Model exhibition

Volume 7 Number 2 February 14 - March 13 2011

Constructed models or tableaux have inspired a new exhibition of at the Potter. By Katrina Raymond.

The exhibition Model Pictures will kick off the new year of shows at the University’s Ian Potter Museum of Art.

It features four Melbourne-based artists – all VCA graduates – who use constructed models or tableaux as an integral part of their painting processes.

The exhibition will present works by Moya McKenna, James Lynch, Amanda Marburg and Rob McHaffie from the period between 1990 and 2010.

Model Pictures tracks these artists’ approaches to modelling the world around us, which has built a new direction for contemporary painting in Melbourne over the past decade. The exhibition examines the historical significance of these initiatives as well as each artist’s different working methods, involving constructed tabletop tableaux, plasticine models, mannequins and studio still lifes.

Lynch, Marburg, McKenna and McHaffie all graduated from the VCA between 1996 and 2002 and use painting as a diagnostic tool. They experiment with their immediate environment and with ideas of scale and pictorial space, analysing the character of painting and the problem of its ‘autonomy’.

Curator Bala Starr says Model Pictures seeks to establish new and more robust critical and historical terms for the interpretation of this particularly Australian practice.

“The strategy of using constructed models or tableaux has become something of a hallmark of contemporary Australian practice with artists such as Ricky Swallow, Patricia Piccinini and Callum Morton achieving international recognition.

“The dominant interpretative model – revolving around repetition and simulation as expressing scepticism towards representation – was established early and elaborated upon little. This exhibition will explore interpretations of the practice from a critical and historical perspective”, Ms Starr said.

The Model Pictures exhibition is part of a series at the Potter that brings together artists of different generations to explore a theme, style or premise relating to artistic and critical practice. Previous recent examples include Song of Sirens, Sweet Spot, Earthly Reflections of Heavenly Things, and A Spoonful Weighs a Ton.

Model Pictures at the Ian Potter Museum of Art, on show 23 February to 15 May.