Despite regular forecasts of its demise, painting has remained strongly relevant to most cultures for tens of thousands of years. Figurative and abstract, expressive or conceptual, domestic and institutional in character—painting is everywhere. Contemporary artists are well aware of the medium’s history; adopting established conventions as parameters within their practice or, alternatively, challenging the paradigms of art history by developing innovative strategies. If art reflects its maker’s way of being in the world, painting consequently communicates the interests and experiences that inform its many manifestations, while interacting with and illuminating the surrounding world.
The World in Painting presents recent work by eight established and distinguished Australian artists who believe in the strength of painting as a visual language. Brought together for the first time, the artists represent a diverse range of practices, and come from both metropolitan and regional areas, and from different generations and varied cultural backgrounds. All transform what is significant to them into imaginary, creative, documentary or conceptual forms and content; into other personal realities. Their works comment and reflect on contemporary life and its values, observe the workings of subjectivity and power, envision the strangeness and fantasy of the natural world and encourage forms of creativity that are accessible to all.
Many contemporary artists argue that art cannot be solely defined by its medium, as painting, drawing etc., because meaning and potential reside in or are conveyed by more than materials and techniques alone. This attitude frees painting to take other material forms, and the works featured in this exhibition employ ceramic, plastic and fabric as well as paint and canvas to activate the potential of art to convey significant form and content. Still connected to the history of modernism yet part of life during a time of accelerating digital technology, global trade and travel, the paintings by these eight artists are vehicles for ideas that are personal and local yet access realities that are common across the world.
This exhibit is presented by the Australian Embassy Manila in celebration of Australia Week.