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Curtin University of Technology
John Curtin Gallery

Past exhibitions


SoDA15: Department of Art

Together, 100 years apart: 11th Battalion A.I.F. on the Great Pyramid of Khufu, Giza, Sunday 10 January 1915

Futile Labor, Ionat Zurr, Chris Salter, Oron Catts: John Curtin Gallery, southern and central gallery

Scanlines dLux MediaArts: John Curtin Gallery, northern gallery

Koolark Korl Kadjan (Spiritual Return Home) REGIONAL TOUR: Katanning Art Gallery

Foreign Soil: Thea Costantino

Post-hybrid: reimagining the Australian self

Ragnar Kjartansson, The Visitors | The Man
Perth International Arts Festival 2015

...remembering Carrolup
Curated in collaboration with Edith De Giambattista and Noelene White


SoDA15: Department of Art

Exhibition 27 November - 13 December, 2015

The John Curtin Gallery, in partnership with Curtin University’s School of Design and Art (SoDA), proudly presents an exhibition by graduating Art students from the School’s postgraduate program. The works in the exhibition represent the culmination of years of study and reflect the students’ research projects undertaken during their postgraduate degrees. The exhibition enables the graduates to present their work to new audiences as well as affords them the opportunity to exhibit in a major public art gallery.

SoDA15 features six discreet projects by visual art practitioners:

Peng LIU
Shannon LYONS
Michael WISE


Image: David Attwood, A Non-Objective supporter's banner (2013), aluminium mounted digital print

For SoDA15 David Attwood presents the results of an investigation into the potential for a situated Non-Objective art practice. The term "Non-Objective Art" loosely describes abstract artwork that is without representational subject matter, and in an effort to explore and expand the limits of this approach to art practice Attwood has produced a series of public interventions, actions and murals in response to various urban locales. The works presented take their impetus from inner western suburb Marrickville in New South Wales, home of the Newtown Jets, and the multi-storey Queensgate car park in Fremantle, Western Australia.


Image: Karen Ann Donnachie, from Delayed Rays Of a Star (2015), custom built and programmed, 5-way, auto-broadcasting selfie camera (electronic components, acrylic, selfie sticks), mannequin

Karen Ann Donnachie's work explores the phenomenon of the selfie, as a vehicle for the mass projection of self and the effect it has on contemporary notions of identity, society and photography. For SODA15 Donnachie has created a multimodal installation complete with self-made and self-programmed “selfie” cameras, custom printed magazines, an algorithmic light installation and a participatory online artwork that permits the user to recast their Facebook data into their personal shrine.

Often carried by Donnachie wherever she goes, her camera-objects constantly and automatically post to social media. These social media performances are projected continuously into the exhibition space. For Donnachie, these systems for the distribution of the self have the potential of also becoming the very source of the identity they attempt to frame.

Delayed Rays of A Star


Karen Ann Donnachie will be in attendance to demonstrate Delayed Rays of a Star and NousAutres on
Wednesdays 12.30pm – 1pm
Fridays 12.30pm – 1pm
and by appointment.
Please direct enquiries to the Gallery’s reception.


Peng LIU

Image: Peng Liu, The Forbidden City (2015), oil on canvas, 170 x 1300cm

My PhD research focuses on the interrelationship between body, architecture space and time, which is realized in exegetical writing and creative practice. I see my body as a hybrid of Chinese thoughts and Western education. I consider ideas from Westerns philosophies and theories and mobilize these in consort with Chinese thought which provide innovative platforms to extend the existing concepts and re-interpret historical moments/objects. I am interested in applying these hybrid perspectives not only in written academic papers, but also in creative practice.

