What’s in the Stockroom?

Each week we wander through one of the region’s premiere stockrooms to find out what treasures lay inside.

Sutton Gallery

This week we visit Melbourne’s Sutton Gallery with director Irene Sutton. To the right of Sutton is & by Nick Selenitsch.

Raafat Ishak, Good State, 2003. Acrylic on MDF, 2 panels: 53.5 x 108.5cm and 53.5 x 30cm. Courtesy: the artist and Sutton Gallery.

“With its careful line work, exquisite palette, and reoccurring motifs on raw MDF, Good State, 2003, is a fine example of Raafat Ishak’s work. The composition overlaps elements of contemporary and federation Australian architecture and the twentieth century structures dotted throughout his birthplace of Cairo, Egypt, seamlessly blending the personal with the political. I have always been drawn to the modernist idiom that runs through Raafat’s work – I am particularly excited to see it activated by the 1960s building at Heide Museum of Modern Art, where he has a major exhibition next year.”

Nusra Latif Qureshi, Sacred Boundaries-I, 1995. Gouache and gold-leaf on wasli, 17 x 8.5cm. Courtesy: the artist and Sutton Gallery.

Nusra Latif Qureshi trained as a Mughal miniature artist in Lahore, Pakistan, before relocating to Australia. Nusra’s practice melds these techniques with a contemporary visual language to investigate and question the assumptions embedded within art history. Sacred Boundaries-I, 1995, is a beautiful example of Nusra’s early work. It is made from gouache and gold-leaf on wasli, materials that she continues to use today. The female figure in this work appears to be fleeing the picture plane, perhaps gesturing to the erasure of female presence in accepted histories. The surface is intentionally blemished to form a patina that speaks of removal, loss and fading past.”

John Meade, Paco Rabanne, 2016. Aluminium, auto enamel, stainless steel and polyester thread, 30 x 24 x 50cm. Courtesy: the artist and Sutton Gallery.

John Meade’s sculptures are defined by their elegant silhouettes, sophisticated palettes, and his nuanced and meticulous approach to materiality. The artwork, Paco Rabanne, embodies these traits with an additional dash of humour. Like many of Meade’s forms, Paco Rabanne is a form that recalls both architecture and the body, and could easily be imagined as a large dynamic public sculpture.”

Vivienne Binns, From David’s jumper mark II, 2007-08. Acrylic on canvas, 152.5 x 183.8cm. Courtesy: the artist and Sutton Gallery.

“In Australia, Vivienne Binns leads the way in working collaboratively and in communities with a focus on previously overlooked, female-centred aesthetics and modes of production. Binns has maintained this position in her artistic practice throughout her career, exploring relationships between places and memories via the production of rigorous conceptual paintings. Employing pictorial devices such as the grid, patterning, layering and combing, Binns creates artworks that have the appearance of being woven. This effect is most evident in the artwork From David’s Jumper mark II, as it celebrates and recognises important encounters, personal or visual, with the textiles and materials present in domestic settings in what looks like an abstract modernist painting. Binns’ recent inclusion in the Tate/MCA collections and her forthcoming major survey exhibitions are a highpoint in her long career.”

Karen Black, Trapeze, 2021. Oil on canvas, 122.4 x 180.3cm. Courtesy: the artist and Sutton Gallery.

Trapeze is a new work by Karen Black. Karen’s practice is, in part, informed by her background as a costume and prop designer. Her time in the theatre feeds into her paintings – her compositions are dramatic, and often very tragic, scenes in which characters and objects are pitted against each other. Karen’s sumptuous application of paint makes her surfaces highly textural and alluring.

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