29 June - 23 July
Join us for opening night Friday 29 June 5.30pm
“I feel like this time the inspiration has come from doing the work, rather than the other way around,” says Blackheath artist and designer Hannah Surtees.
Hannah, together with husband Mark, is the winner of this year’s Sculpture at Scenic World major prize, for their work Geronimo. With The Unexpected In-Between, Hannah is showing a body of solo work featuring sculpture, painting and prints. We talked to Hannah about how her process for this work evolved out of a creative block, which she pushed through by returning to childlike play with paper and pen.
Join Hannah for her Unblocking Creativity Workshop on Sunday 1st July.
“A few years ago, I was struggling to rediscover my own style, after years of producing commercial work for other people. I was blocked, creatively. We were heading overseas for a family trip, so I brought some sketchbooks with me, in order to get back to the basics.
“I found the act of doodling very cathartic and freeing for my creative process, where I didn’t have to worry about the end result; just being present in the moment. It took me back to when I was about five, spending many happy hours repeatedly drawing the British flag, filling sketchbooks with my drawings, trying to find the perfect one.
“When we got back from our trip, I photographed all the work from my sketchbooks and uploaded them into my computer, playing around in Illustrator and experimenting with reversing the doodles, playing with negative space.
“It was a serendipitous way of work, and I felt able to look at the end result more subjectively. I enlarged some of the shapes and painted one onto canvas, just feeling my way with colours and framing, going with my gut instinct.
"This process has inspired me to push through my creative block. I’ve discovered that the good stuff can sometimes be hiding unexpectedly in the space in-between. If you keep looking hard enough, you’ll find it eventually."
If you would like to know more about Hannah's process and learn her techniques for breaking through creative blocks, join us for Hannah's Unblocking Creativity Workshop on Sunday 1st July.
Embroidered works by Jess de Wahls available for purchase. Please contact the curator, Kelly Heylen on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0414 771 439 for all sales enquiries.
Platform Gallery is a partner of Art Money, who offer interest-free art loans over 10 months to make art buying more accessible for everyone, and we are very happy to discuss this option with you.
1 - 25 June
View the full range of Jess' embroidered works here.
“I use my work to explore societal ideas of what it means to be a woman: from governments trying to restrict and legislate what women do with their bodies, to society judging women for both having and not having ovaries,” says artist Jess de Wahls.
“Traditionally ovaries are such an integral part of being a woman, and yet there are many other ways of being a woman, from being a transgender woman to having had reproductive organs removed surgically to just being born in a body that doesn’t conform to any gender.”
Coming all the way from London for her Australian debut and a series of workshops at Platform, Jess de Wahls is known as the ‘enfant terrible of British textile arts’ for her boundary-pushing, provocative artworks.
Learn from Jess in these intensive, small class size contemporary embroidery workshops:
The exhibition Big Swinging Ovaries will feature Wahls’ signature embroideries, where her ovary motif is stylised into various maximalist patterns, including ovaries as cacti, rainbows, and Frida Kahlo (Kahlovaries).
“Since I first developed it for a solo exhibition in 2014, the Big Swinging Ovaries name and design has very much become a brand and a visual tool for expressing many of my creative, political and social thoughts as a woman, a feminist and a textile artist,” says Jess.
“What matters to me is that people make up their own mind and interpret my art for themselves, no matter what I intended. What matters is whether or not the work speaks to you.”
Platform is hosting two incredible feminist embroidery workshops with Jess, alongside her exhibition. You can choose from creating your own Big Swinging Ovaries or a Vagestic Mandala, all the while taking your craftivism to new heights.
You don't need to be a seasoned stitcher to take part in the workshops. What's absolutely needed is an open mind to a contemporary approach to an old craft, and a little patience since embroidery is a time-intensive art form. All materials and lunch are provided – you can book on the Platform Gallery website.
Join us for the opening of Big Swinging Ovaries on Friday June 1, and for the workshops on 2nd and 3rd June.
11 - 28 May
Exhibition opening 5.30pm Friday 11 May.
“There are many ways a person can enter a state of transition,” says artist Heidi Axelsen.
“Major and minor shifts happen in life where a current state of being is no longer possible and transformation takes place. It’s this liminal space that I am interested in.”
Liminal is a series of delicate and meditative work that is drawn from not only Heidi’s personal transitions, but an entire universe of threshold space.
