With more than 80 galleries showcasing over 300 artists from around the world, it could be easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work on display at Sydney Contemporary this year. While the festival has expanded to cover the entirety of Carriageworks’ floor plan, to give visitors and galleries a bit more room to move, going in without a clear idea of who you want to see and what you are interested in could mean missing out on the perfect piece. Our recommendations below are purely subjective, but designed to give you an idea of what’s on offer, and where could be worth a look.
Paul Nache, Gisborne NZ
Located in Bay 21, this gallery from Aotearoa New Zealand presents the work of contemporary Maori sculptor Robert Jahnke. Using neon light tubes, the works are arresting in their scale and intensity. Furthering his ATA: A Third Reflection series, the works, while abstract, have a powerful effect on the viewer. Being able to see Paul Nache gallery at Sydney Contemporary is one of the great benefits of an art fair such as this, where galleries that are outside the major centres are brought into a dialogue with their bigger city contemporaries.
Cohju Contemporary Art, Kyoto JP
Somewhat hidden up the back of Bay 17, Cohju Contemporary exhibits the works of four Japanese artists who work across a variety of forms. Working with embroidery, line drawing, lacquer painting and contemporary ceramics, Cohju Contemporary expresses the wide breadth of artistic practices which make up contemporary art. Demonstrating how form affects image, the work of Sayaka Miyata re-envisions everyday objects in embroidered cloth, stretching and warping the objects.
Arthere, Sydney AU
The only gallery at Sydney Contemporary purely exhibiting photomedia, Arthere showed the works of Patricia Casey, Catherine Cloran, Sarah Ducker, Luke Hardy, Michael Jalaru Torres, Asher Milgate and Jeff Amatto and Julie Williams. Demonstrating that a contemporary gallery is not just a bricks and mortar site, Arthere provides mentoring opportunities for photographers and works as a facilitator for artists to exhibit. The artists on display at Sydney Contemporary demonstrate the benefits of such an approach.
Art Collective WA, Perth AU
Marking the trend away from art fairs being just a stock show, Art Collective WA exhibited the work of only one of its artists, Trevor Vickers. A collection of twelve untitled works, all completed this year, these works play with perceptions of distance and space in their combination of lines and panels of colour. The result of a five-decade career, Vickers is a giant in Australian geometric abstraction and demonstrates the continued relevance of this form to the present day. Using the space provided, Art Collective WA have created what feels like a stand-alone solo show.
Ronnie Van Hout, Darren Knight Gallery Sydney AU
Not a gallery as such, but Ronnie Van Hout’s sculptural figures deserve a particular mention for their ability to serve as a silent interrogator of what happens around them. Part of the Installation Contemporary program, curated by Nina Miall, there are two figures by Van Hout on display, both of which interpolate the viewer with a pointed finger, or text printed onto a t shirt that states ‘I Know Every Thing’ simply commanding the viewer to question the authority of a smaller-than-life statue. Comic in and of themselves, their placement within Sydney Contemporary reminds audiences to refocus on what it is they are consuming.