Words: Erin Irwin
Melbourne’s FUTURES has begun its year with a bang, announcing that three new artists have joined its stable. Sarah Drinan, Chunxiao Qu and Nathan Beard are now part of the FUTURES family, each with their own impressive and singular aesthetic.
Sarah Drinan’s Melbourne-based practice shifts between figuration and abstraction, the plump bodies that curl across her surfaces inviting the viewer to revel in their physicality. While the artist draws from centuries of artistic precedent, her painterly virtuosity and gestural touch propels Drinan’s works into a genre of their own, exploring themes of sensation, sensuality and vulnerability.
Drinan has had an exciting few years, between receiving the Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship in 2022 and being named a finalist in the Ramsay Art Prize in 2023. She was also the subject of a solo show at FUTURES, and participated in numerous group exhibitions.
Melbourne artist Chunxiao Qu is both artist and poet, utilising the written word, installation, sculpture, painting, print-making, and fashion to convey notions of satire and wit. Balancing sincerity and humour, the artist’s work revels in the power of words, often appropriating well-known artworks and movements to create new dialogues.
Qu’s work has featured in several solo exhibitions, including Art is a washing machine that is washing itself at FUTURES in 2023. She has also published two poetry collections, This poetry book is too good to have a name & Logic Poetry in 2022, and Popcorn, Porn of Poetry in 2021.
Nathan Beard is an Australian-Thai artist working in Perth, whose multidisciplinary practice explores the complexities of his heritage through an analytical lens. Both playful and deliberate, Beard’s works reassess indicators of ethnicity and culture, resulting in the articulation of deeply personal representations of identity.
Beard completed an Australia Council residency at ACME Studios in London, and has been a finalist in both the Ramsay Art Prize and the churchie emerging art prize. Works by the artist have been exhibited at the Perth Institute of Contemporary arts and the Art Gallery of Western Australia, as well as numerous commercial galleries. Nathan Beard is also represented by sweetpea, Perth.
Each of the artists have a busy year ahead of them, with announcements from FUTURES on exhibition dates to come.
This article was posted 31 January 2024.
Image: Chunxiao Qu, Nathan Beard, and Sarah Drinan, left to right. Courtesy: the artists and FUTURES, Melbourne.