Current exhibitions

Primavera 2013: Young Australian Artists

12 September – 17 November 2013

Curator: Robert Cook

Primavera is an annual exhibition showcasing the work of Australian artists aged 35 and under. This year’s Primavera features the work of eight artists from around the country who demonstrate incredible energy, ambition and commitment to their work and a willingness to push it in compelling directions.

Presented in one gallery space, Primavera 2013 brings together Jacqueline Ball’s large-scale photographic portals into alternative worlds; Jackson Eaton’s series of photos staging and re-staging intimate relationships; Heath Franco’s performative video works; Brendan Huntley’s sculptural and painted heads; Thomas Jeppe’s paintings, sculptures and installation; Jess Johnson’s detailed marker drawings set in a high-key domestic interior; Juz Kitson’s cascading porcelain forms; and Kusum Normoyle’s video works and performances that release the powerful sound of the artist’s voice into the built world. Together, they activate the gallery space, drawing attention to its specific structure and its function as a platform to transport the viewer to new, imaginary dimensions.

Primavera 2013 is curated by Robert Cook, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Photography and Design at the Art Gallery of Western Australia. About the selection of artists, Cook writes: “Part of me wishes I could claim that this group of artists faithfully replicates young Australian art now. They don’t. They are 'simply’ really amazing thinker-makers whose work has all the good stuff: humour, anger, off-kilter sarcasm, art-historical shuffling, the will-to-impossible-transcendence and the creepily perverse!”

Primavera 2013 is the 22nd edition of the MCA’s annual exhibition of Australian artists aged 35 years and under. The Primavera exhibition series was founded in 1991 through the generous benefaction of Dr Edward Jackson AM and Mrs Cynthia Jackson AM and their family in memory of their daughter and sister Belinda.

Embedded: Craig Walsh

12 September – 24 November 2013

Curator: Judith Blackall and Robert Leonard

The Pilbara is a place of extreme contrasts. Here, the idea of land as a source of spiritual and cultural identity and the idea of land as commodity co-exist.
– Craig Walsh

Craig Walsh (born 1966, Orange, NSW) is renowned for his site-responsive artworks, which are often developed in collaboration with communities and express their perspectives. Over the last twenty years, he has worked across a range of contexts (including art museums and biennales, public-art, music festivals and theatre) and across a range of media (including sculpture, video, photography, and performance).

Embedded developed out of a commission from Rio Tinto and the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, which enabled Walsh to spend time in the Pilbara’s Burrup Peninsula (Murujuga). There, he worked with Elders of the Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation (the traditional custodians), Murujuga National Park rangers and Rio Tinto staff. In a make-shift studio in Dampier, he interviewed Elders on video. He then projected these videos onto locations in the rugged landscape of particular meaning to his subjects. From documentation of these projections, Walsh produced video works and photographic portraits reflecting on the connection between local people and their country and on the cultural significance of the Peninsula’s ancient rock art.

The Pilbara is also iron-ore mining country. All Australians are touched by mining. We benefit from it through employment, infrastructure, our strong currency and healthy stock exchange. Industry is transforming life in the Pilbara, especially for Aboriginal people. Walsh presents his videos and photographs in an immersive environment, with twenty-one industrial bins brimming with iron ore and walls painted in the colours of the safety clothing mining workers wear. Bringing the landscape inside – bringing out there into here – Walsh transforms the gallery, so that we too might feel embedded.

– Judith Blackall and Robert Leonard, curators

All images:
installation view, Embedded: Craig Walsh, Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, 2013
Image courtesy and © the artist
Photograph: Alex Davies

Volume One: MCA Collection

Opens 29 March 2012

Curator: Glenn Barkley

Volume One: MCA Collection features over 280 works by more than 170 Australian artists acquired since the founding of the MCA in May 1989. Volume One reflects the diversity of Australian contemporary art over more than 20 years, including works by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists which are integrated into the different themes, the consolidation of film and video practice from a marginal to central position, the emergence of diverse cultural voices and the impact of feminism as well as ephemeral and performative practices.

The selection encompasses the range of media used by artists today: from wall painting and artists’ books to photography, painting, sculpture, weaving and installation. Video is presented both as installation and curated single-screen programs in the dedicated Screen Space. Works are included by artists across generations – those at the beginning of their careers alongside artists who continue to produce important artwork over careers spanning 50 years or more.

Decisions about what to acquire are made by the MCA Curatorial team and are much debated. A diversity of opinion about what to collect is essential in a contemporary museum. Selected by MCA curator Glenn Barkley, Volume One is his particular reflection on the MCA’s Collection.

Volume One: MCA Collection also reflects the MCA’s history of solo and group exhibitions by Australian artists such as Primavera and Focus, and with related publications, acknowledges and celebrates the MCA‘s commitment to supporting Australian artists.