Hours of operation

2021 River Capital Commission
Rob McLeish

5 November -
5 December 2021

Gertrude Contemporary

21-31 High Street, Preston South

Artist talk: Friday 3 December

Gertrude is pleased to announce the third River Capital Commission, an annual commissioning initiative developed in partnership with and through the generous support of River Capital. This partnership enables Gertrude to work with leading artists to commission a major new project to be presented as a flagship exhibition within our artistic program.

For the 2021 River Capital Commission, Gertrude is honoured to work with Melbourne-based artist Rob McLeish toward the presentation of HEADLESS, his most expansive institutional project to date. Unfolding across the gallery spaces and foyer volumes at Gertrude Contemporary, HEADLESS reprises a selection of key sculptural works of the past decade and introduces a number of newly produced works enabled through the commission. Taking form as a total environment orchestrated by the artist in response to the architecture of the spaces, HEADLESS brings new and recent works into dialogue to focus on the sculptural realm of his practice.

Artistically active for more than 15 years, McLeish has in recent years returned to Melbourne after a period living and working in Los Angeles and New York, where he exhibited extensively and worked in the studio of Jeff Koons. Having been included within numerous museum exhibitions, this will be the first opportunity for the artist to develop a large-scale institutional solo exhibition in Australia. Rob’s practice spans sculpture, installation, printmaking and drawing. With exceptional skills as a technical producer, the artist engages in highly complex material experimentation. Central within his practice is the reconsideration of monuments and monumental gestures in modernist art, tempered with an overlay of material fatigue and the passing of time. This too carries through into his motifs around sport and endurance, which are similarly called into question through the representation of contortion and distortion. With humour, exemplary production skills, a strong comprehension of spatiality and timely questioning of the monument in history, Rob is both an artist of significance and highly deserving of an opportunity to work on a project of scale and importance. Rob is an alumnus of the Gertrude Studio Program, participating from 2009-2010.

Selected solo exhibitions include: Distortions, Neon Parc, Melbourne; Thanks Criticism!, Kansas Gallery, New York, USA (2016); Lapsink, Neon Parc, Melbourne (2013); Art Contemporary Los Angeles Art Fair, Neon Parc, Los Angeles, USA (2013); Concept Fatigue, DB, Sydney (2012); Keep Art Evil, Monash University, Melbourne (2010); NADA Art Fair, Neon Parc, Miami, USA (2010); Afterparty, West Space, Melbourne (2008); Pissing In The Infinity Pool, Ocular Lab, Melbourne (2009); and Step Into The Light, TCB, Melbourne (2008). Selected recent group exhibitions include: Verus Rodin: Bodies Across Space and Time, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2017); Vitreous Humour, Kansas Gallery, New York, USA (2016); An Imprecise Science, Artspace, Sydney (2015); Sequester, Australian Embassy, Washington DC (2014); Basil Sellers Art Prize, Ian Potter Museum, Melbourne University, Melbourne (2014); Reinventing the Wheel: The Readymade Century, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne (2013); Parallel Collisions: 2012 Biennial of Australian Contemporary Art, Art Gallery Of South Australia, Adelaide; The Drawing Room, Breenspace, Sydney (2012); and Life. Death. Thereafter. Silvershot, Melbourne (2008).

Rob McLeish is represented by Neon Parc, Melbourne. 

The River Capital Commission is an initiative developed in partnership with River Capital, a Melbourne-based investment firm with a commitment to investor and community success.

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Gertrude Contemporary

21-31 High Street
Preston South VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Tuesday–Sunday 11am–5pm

Gertrude Glasshouse

44 Glasshouse Road
Collingwood VIC
Melbourne, Australia

Opening hours:
Thursday–Saturday 12–5pm