From Carrie Miller…
You say you want a revolution? Well, how about a full-blown Sixties Explosion, the new exhibition at Macquarie University Art Gallery. Long before broke hipsters with social media apps on their iPhones were Occupying Martin Place, a group of Australian artists were changing the way things were done down under. They were part of a larger international counter-cultural revolution that was taking place against the brutal backdrop of the Vietnam War. In the context of Australian art, this meant breaking with the long standing tradition of figurative painting which was based on a nationalist ethos that artists challenged through avant-practices rooted in radical politics.
The exhibition showcases the experimental nature of the era, from abstraction, installation and experimental film, to the use of anti-art material which questioned the very nature of the art object itself. Curators have drawn from a rich but rarely seen archive including Gary Shead’s experimental films, an early work by conceptual artist Ian Millis, even ‘A Stone in the Bush’, the film Mick Glasheen made about Tony Richardson’s making of the movie Ned Kelly, starring Mick Jagger. Among the notable group of happening artists are Sydney Ball, Vivienne Binns, Christo, Max Cullen, Janet Dawson, Juno Gemes, Colin Lanceley, Richard Larter, Alun Leach Jones, Wendy Paramor, Martin Sharp, Garry Brett Whiteley, Dick Watkins and Arthur Wicks.
Until October 31
Macquarie University Art Gallery, North Ryde.
Pic: Arthur Wicks, Homage to the Bullet, 1968. Screenprint, 46.6 x 67.6cm. Courtesy Charles Nodrum Gallery.