Australian Art Collector – Exhibition Diary Columns





Two Rooms Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand.
4-24 December 2014

Brett Graham is one of New Zealand’s most innovative and accomplished sculptors working today. His robust wooden and stone sculptures meld modernist forms with traditional Maori carving, whilst engaging in a cultural debate about Maori and European history in his native country.

Graham’s impressive exhibition history includes a collaborative installation at the 2007 Venice Biennale, participation in the 2006 and 2010 Biennale of Sydney and at the Asia Pacific Triennial in Brisbane in 1996, with his work held in notable public collections such as the Tjibaou Cultural Centre in New Caledonia, the Te Papa Museum in Wellington and the Auckland City Art Gallery.

A descendent of the Ngati Koroki subtribe of Tainui, Graham holds a continuing interest in the history of indigenous peoples across the Pacific region. A recent four-month residency in New York has led to his latest exhibition that explores the history of the North East Native American tribes since European colonisation. The artist has created 15 monumental wall discs that represent a journey through North America, from the East to the West Coast. He makes reference to redundant US Airforce aerial calibration targets, relics of the past, stretched across the USA. Described as “Eyecharts for Airplanes’, they are also reminiscent of weaving patterns. Graham replicates these patterns into his circular sculptures, to draw attention to the treatment of indigenous groups by the US military. 


Johan Berggren Gallery, Malmo, Sweden .
9 October – 8 November, 2014.
(presented by Hopkinson Mossman Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand.)

The loose impressionistic oil paintings of Milli Jannides seem to occupy a space that hovers between the physical and emotional landscape. Her compositions are usually inspired by literary quotes from favourite novels that she collects ‘like postcards’ before commencing a work.

Her dreamy tonal paintings are ephemeral images that drift between form and formlessness. Figures reveal and conceal themselves behind shadows and amorphous shapes. Painted on different sized canvases, the works create a tension in the viewer as they are drawn in and then away from the gallery wall. Saturated in colour, the painter creates a strong sense of mood and reverie through her nocturnal palette.

Born in Auckland in 1986, Jannides has studied in Glasgow and Dusseldorf and is currently completing her MFA at the Royal College of Arts in London. Utterly subjective and distinctly idiosyncratic, the artist paints directly onto the canvas from her imagination, giving form to her “personal responses to everyday life”.


Theoretical Regression: A Warm Sheen Against Received Ideas

The Commercial, Sydney.
17 October – November, 2014.

A three-time finalist in the Helen Lempriere Travelling Art Scholarship, Sydney artist Clare Milledge works in a diverse range of media that includes painting, drawing, photography and video art. Her work delves into the role of the artist as shaman and she often includes ritualistic performance, sculpture, costume and installation as part of her practice.

Drawing on a variety of sources, from tribal art traditions to Norse mythology, her latest works are based on the work of French theorist George Bataille and his writings on cave art and ‘the magic of the figural image’.

The artist presents a collection of glass paintings that incorporate textiles, imagery and text. By painting the reverse pane of the glass, the viewer is forced to look at the image through the glass. Milledge appropriates this technique, known as ‘Hinterglasmalerei’, from the imagery of Byzantine icons. Milledge’s images are often filled with religious iconography, emulating sacramental or devotional practices without any specific content. Ambivalent and obtuse, complex and intriguing, the works suggest an exploratory rather than definitive approach to mysticism.