Because of my hybrid identity and mobilizing Western concepts in consort with Chinese thought as the research method, I am also interested in Ficto-Criticism as an interpretative and fictional writing incorporated with analytical writing, which is described by Noel King as “…a kind of writing that is said to deliberately blur the distinction between literature and literary-critical commentary”. The Ficto-Criticism is ideally fitted into my current research in particular to consider my research as cross-culture and inter-disciplinary. As Heather Kerr notes: “In postmodernism, the privileging of ‘depth’ is understood to have been replaced by the fascination of ‘surface’…” , the Ficto-Criticism, a combination of elements of fiction, theory and criticism writing in a single text, allows me to discuss the issue through multiple approaches critically, fictionally, and artistically. The multiple ways of writing and thinking blended into a single text would make comprehensive sense addressing the issue in regard to cross-culture and inter-disciplinary.

Shannon LYONS

Image: Shannon Lyons, installation view

Shannon Lyons attempts to visually 'unpack' the complex relationships that exist between artistic content and context in her multidisciplinary practice. She continually adapts, draws from and responds to specifically located built environments, producing works which directly reference the site where they were made or are eventually exhibited. Lyons’ PhD research is centered around how contemporary notions of placelessness can be challenged through the production of site-specific artworks within art gallery spaces.

A component of Lyons' PhD project adapted for SoDA15 is comprised of a series of painted postcards that the artist sent via post to the John Curtin Gallery (JCG) in 2013. These postcards were made by Lyons while she was an artist in residence at gallery Sydney Non Objective (SNO) in NSW. Each postcard contains a painted rendition of a small, incidental or incongruous mark that Lyons noticed while working in one of the galleries at SNO. Both the material and formal composition of the paintings assist in building up a 'picture' of the SNO gallery space, despite the viewer not having experienced the gallery first-hand. The accompanying structure, an architectural insertion that echoes the SNO gallery space, has been built in the JCG in an attempt to dually reflect some of the architectural particularities of the SNO gallery, and to call into question the specificities of the JCG site.


Image:Lauren McCartney, still from Parody Heals, (2015)

I paint still lifes. Models frighten me. The sluts are always watching to catch you off your guard. You've got to be on the defensive all the time and the motif vanishes.
-Cézanne, on the difficulties of being an artist

My work explores the historical domination of women’s bodies, and the patriarchal signs placed on them, by situating painterly acts on my body. Accordingly, the use of my body offers a counter-narrative that opposes the use of the female body in modernism, in which the female body has been traditionally owned and controlled by a conventionally male artist who gains his authenticity and autonomy by way of the masculine discourse of art-history. By producing corporeal works that engage the female body, I offer a point of difference that better situates the patriarchal structures that dominate the West, thereby opening up the possibility of encountering the implications of feminine action painting.

My work reaffirms that the macho domination of paint in the genre of action painting cannot be separated from the broader success of this movement, and is irreducibly linked to its status as a key moment in modernism. My work aims to challenge this domination by subverting the patriarchal privileging of success by playing with the possibilities afforded by failure as is evinced in each work’s presentation of an inability to overcome the materiality of paint.

I attempt to set myself up as the subject rather than object of my performances, by putting my body through rigorous routines bound to end in pain and failure, where I either destroy my material or my material ensures that I will be defeated in an attempt to overcome it. My practice maintains that corporeal and material failure can produce a form of success irreducible to the patriarchal standards of modernism. Perhaps this is a ‘feminine’ means of thinking, insofar as it is through physical weakness and an absence of stamina—both being anathemas to conventional masculinity—that my work’s duration and succession is produced.

Michael WISE

Image:Michae Wise, still from he Falling Sea, digital video projected onto 2 screens, 2:08mins, (2015)

The beach in art is frequently depicted as a democratic playground where Australians define their identity in a theatre of physical exposition. These representations outweigh portrayals of natural menace and instead I have portrayed the beach as a site that has a twofold function; of both pleasure and wretchedness. The beach I refer to, has two basic characteristics, one of beauty which incorporates images of pleasure, seduction and deception; the other of malevolence that is connected to violent stimulants, mortality and hidden terrors. The co-existence of beauty and malevolence at the beach exposes an anomaly, which binds them together and operates simultaneously. What I mean by an anomaly in this sense is something, which unexpectedly interrupts or threatens a person’s position in the landscape. It is defined by unexpected patterns of movement, function and image operating within a specific zone of the beach, where we may experience an exchange of energy as it collides with the coastline. The beach represents the continental fringe, and symbolises in nature a place of beginning and land ending. This is not a fixed dividing line in the true sense of the word, but a space in its own right composed of duel characters that form zones of liminality. In my video artworks, I investigate the aesthetic character of coastal malevolence, the omnipresence of terror and the marriage of beauty and death in the coastal landscape.


