As part of the 2024 Perth Festival, The John Curtin Gallery presents exhibitions by Yankunytjatjara artist Robert Fielding (SA) and Walyalup-based artist Susan Flavell (WA) curated by Lia McKnight.
As artists deeply embedded in their practice, their making is physical, connecting to a range of material processes that extend from a commitment to the places they live and work.
While employing different methods, both artists lovingly reclaim detritus to create new forms that establish a harmony between old and new, natural and synthetic.
Their hybrid creations demand their own agency, reminding us that we disregard Country, nature and spirit at our peril.
These are simultaneously political and loving actions for the planet and her sustainability.
Gallery curator Lia McKnight has worked closely with both artists to bring these exhibitions to fruition and has been captivated by the storytelling processes underpinning each artist’s practice which evoke cycles of nature and legends of the Divine, calling us to witness their gothic road trip between Earth, Moon and Sun.
“As artists of great integrity, Robert Fielding and Susan Flavell actively care for the Country and communities in which they work. There is little separation between their art and life. This intimacy translates to objects and imagery that resonates with its own power and agency.
Fielding’s selected works reveal cyclical rhythms of day and night within Anangu lands. Flavell’s epic installation began in 2017 with a protest against the Roe8 development and has expanded to a universal cry for the planet”, comments McKnight.
Robert Fielding: Kinara pulka irnyani palyanu. Tjintungku kampara utinu
[The big moon shone brightly and made. The sun burnt through and brought it out]
Robert Fielding’s diverse practice is represented in a range of media including print, photography and video.
Fielding engages with site-specific interventions, reclaiming abandoned cars that pattern the Mimili landscape.
Onto the bonnets, doors, hubcaps and roofs of the cars, Fielding inscribes the patterns of his Aṉangu people: codes that hold sacred cultural knowledge.
Other works similarly document Fielding’s repurposing of discarded objects, integrating this ephemera with Country and culture; while Fielding’s series of photograms are exposed on Country using the Sun.
Strangely mystical in appearance, these works capture Mimili Country, shimmering in subtle technicolour.
Fielding’s practice reveals a complex and intertwined relationship with the spirit of the land – an ongoing dance between artist and the country upon which he works.
Susan Flavell: Horn of the Moon – 13 Goddesses (there are no museums at the end of the world)
A Curtin University graduate, Susan Flavell employs magical thinking as a political strategy against climate apocalypse.
Her art practice reveals notions of the fantastic, the monstrous and the mythical, applying a range of material strategies to create compelling sculptural forms.
Driven by a fundamental commitment to the use of recycled materials, Flavell’s work interrogates accepted hierarchies of material value.
Everything in the exhibition, wherever possible, will be recycled.
Seven years in the making, Flavell’s The Horn of the Moon… is a beautiful and frightening carnival: a Day of the Dead procession, a celebration, a call to arms.
Like a shelter housing mythical beasts and animate detritus, washed up on an apocalyptic tide, the darkened Gallery spaces are overwhelmed with objects that are revealed through shimmering spotlights.
The Gallery’s public opening hours during exhibitions are Monday to Friday 11.00am to 5.00pm and Sunday 12.00pm to 4.00pm. Closed Saturdays and Public Holidays.
For further information visit: curtin.edu.au/jcg/