 67.8 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired with assistance from the Robert Salzer Foundation 2010
MGA 2010.001
courtesy of the artist and William Mora Galleries (Melbourne)

 

Darren Sylvester was born in Sydney in 1974 and after completing a BA in Fine Art Photography (Graphic Design) at Charles Sturt University in 1996, moved to Melbourne where he continues to live and work. Sylvester has maintained an active national and international exhibition profile since the 1990s, including solo exhibitions at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA), Singapore and Australia Centre for Photography, Sydney. His work is held in many important public and private collections, including National Gallery of Australia, the state galleries of Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria, and the Monash University collection. Sylvester won the prestigious Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award in 2011.

Sylvester's art practice is largely concerned with romantic themes of love, loss, alienation and the fragility of meaningful social relationships. He evokes these emotions with high-resolution photographic tableaus that have been carefully staged. These scenes are often composed around popular clichés and icons of consumer culture (KFC, Star Bucks), but he seeks to invest these familiar points of reference with an emotional intensity and subjective poignancy.

This photograph shows a girl sitting on a park bench against a background of foliage dappled with sun light as she listens to a portable CD player and stares off into the distance. Sylvester has staged this scene to evoke the air of tranquillity referred to in the title: no longer exposed to problems or tension.

 

Darren SYLVESTER

On holiday  2010
chromogenic print
90.0 x 120.0 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program 2013
MGA 2013.041
courtesy of the artist and Sullivan + Strumpf (Sydney)

Darren SYLVESTER

#3  2010
from the series What happens will happen
chromogenic print
120.0 x 90.0 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2013
MGA 2013.039
courtesy of the artist and Sullivan + Strumpf (Sydney)

Darren SYLVESTER

Adidas hikers  2017

chromogenic prints

160.0 x 120.0 cm (each)

Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection

acquired 2017

MGA 2017.42.a-b

courtesy of the artist, Neon Parc (Melbourne) and Sullivan+Strumpf (Sydney)

Darren SYLVESTER

Just death is true  2006
chromogenic print
90.0 x 120.0 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2013
MGA 2013.040
courtesy of the artist and Sullivan + Strumpf (Sydney)

 

Christian Thompson (1978– ) is a Bidjara man of the Kunja Nation from southwest Queensland and is also of German, Jewish, English and Irish heritage. Thompson has a Bachelor of Visual Arts from University of Southern Queensland (1996), a Masters of Fine Art from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (2004), an Advanced Studies degree from Dasarts Amsterdam (2008), and he is currently undertaking a doctorate at Oxford University as the Inaugural Charlie Perkins Scholar. In addition to these degrees he has undertaken a wide range of international residencies and internships at art centres, museums and universities. Thompson has been regularly exhibiting since 2000, and his work is held in numerous Australian and international collections including National Gallery of Australia, Aboriginal Art Museum (Utrecht, The Netherlands) and the Wagner-Owen Collection (North Carolina, United States of America)

 

Christian THOMPSON

Gods and kings  2015

from the series Imperial relic

chromogenic print

100.0 x 100.0 cm

Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection

acquired 2018

MGA 2018.17

courtesy of the artist and Michael Reid (Sydney + Berlin)

 

Christian Thompson’s practice encourages an interrogation into questions of Indigenous identity. Informed by Euro-American traditions of Performance Art and Conceptual Art, and under-pinned by theoretical discussions of ‘performative’ identity (Eve Sedgwick, Judith Butler), Thompson often represents himself within his performative photograph, however it is not a self-portrait. In a Radio National interview in 2015, Thompson explained, “I don’t think of them as being ‘myself’, because I think of my works as conceptual portraits. I’m really just the armature to layer ideas on top of.” He continued, “I really like the idea of wearing history, I like the idea of adorning myself in references to history.”

 

Christian THOMPSON

Conjure by moon  2013

from the series Pagan sun

chromogenic print

120.0 x 120.0 cm

Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection

acquired 2018

MGA 2018.16

courtesy of the artist and Michael Reid (Sydney + Berlin)

 

Christian THOMPSON

Howl your troubles  2011
from the series Native's instinct
chromogenic print
100.0 x 100.0 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2013
MGA 2013.026
courtesy of the artist and Michael Reid (Sydney)

 

Like many of Thompson’s projects, his series Native’s instinct shows the artist performing for the camera. Thompson produced the works in this series while undertaking a residency at the Australia Council’s Greene Street Studio in Manhattan. While in New York, Thompson became interested in the appropriation of indigenous American styles of adornment in contemporary street fashion. In response he created strange, urbane warrior figures using face-paint and feathers, suggestive of both the war bonnets worn by Native American Plains Indian warriors and the colours of the Australian Aboriginal flag. The politically charged nature of these allusions is undercut by the subject’s countenance: he stares at the camera in a blank or expressionless way.

 

Christian THOMPSON

Sip from the unseen  2018

from the series Moonlight cactus

chromogenic print

120.0 x 120.0 cm

collection of the artist, promised gift

courtesy of the artist and Michael Reid (Sydney)

 

Petrina Hicks (1972– ) is a Sydney-based artist who studied photo-media at the Canberra School of Art, Australian National University. She works with photography and video to produce artworks that draw on the conventions of slick, glossy advertising imagery in order to question and subvert ideas of beauty and perfection, particularly in relation to the representation of women. She has been exhibiting her works widely both nationally and internationally since 2003. Hicks won the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize in 2014 with her work, ‘Venus’ (2013).

 

Petrina HICKS

Venus  2013
from the series The shadows
pigment ink-jet print
100.0 x 100.0 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2015
MGA 2015.068
courtesy of the artist and Michael Reid (Sydney)

 

Artist statement: The title ‘Venus’ references mythology and art history to explore representation of women, and self. The earliest representations of women in art revolve around one thing; the female as life giver, fertility and childbirth. The conch shell has traditionally been used as a symbol of fertility across many cultures; the spiral formation of the conch shell is also symbolic of infinity.


‘Venus’, comes from Hicks’s series, The shadows. This series of 11 images is typical of Hicks’s practice in that it uses portraiture and symbolism to explore ideas of beauty, representation and the history of art. ‘Venus’ is an unconventional portrait. It shows a young female model covering her face with a large conch shell, used to symbolise, explore and critique the representation of women across cultures and ages. For Hicks, the conch shell is a cross-cultural symbol of fertility, and her portrait references some of the earliest images of women, which often relate to ideas of fertility and childbirth. The spiral formation of the conch shell symbolises fertility and female sexuality, and alludes to the Fibonacci sequence that appears in nature. This mathematical sequence forms the basis of the golden mean, which, through the application of its proportions, has been used to explain perceptions of beauty in the human face.

 

Petrina HICKS

Deb  2006
chromogenic print
96.6 x 117.0 cm
Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection
acquired 2006
MGA 2006.29

courtesy of the artist and THIS IS NO FANTASY + dianne tanzer gallery (Melbourne)