“The word ‘liminal’ for me represents that space between consciousness and unconsciousness; that quality of ambiguity and disorientation that occurs at times when you are neither here nor there, but swimming in a vast changing space.”
“Emerging from these liminal states are quiet, easily missed, in-between moments that I have tried to capture in this work. Being on the cusp of becoming a mother was one such potent liminal state for me, where both immense and subtle transformations take place in body and spirit.”
The forms, material and textures have been combined to express implicit memories; thoughts and feelings that couldn’t be expressed in words but found in material and form."
The forms, material and textures have been combined to express implicit memories; thoughts and feelings that couldn’t be expressed in words but found in material and form.”
As Heidi’s daughter celebrates her third birthday, Heidi has reflected on motherhood and other states of transitions, and brought together this body of work.
“I’ve been working with concrete, plaster, marble, lead, felt, steel, copper, which I’ve been moulding, carving, folding, casting, sewing and assembling to find a material presence to immaterial and ephemeral experiences. The forms, material and textures have been combined to express implicit memories; thoughts and feelings that couldn’t be expressed in words but found in material and form.”
Most people know Heidi from her large-scale creative collaborations with partner Hugo Moline, but with Liminal, Heidi is showing a lesser-known side of her artistic practice.
The small scale, natural hues and reflective surfaces of these sculptural works stand in contrast to Heidi’s collaborative works of large architectural and environmental structures.
Whereas Heidi and Hugo work in the public realm rearranging social and spatial relationships, Heidi’s solo work invites contemplation of internal landscapes and dreamy states of being.
Liminal offers an exciting and rare opportunity to see Heidi’s solo work. Join us for the opening on Friday 11 May.
13 April - 7 May
Exhibition opening Friday 13 April 5.30-7pm.
A wall of saliva-dripping tongues and a yoga mat made of human hair might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of art, but emerging Blue Mountains artist Nina Grodahl is on a mission to put the abject front and centre.
“I want to provide a tactile experience in which the audience is shaken back into their body and into their present emotion,” says Nina. “My process involves exploring what I find jarring or confronting, and magnifying it to a scale where the only option is to experience it.”
“The title Yum/Yuk is my way of explaining what das unheimliche (the uncanny) means to me. The work both attracts and repels; you are disgusted but can’t look away. I hope that the audience will feel both pleased and unsettled when looking at my exhibition.”
“I have worked with the uncanny for some time in my art practice, stemming from my fascination with hair and its immediate repulsiveness as soon as it comes off the body. The abject came into my practice more recently and is now at the forefront of my mind after a recent residency in Berlin.”
“Originally I thought my fascination with this subject was intellectual, but the more I work with it, the more I realise it’s an unfurling of the personal; a way of processing old pain and trauma. My work is reminiscent of the human body, evoking skin folds, warmth, moisture and hair. This intention here is to be purposely uncomfortable, and in seeking out comfort from such an ambivalent place, allowing ourselves to tap into our own strength.”
Yum/Yuk is visceral, disgusting, beautiful exhibition, designed to provoke thought and reflection. You are invited to touch, feel, connect - and perhaps discover.
9 March - 9 April
Join us for the exhibition opening 5.30pm Friday 9 March.
“Back in the day when you shelled out for an album, you’d slip off the cover and on your first listen you’d devour the liner notes, so you knew more than anyone else at
school. Good times,” says Amanda Kaye, curator and contributing writer for the group show, Imaginary Albums.
“This exhibition is a collaboration between writers and artists, born of an affectionate nostalgia for those heady days. Imaginary albums are the albums that don’t exist, but should, sprung from the fertile imaginations of writers and artists in the Blue Mountains.”
To bring this exhibition together, Amanda invited 10 writers and 10 artists to a fireplace gathering to explore ideas and concepts, listen to old LPs and read delicious liner notes of days gone by. Pair ups between writers and artists flowed naturally from this process, and then the creative work began.
Each imaginary album begins with the writer, who crafts the story of the work. Sometimes using a real artist and sometimes inventing musos from the ground up, the writer invents the tracks and the back-story, before passing the creative baton to the graphic designer or artist, who designs the cover art.
“These imaginary albums are missed opportunities; albums we wish existed. They are the uncanny cultural signifiers of our collective vinyl-addled fancies.”
