Foyer Gallery Exhibitions

Experimental Self Portraiture

Exhibition dates: 19 November 2015 – 31 January 2016
Curator: Lauren Mustillo
Artists: Véra Ada, Elise Bonato, Olivia Kathigitis, Jenna Pippett, Tara Rowhani-Farid

Curatorial Statement:

This exhibition brings together a group of emerging artists who have turned their gaze back on themselves, looking at an expanded field of self-portraiture in contemporary art. The self-portrait operates as affirmation of existence and agency in the world. Functioning as an extension of self, the self-portrait can extend beyond a purely physical documentation, expressing an inner state of being. The self-portrait can also jostle in a state between truth and fiction – revealing and concealing – performing the self. Through the use of self-portraiture, I hope the artists will explore their relationship to their bodies and their own personal worlds; constructing identity and narrative and experimenting with pushing the boundaries of what portraiture is.

Artist Statements: 

Véra Ada
A process I always come back to in my photography is multiple exposure. It's a method of building a surreal image out of real components, and it's also a way of testing just how much content I can pack into one frame. Growing up with an artist for a mother, I often had my portrait taken, drawn, and painted. This has contributed to my fixation with documenting and collecting as much as possible in the form of photos, which regularly includes self-portraiture.

In some self-portraits I depict myself as dissolving, disappearing, or blending into something (or someone) else. This is a result of being at odds with my own physicality - the obligation to care for a body that I didn't choose. Other self-portraits feature multiple versions of me, which comes from a feeling of identity multiplicity that developed from immigration. Self-portraiture enables me to take more control over how I am seen, but combining that with multiple exposures allows me to maintain a certain amount of unpredictability that makes the final image unrepeatable.

Elise Bonato
Through a multidisciplinary engagement between moving image, performance, installation, drawing and painting, my work investigates contemporary notions of the sublime and obscure beauty. This also involves exploring the interconnections between the lived body and the metaphysical mind. Regarding video installation and presence of the sensory in my work, I focus on the ‘affectual’ experience, evoking within the audience that sensation of encountering ‘unearthly beauty’ – where the sublime and aesthetic may distort to become otherworldly. The use of painting and drawing in my practice manifests as an interdisciplinary play between the transposition and intervention of either medium with the other. The ‘entities’, faces formed through a serial mark-making process, are created in compulsion towards a private canon. They are introspections made figurative – the subconscious turned to gaze upon the viewer – as well as an abstract expressionist diagram of the inner self.

Olivia Kathigitis
Fear and its apprehension are powerful and destructive. Olivia Kathigitis focusses upon the eroding quality of the mind, and behaviours as consequence to the anxiety. Through multiple medias, she explores the human behaviours towards death, dying and bereavement. Those Who Kissed the Grey Skies (2014) are presented as portraits of (the dissipation of) consciousness and the abstract span of realities. Kathigitis has completed an Honours degree in sculpture at the South Australian School of Art, Architecture & Design and is currently the director of the Format Systems Gallery.

Jenna Pippett
My practice manifests itself in looking into a personal past using family memorabilia, specifically on my mothers side. Responding to items, the work created offers visual links to engaging with a personal history. Altering and playing with memories, has led me to create new and interchangeable ways of viewing these past events.

I see myself as the last person to document and discover stories linking back to a past life. Allowing for my own participation, I piece together an understanding of the circumstances or create an alternate. The work aims to evoke the memory of a past era by playing out an act of visual remembering.

Tara Rowhani-Farid
I am exploring the physicality of paint and the ways in which, when left to its own devices, it can react and change. The process of creation was one of self-exploration where mood and mindset determined the path of the painting, making the work a self-portrait of sorts.

Click here to read about Curator Lauren Mustillo

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