What’s in the Stockroom?

To celebrate 10 years since we started our ‘What’s in the Stockroom?’ newsletter, each week we wander through one of the region’s premiere stockrooms to find out what treasures lay inside.

Michael Reid

This week we visit Sydney’s Michael Reid, with director Toby Meagher.

“Having a particular interest in photography, post-colonial narratives and Indigenous voices in contemporary Australian art (from urban practices to remote communities) my stockroom picks reflect these lines of inquiry,” Meagher says.

Samson Bonson, Mimih Spirit, 2019. Carved wooden sculpture, 167 x 7 x 6.5cm.

“Samson Bonson, a Gurrgoni sculptor, was taught in the late 1990s by Crusoe Kurddal a notable maker of mimih spirit carvings. Bonson is known for the refined carvings and the minute nature of his pointillist decoration on the main body of his mimih carvings and this work is an excellent example.”

Christian Thompson, Loom Aura 2, 2018. C-type print on Fuji Pearl Metallic Paper comprising four panels: 120 x 120cm (each), total framed dimensions: 250 x 250cm, edition of 4 + 2AP.

“Dr Christian Thompson AO is one of Australia’s most important practicing artists. This is a conceptual self-portrait with the artist’s face concealed by an arrangement of Australian native flora. The gaze locks you in as the central figure is absorbed into the foliage. There is something about Thompson’s images that just resonate.”

Wintjiya Napaltjarri, Untitled, 2003. Acrylic on canvas, 153 x 122cm.

“Wintjiya Napaltjarri (born between ca. 1923 to 1934) is a Pintupi-speaking Indigenous artist from Australia’s Western Desert region. I love the strong palette of black against a white background that accentuates the graphic iconography within this striking work.”

Joan Ross, Tag and Capture, 2013-2019. Backlit transparent archival film (lightbox), edition of 5 + 2AP, framed 98.5 x 93.5cm.

“Joan Ross selected this image from 2013 for Light Years our inaugural lightbox exhibition in 2019. This iconic image highlights the colour, detail and visual ambition capable with this new medium, and perfect for Joan’s high key work.”

Wayne Youle, Things were going swimmingly until…, 2020. Powder coated laser cut aluminium, 238.5 x 166cm.

“In this work, Youle has taken inspiration from Captain Cook’s diary and matched the words with related symbols and shapes that reflect Youle’s own translation. The silhouettes tell the visual story of the day in 1770 when Cook and the Endeavour made first contact with the Gweagal people.”

“By providing a visual narrative, Youle offers a way of retelling history, distilling its elements into a new order. This translation from written word to silhouette and symbol encourages a recalibration of the narrative as told by Cook.”

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