Together, 100 years apart
11th Battalion A.I.F. on the Great Pyramid of Khufu, Giza
Sunday 10 January 1915

Opening 23 April, 2015
On show 25 March - 15 November, 2015

Together, 100 years apart is presented in honour of all those serving in the 11th Battalion, A.I.F. (Australian Imperial Force) at the start of the First World War. Raised in Western Australia at the beginning of the war, the 11th Battalion formed part of the first contingent of troops to depart Australia in 1914.

This image shows 704 men from the 11th Battalion’s total complement of 1,021, assembled at the Great Pyramid of Khufu on the morning of Sunday 10 January 1915. The pyramids at Giza formed a majestic backdrop for thousands of ANZAC troops at the Mena training camp on the outskirts of Cairo, Egypt. Three months after this photograph was taken, many of these men were amongst the first ANZAC troops to land on the beaches of Gallipoli in the early hours of Sunday 25 April 1915.

Together, 100 years apart commemorates the Centenary of ANZAC and is presented in partnership with WAGS – the Western Australian Genealogical Society, in collaboration with researchers from Curtin University.

WAGS’ 11th Battalion Project seeks to identify as many men in the photo as possible. For more information on the project, including the 237 men already identified, visit



Futile Labor
Ionat Zurr, Chris Salter, Oron Catts

2 October - 8 November, 2015

Futile Labor is an interdisciplinary project bringing together an artistic exhibition and scientific and techno-cultural research that calls our attention to the growing phenomenon of manipulating and engineering life for utilitarian ends. Futile Labor scrutinises shifting perceptions of life and labor through the development of a vital machine – a tissue-engineered muscle that acts as an actuator (motor) inside a custom designed “technoscientific body” (a bioreactor). We aim to create an ontological link between twitching skeletal muscles “in a dish” and the human audience through an evocative responsive environment that documents and viscerally enacts the results of a five year research process. Through this we thus may think anew our post-humanist perceptions of movement as an indicator for life and agency.

Futile Labor and Scanlines is part of SymbioticA’s experimental HR program.

HR proposes rhizomatic artistic experiments across multiple venues in Perth, Western Australia throughout October 2015.
Visit SymbioticA and for details.

dLux MediaArts

2 October - 8 November, 2015

Scanlines surveys the heritage of new media art in Australia since the 1980s. In this exclusive preview selected from dLux MediaArts’ major national survey exhibition, Scanlines, rare early works and well-known works by Australia’s internationally celebrated filmmakers, contemporary artists and scholars are featured.

Tracing the influence of one artistic generation to the next, Scanlines, traverses a plethora of tools, technologies and unique creative ideas, providing fertile context for contemporary new media art practices.

The Scanlines exhibition is supported by online videos, educational animations and lectures accessible on the database. Developed by the University of New South Wales in association with dLux MediaArts, the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and the Australian Network for Art and Technology, is a unique and comprehensive online archive of media art history in Australia.

Visit for the online archive of media art history in Australia.

Futile Labor and Scanlines is part of SymbioticA’s experimental HR program.

HR proposes rhizomatic artistic experiments across multiple venues in Perth, Western Australia throughout October 2015.
Visit SymbioticA and for details.



Regional Tour: Katanning Art Gallery

Koolark Korl Kadjan (Spiritual Return Home)

Selected works from The Herbert Mayer Collection of Carrolup Artwork, Curtin University Art Collection as part of the Koolark Koort Koorliny (Heart Coming Home) Great Southern Regional Tour

Exhibition: Saturday 19 September - 10 October 2015
Katanning Art Gallery

16-24 Austral Terrace, Katanning, WA
Phone (08) 9821 9999 | free admission
For further details please visit:

If you are interested in attending this exhibition – please provide your contact details to so that we may send you an invitation with full event details close to the date.

