University of Western Australia: New exhibition connects strange and magical worlds

An engaging new exhibition that explores a dark corner of the ocean where small bright objects glitter will launch next month at the Lawrence Wilson Gallery at The University of Western Australia as part of Perth Festival.

Ariel’s Song celebrates how art can open a door between worlds, examining shipwrecked feelings, rich and strange transformations and magical thinking that places contemporary artists Luisa Hansal, Jess Tan and Wade Taylor in conversation with surreal and stormy visions from the UWA Art Collection.

Ariel’s Song borrows its title from Shakespeare’s The Tempest as well as a 1994 survey exhibition of Western Australian landscape painter Audrey Greenhalgh, whose paintings and drawings of the ocean searched for ‘the energy, vitality and movement beneath the surface’ of the tangible world.

Exhibition curator and Perth Festival Visual Arts Associate Gemma Weston said the exhibition showcased works by three contemporary artists whose approaches to painting were variously representational, emotional and sculptural.

Luisa Hansal, leafworm, 2021, oil on canvas board, 30.5cm x 24.5cm, courtesy the artist and sweet pea, PerthImage: Luisa Hansal, leafworm, 2021, oil on canvas board, 30.5cm x 24.5cm, courtesy the artist and sweet pea, Perth.

Ariel’s Song will feature new paintings and drawings by Hansal, Tan and Taylor in dialogue with ocean-scapes by Greenhalgh from the UWA Art Collection. The artists offer a meditation on how artists can open a door between worlds, or suggest mysterious forces at work beneath the surface of this one.

Hansal is a multidisciplinary artist based in Melbourne where she completed her Master of Fine Art at RMIT University in 2017 and was awarded the Lowensteins Arts Management Graduate Prize. She was awarded a placement in the annual HATCHED: National Graduate Show at PICA, and received a six-week residency at the Edith Cowan University Printmaking studio. Hansal has exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and Berlin.

Tan is a multidisciplinary artist based between Melbourne and Perth and recently completed a Master of Fine Art at RMIT, funded by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship. Tan collects from the residual of what she has eaten, broken, found and previously made, as well as what the things around her have made in the process of being.

Taylor is a mid-career artist from Perth who completed a Bachelor in Fine Arts at UWA. Working primarily with paint, his practice extends to sculpture and ceramics. Wade’s work explores issues surrounding Australian identity and landscape, conveying notions of suburbia, nostalgia and the everyday. With a focus on paint as a material and the emotive properties of colour and light, his works centre on a familiar yet unsettling quality to the contemporary Australian landscape.

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