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Curtin University of Technology
John Curtin Gallery

Current Exhibitions:

SoDA15: Department of Art

Opening 6pm, Thursday 26 November

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, still 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, is 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.