Curtin AHEAD will be running a series of free career and education activities for individuals and community groups from Monday 21 - Friday 25 September.



Shared Sky International Tour 2015–2018

2015: South Africa and the United Kingdom

Iziko National Gallery of South Africa, Cape Town
, South Africa
Shared Sky exhibition
February - May 2015

Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, Manchester, United Kingdom
Shared Sky Exhibition
July - August 2015

Followed by Belgium, Netherlands, France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Italy, through to summer 2016 prior to moving to Russia then Asia mid 2016 – mid 2017, then to the Americas from mid 2017 – mid 2018.



Foreign Soil

5 June –6 September

Foreign Soil responds to the World War One centenary with a call to broaden the ANZAC narrative. Multicultural Australia is home to many histories; the artist takes the experience of her Italian grandfather as a starting point to consider the international experience of the war that was to set the tone for the twentieth century. Costantino has scoured archives and amassed a personal collection of photographs and artefacts to develop a body of drawing, photography, sculpture and performance that considers the imperial origins of the war, the shared tragedies that crossed national borders, and the continuing legacies of nationalism.

More information

Image: Thea Costantino, Rejected Volunteers Association (detail) , graphite on paper, 21 x 31cm, 2015


Post-hybrid: reimagining the Australian self

Curated by Lia McKnight, Collection Manager, John Curtin Gallery
5 June –6 September

Post-hybrid: reimagining the Australian self, features works from public and private Western Australian art collections, including the Curtin University Art Collection. The exhibition explores the ways in which colonisation, Aboriginal culture and migration have contributed to an ever-evolving sense of contemporary Australian identity. In this year of commemoration when we consider the 100th Anniversary of the Gallipoli landing and the formation of the ANZACs, conversations around who we are as Australians will, no doubt, abound. It seems timely to add to this discussion, views that have been marginalised or excluded from the frameworks within which Australian national identity has historically been constructed.

Accepting that ‘Nations’ are not fixed or static, but function within a constant process of negotiation and change (within which there are often uneven distributions of power, representation and agency), Post-hybrid offers perspectives on place and self that reflect the complexity of our cultural fabric. Artists include: Abdul Abdullah, Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, Hans Arkeveld, Dadang Christanto, Lorraine Connelly-Northey, Brenda Croft, Galliano Fardin, Elizabeth Gertsakis, Danie Mellor, Laurel Nannup, Christopher Pease, Ryan Presley and Darren Siwes.

Image: Christopher Pease, Noble Savage 3 (Rejecting Citizenship), oil on canvas.


Ragnar Kjartansson
The Visitors | The Man
Perth International Arts Festival

Thursday 12 February – EXTENDED TO 10 MAY 2015

Image: Ragnar Kjartansson The Visitors, 2012 nine channel HD video, colour, sound loop: 64:00 min.
Production photo: Elisabet Davidsdottir courtesy of the artist, Luhring Augustine, New York and i8 Gallery, Reykjavík.

Ragnar Kjartansson is an influential contemporary artist from Iceland and his work comes to Australia for the first time as part of the 2015 Perth International Arts Festival.

Kjartansson has established an international reputation as a talented musician, performer and visual artist since 2009 when he represented Iceland at the Venice Biennale. His work is in great demand by major art museums around the world.

In this Australian premiere, Kjartansson presents his acclaimed nine-channel video installation, The Visitors. Recently shown at the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, this work was filmed within the historic Astor family mansion of Rokeby Farm on the Hudson River in Upstate New York in 2012. The Visitors assembles a group of Kjartansson’s closest friends – artists and renowned musicians – who each contribute individual performances captured simultaneously in separate rooms in a collective ode to femininity.