“The work you’ll see in the gallery will be the album covers and sleeve notes developed from this process,” says Amanda. “There’ll be a gramophone and a stack of LPs in the gallery for you to come and play, too.”
Imaginary Albums coincides with two major music events happening in the region: the Blue Mountains Music Festival on 16-18 March, celebrating folk, blues and roots; and the Live and Local Music Festival on 7 April, featuring local musicians in surprising venues across Katoomba, including here at Platform Gallery.
This exhibition has been generously sponsored by Mark and Nina Lipscombe of Cottontail Press – a boutique letterpress, fine art and photographic printing studio here in the Blue Mountains.
Each album is produced as a limited edition print run of 10 and is sold as a framed front and back set for $250.
1. UNFINISHED MUSIC NO.4: THREE PHASE PEACE – Yoko Ono with Delia Derbyshire and Else Marie Pade
Imagined by writer, Stuart Buchanan and graphic artist, Ben Tankard
2. THE FUTURE HISTORY OF THE UNIVERSE - A SYMPHONY IN 26 MOVEMENTS Every member of a supergroup ever
Imagined by writer, Ginger Stephen Neal and artist, Damian Castaldi
3. LIVE FROM A FITZROY LOUNGE ROOM Helen Garner and the Hopeful Earthlings
Imagined by writer, Manda Kaye and artist, Leia Sidery
4. OBJECTIFIED/CORRECTIFIED Various artists
Imagined by writer, Kelly Heylen and artist, Kevina-Jo Smith
5. LA SUBVERTA Pinch-Arse Opera
Imagined by writer, J-L Heylen and graphic designer, Kim Allen
6. A NICE HAIRCUT - THE BEST OF WITCHES WART Witches Wart
Imagined by writer, Mark O’Flynn and graphic artist, Heath Killen
7. I TOLD HER TWICE Julie London and the Redd Herrings
Imagined by writer, Solange Kershaw and artist, Bec Waterstone
8. THE LAST OPERA Opera Australia
Imagined by writer, Craig Billingham and graphic artist, Judith Martinez
9. NOW THAT IS WHAT I CALL MUZAK Various artists
Imagined by writer, Jo Chipperfield and graphic artist, Hannah Surtees
10. THE CRIMSON CLAWS OF THE PANTHER AT MIDNIGHT Soundtrack by Ennio Morricone
Imagined by writer, Stephen Davis and artist, Julie Paterson
9 February - 5 March 2018.
Join us at the exhibition opening 5.30pm Friday 9 February.
“What struck me most about these priests was the lack of remorse they showed for the victims,” says Wentworth Falls artist Adam James K. “I was listening to testimony from the Royal Commission in to Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, and I was inspired to take action, to make sure that society never forgets the pain that has been inflicted on these children.”
Over the past four years, Adam has created more than 300 artworks that focus on the victims’ pain and the lifelong consequences they have suffered, after being abused by priests and ignored by the church.
Watch our video interview with Adam.
The exhibition at Platform includes mixed media, painting, sculpture and video, with Adam performing a live piece on opening night, chillingly recounting priests’ own words from the Royal Commission, where their hypocrisy and lack of compassion is on full display.
“I’ve used elements that represent the church’s wealth, such as gold, glitter, and rhinestones, to surround the images of the children’s pain; highlighting the hypocrisies of the institution,” says Adam.
“Art should be a mirror to society, it shouldn’t just be about beautiful imagery.
A world-renowned photographer who has captured some of the most iconic moments in history, Adam re-trained as a visual artist more than 10 years ago, after realizing he could never completely capture with photography the raw emotion he wanted his images to portray.
Read an interview with Adam in The Australian about his exhibition,
from the exhibition premiere in Sydney in 2017.
“Art should be a mirror to society, it shouldn’t just be about beautiful imagery. Art should make people think. It should make them confront themselves and make them become better people,” says Adam. “With this work I want to make sure that society doesn’t forget.”
Adam James K’s work is in the permanent collections of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, National Portrait Gallery, National Library of Australia, Monash Gallery of Art, Gold Coast City Art Gallery, Tweed River Regional Gallery, and The Museum for the Study of Political Graphics, Los Angeles, USA.
Read an article in the Blue Mountains Gazette about the exhibition.
Exhibition January 12 - February 4
Join us for opening night drinks at 5.30pm Friday 12 January.
