Perth Festival 2024: Robert Fielding & Susan Flavell

John Curtin Gallery 9 Feb - 14 Apr 2024

John Curtin Gallery presents two exhibitions – one from Yankunytjatjara artist Robert Fielding and the other from Walyalup-based artist Susan Flavell.

John Curtin Gallery presents two exhibitions – one from Yankunytjatjara artist Robert Fielding and the other from Walyalup-based artist Susan Flavell. As artists deeply embedded in their practice, their making is physical, connecting to a range of material processes that come from a commitment to the places they live and work.

While using different methods both artists lovingly reclaim detritus to create new forms, establishing harmony between old and new, natural and synthetic. The storytelling process that underpins each artists’ practice evokes cycles of nature and legends of the Divine, calling us to witness their gothic road trip between Earth, Moon and Sun.

Perth Festival 2024 will be on display at The John Curtin Gallery 9th February - 14 April 2024

Robert Fielding

Robert Fielding is a contemporary artist of Pakistani, Afghan, Western Arrente and Yankunytjatjara descent, who lives in Mimili Community on the APY Lands (SA). Robert combines strong cultural roots with contemporary views on the tensions between community life and global concerns. He confidently moves across different mediums forming a meeting point for different narratives to come together and connect with each other. His practice includes new media, painting, and traditional craftsmanship.

Robert’s work is rooted in his personal experience of reclaiming culture as a son of the Stolen Generation. He has spent extended periods of time researching archives across Australia’s major cultural institutions, whilst concurrently learning from his Elders on the APY Lands. This personal history brings a unique and important perspective to his work, which offers a reminder that many cultural practices are stronger than ever today, whilst also noticing traditions worn down or destroyed by white intervention.

Fielding has recently been invited to participate in The National 4, 2023 (AGNSW), and 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial, 2022 (NGA). Fielding’s first international solo exhibition was staged at the Fondation Opale in Switzerland in late 2018 and his work has been shown in exhibitions across Australia and internationally, including the Tarnanthi tour of KulataTjuta (Many Spears) at the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rennes, France, in 2020, in the exhibition (un)learning Australia at Seoul Museum of Art and at Bangkok Biennale Chaos : Calm.

Robert Fielding Manta Miilmilpa (sacred earth), 2021

Susan Flavell

Susan Flavell is an accomplished artist with over 40 years of experience. Through her diverse practice, Flavell explores themes of animals, nature, the environment, the unconscious, the fantastic, the monstrous, and the mythical. Flavell draws inspiration from her rich childhood experiences of living in many places, including Central America, and from the landscape of Western Australia. Her early memories of exploring ancient ruins and her continuing encounters with wildlife have left a lasting impression on her artistic practice.

We climbed steep temple steps while our mother worried about us falling. Inside we met a stone jaguar and outside at nighttime we heard real jaguars coughing. We saw where men’s hearts were cut out so blood could fill a bowl. From a vehicle we watched fish and turtles swim across a road in flood, on the walls moths the size of my father’s hand rested, and we heard the sound of flying beetles, part rhinoceros, part rock, throwing themselves at windows.

I don’t remember arriving in the jungle but I remember leaving. A rabies outbreak, the cat asleep, they said, under a hill, the dog also. Then arriving suddenly in the cold weather of London, two bright parrots in the luggage.

Flavell’s work has been showcased in notable exhibitions, most recently, Storm the Gods & Shake the Universe, FORM Gallery (2023), Golden Flowers, Art Collective (2018), The Horn of the Moon, John Curtin Gallery (2017), The Dog’s Artist, Fremantle Arts Centre (2016), An Internal Difficulty, PICA & AOTM (2015) and Freud’s Desk, Turner Galleries (2013). She was the recipient of the prestigious Mark Howlett Foundation Commission (#14) and has undertaken a number of public art commissions. Flavell has been selected for international residencies including the Basel Exchange in Switzerland, The Pottery Workshop in Jindezhen, China, and the Freud Museum in London.

Delving into realms of myth, objects, nature, and animals, Susan Flavell invites viewers to contemplate the mystical and otherworldly. Through her use of recycled materials and her exploration of magical thinking, she challenges us to reconsider our relationship with the world around us. Flavell’s art speaks to our collective connection to the environment and the importance of sustainable practices. Her extensive artistic journey, commitment to her craft and teaching history have established her as a prominent figure in the Western Australian art world.

Susan Flavell She who Scribes the Sorrows (a love goddess) (detail)

Exhibition Details

Opening: Thu 8 Feb 6pm
Exhibition: Fri 9 Feb – Sun 14 Apr

Mon – Fri 11am – 5pm
Sat & Sun 12 – 4pm (Feb)
Sun 12 – 4pm (Mar & Apr)