Kjartansson combines music he created in collaboration with Davíd Thór Jónsson, with lyrics developed from texts taken from performances and videos of his ex-wife, artist Ásdís Sif Gunnarsdóttir. The title was taken from the 1981 Swedish pop band ABBA’s last studio album, The Visitors, produced as divorce was breaking up their collaboration.

Bringing together the eight Vermeerlike vignettes – each performer captured in the dying light of the day in a single take within the rambling mansion’s decaying grandeur – Kjartansson allows viewers to witness the process of their collaboration as it unfolds over the duration of their rapturous performance. The artist manages to visualise the feeling of making music in compelling form – revealing the duality of individual performers concentrating on their own contribution, whilst simultaneously responding to the organic collaboration of the broader ensemble. It becomes a metaphor for the social utopia of “alone together”.

The Visitors is presented in tandem with Kjartansson’s cinematic video installation The Man – the beguiling portrait of 96 year-old legendary blues musician Pinetop Perkins, lovingly captured the year before his death in 2010. Evocatively set in a field outside of Austin, Texas, The Man is a work where the significance of the smallest details are magnified to create a mesmerising durational experience. Together, these works touch upon two things that happened in the twentieth century that the artist considers important: Feminism – heralding the twenty-first century as “the feminist century”; and the Blues – being the forerunner to Rock and Roll, which the artist describes as the first truly global culture.


Ragnar Kjartansson and his work will visit Australia for the first time as part of the 2015 Perth International Arts Festival.
Fremantle Arts Centre and John Curtin Gallery are pleased to partner with the Festival to provide a comprehensive insight into his work, across two galleries.

Filmed against the stark, snow-laden Canadian landscape, The End – Rocky Mountains is an epic five-channel music and video installation featuring Kjartansson and fellow Icelandic musician David Thor Jonsson. Playing on composer Karlheinz Stockhausen’s ideas of spatial music, the duo performed versions of a thirty minute composition in situ in the Rocky Mountains. When synched and played together in one space, the unique folk-country soundtrack and beautiful yet melancholy visuals provide a sensory experience which is poetic, compelling and whimsical. A series of watercolours will be also on display.




...remembering Carrolup
Curated in collaboration with Edith De Giambattista and Noelene White

Thursday 12 February – Sunday 22 March 2015

Attributed to Keith Indich, The Colours of the Setting Sun c1949.
The Herbert Mayer Collection of Carrolup Artwork, Curtin University Art Collection.

On a bitterly cold, windy day in late May 1946, twelve year old Noelene White arrived at the Carrolup Native Settlement after a two day journey from the tiny railway siding of Narngulu, east of Geraldton. The long trip south to the mysterious ‘Carrolup’ was quite the adventure for Noelene and her two younger siblings – arriving with their parents under a grey sky, wide-eyed with little understanding of their destination. Her father, Noel White, with her mother Lily, had decided to relocate their family south to Carrolup, heeding the impassioned plea of former Carrolup teacher Coral Elliot in December 1945…this proved to be a momentous decision…

One day in November 1948 a large open backed truck pulled up without warning at the Kojonup farm where twelve year-old Edith Smith (De Giambattista) was living with her extended family. Strangers emerged from this unfamiliar vehicle and in spite of the protests of her outraged grandfather, the frightened Edith was abruptly lifted up onto the back of the truck and driven eastwards to the Carrolup Native Settlement without any explanation whatsoever. She would remain there, against her will, until January 1950…

65 years later these two remarkable women have come together to reflect upon their contrasting experiences of this place during this same period in the late 1940s.

The Herbert Mayer Collection of Carrolup Artwork was generously donated back to Noongar Country by Colgate University in 2013. It was a momentous occasion, which rekindled Noelene and Edith’s friendship.

Through Noelene and Edith’s mutual respect and many shared memories, their selection of artworks enables us to appreciate just how significant the astonishing period of unbridled creativity was between 1946 and 1950, when Noel and Lily White were teaching at the Carrolup School, providing the spark that ignited the beacon we now know generations later as Carrolup art.

We are proud to continue to share this important legacy.