“Throughout my life I’ve faced pressure to be a lot of things that I simply am not,” says artist and fashion designer Chrissie Powell. “Seeking a tribe, a safe space where I can be the things that I am, has given me an often warped, anxiety-ridden and lonely perspective on self expression.”
“This exhibition puts a spotlight on all the soft, squishy, vulnerable parts of me that I’ve largely kept under wraps in the name of self preservation.”
Birth of Maximalism is a joyful explosion of colour, a celebration of eccentricity and uniqueness, by way of wearable art. Chrissie uses colour, pattern and texture to challenge viewers to try on a new persona and embrace their inner vibrancy.
“We all wear a layer of protection between our bodies and the world around us, and we are all judged and analysed based on how we do it,” says Chrissie. “So our choices might as well convey who we really are – and for me, I am a terminally unique freak.”
Each of Chrissie’s artworks begins with colour and fabric as the jumping off point, followed by traditional draping, patterning and sewing techniques. The handmade woven and appliquéd trims and details she creates help to elevate the work and flesh out the story of why they have come to exist.
“My process is organic, with pieces often ending up in quite a different place than where they began. The process mimics my own story, really, which is a journey towards a genuine understanding of myself and the space I occupy in the world. Like these artworks, mine is a world I am chiselling out, that I am insisting upon. It is a colourful, queer, explosion of joy.”
“When people look at my work, I hope they will get the sense that no matter how solitary they feel, there is a tribe of people who will embrace them for exactly who they are.”
Birth of Maximalism is an exhibition of wearable art and textiles. Chrissie invites you to try on the work and perhaps discover – and embrace – your own inner freak.
Exhibition 8 December - 8 January
Join us for the opening of Women and Rhythm 5.30pm Friday 8 December.
“I’m really interested in the power women display in everyday acts, and how this has an impact on the people around them,” says artist Kevina-Jo Smith.
“I am also intrigued by the way women adorn themselves; the way colour, texture and symbolism is evident in cultures all over the world. Women seem to encompass both history and modernity; tradition and invention – sometimes without even being aware they’re doing it.”
Three years in the making, Women and Rhythm makes use of materials originally collected as a way for Kevina to process thoughts of life, death, and renewal, after the death of her mother. Kevina has transformed these materials of women’s adornment, including kimonos, buttons and bone, into works that reflect women’s strength, identity, sharing and power.
“Women and Rhythm is an exercise in processing the strength given to me by other women – particularly those around me after my mother passed away,” says Kevina. “These women have given me invaluable strength through shared experience and mutual understanding. There is much power in the way women impart their skills and knowledge to other women.”
“The work in this exhibition is inspired by the framework of life; the strengths and weaknesses within humans and the way we support each other. For me, this work represents the time to get up and move on with life.”
“I hope people come away from the exhibition with a renewed sense of the power of sharing – whether it’s as simple as sharing recipes and passing down life skills, or as complex as breaking down misunderstandings between cultures.”
Exhibition 10 November - 4 December
Join us for the exhibition opening 5.30-7pm Friday 10 November.
I was reading an article a couple of months ago which said in the short time plastic has been around on Earth, humans have produced enough of it to completely cover the country of Argentina. It’s an outrageous statistic, and one that’s compounded by the fact that only 8% of all that plastic is ever recycled. This article came out not long after ABC’s brilliant War on Waste got the country thinking about sustainability – and thus the idea for a group show was born. Who better to examine humankind’s problems – and propose solutions – than artists?
I invited 11 local and interstate artists to consider how we might begin to deal with our plastic problem. Artists and designers Rachel Peachy and Paul Mosig, in their mixed media work Fool’s Gold, have depicted the waxworm, a type of caterpillar that eats plastic, and has been posited as a solution to our plastic problem.
Photographer Ona Janzen, who is of Argentinian heritage, has taken a more literal interpretation, producing a self portrait where she is covered from head to toe in plastic. Several artists have incorporated plastic into the artwork itself, raising questions about how we ascribe value and purpose to objects.
Contemporary jeweller Claire Brooks has been incorporating micro-plastics into her work for several years. She combs the beach for tiny, broken up pieces of plastic which she then encases in handcrafted sterling silver boxes in her Plastic Soup series of jewellery and sculpture.
This exhibition may not solve the world’s problems, but I hope it does contribute to the conversation so many of us are having, about how to live more sustainably, reduce consumption of throw-away goods, and find alternative uses for the waste we do produce.