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Using personal perspective to make art accessible

Sabine Brix

A new exhibition at Artbank will explore the subjective nature of perspective through the eyes of a renowned group of Australian artists.
Using personal perspective to make art accessible

Yvette Coppersmith, Self-portrait with Alida Blue, 2015 (detail).

Featuring landscape paintings from the Artbank collection alongside new work from artists including: Yvette Coppersmith, Ricky Emmerton, Anna McMahon, Sean Meilak, Rusty Peters and Lisa Sammut, From Where We Stand takes a deeply personal look at how individuals respond to the world around them. 

Artbank’s Director, Tony Stephens, said the exhibition’s theme relates to the way individuals reflect on and respond to their environment.

‘The concept of the exhibition came out of a thought process I was having around how we as individuals are shaped by our experience and how we articulate that experience in the world and create a loop where we’re actually reshaping the space around us, either individually or collectively, which is, in turn, reshapes the way we interact with the world and ourselves,’ Stephens said. 

One of Artbank’s key philosophies is to make art accessible and Stephens hopes themes explored in From Where We Stand encourage a broad audience to attend the opening.

‘My perspective on contemporary art and the way people relate to it is that it should be personal, it should be active, and shouldn’t rely on a preconceived set of notions such as, “this space isn’t for me; I don’t know enough about that art to come and engage,” Stephens told ArtsHub.

‘With this show, with something that is so deeply personal but so much a part of everyone else’s experience, maybe it’s an opportunity for a weird intersection where you might feel connected to work and you might not know why, but it starts a different kind of thought process in your brain that you carry with you,’ Stephens said. ‘That’s what we try to encourage; that’s what these shows are for – they’re unpacking ideas and unpacking our collection in different ways to provide greater access.

The participating artists in this exhibition were handpicked because of the way their individual experience aligns with collective thinking. 

‘I was thinking about artists that do that in their practice; reflecting back what they see, imbuing aspects of their own experience, lived experience in life, while and looking at that from a diverse range of perspectives across, culture, gender and geography,’ Stephens said.

‘All of them have a very individualistic way of articulating their vision. They are looking at either their relationship to the community they live in, their relationship to self and their relationship to the world they inhabit.

The work of Indigenous artist Rusty Peters responds directly to Stephens’ vision. 

‘Rusty is a senior Gija man from the Kimberly who is 80-years-old and is painting a story he’s never painted before,’ Stephens explained. ‘And for him to relate to his land in a different way and what it means for his community was a very significant moment for him.’ 

While Peters’ work is a reflection of his direct surrounding, artist Yvette Coppersmith explores the relationship to self through portraiture, her work a reflection of the dynamic Stephens is trying to create with this exhibition.

‘We’re looking at very micro and macro concepts. I am trying to create a feel, what it feels like to be in a space, a personal dialogue that’s being had in public, which artists are very conditioned to do but trying to create an intimacy in that as well.’

From Where We Stand opens on 17 May 2018 from 6-8pm. For more details and to RSVP visit Eventbrite.

About the author

Sabine is a writer, editor, podcaster and electronic musician with a specific interest in personal storytelling that captures the essence of why people create. She was the former Online Content Producer at Archer Magazine and editor of the LGBTI website: Gay News Network.

Her music has appeared on the SBS series Starting From Now, and she currently produces the ‘80s music podcast Neon Mullet.

Follow Sabine on Twitter @sabinebrix

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