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Announcing Artists Joining the Gertrude Studio Program in 2023

Image of a Gertrude Studio interior. Photography by Jake Roden for Broadsheet.

Gertrude is pleased to announce the incoming artists into the Gertrude Studio Program for 2023.

The selected artists are Elyas Alavi, James Barth, Nathan Beard, Arini Byng, Hayley Millar Baker, Dane Mitchell, Georgia Morgan, and Steven Rhall. The group represents a diverse cross-section of some of the most exciting practices of the present. Each artist has demonstrated a strong commitment to their practice and a record of consistently producing high quality work. From a record 182 applications, these eight artists were selected in a highly competitive intake.
The selected artists’ practices are all cross-disciplinary, reflecting the contemporary artistic climate in which form and concept are intrinsically linked. Each of the incoming Studio Artists expresses a singular and authentic point of view, with focuses ranging from exploring their queer and cultural identities to interrogating memory, reality and modes of expressing the intangible.
Of the selected artists, half are currently based outside of Victoria and will move to Melbourne to commence their studio residencies. While this is not by design, this clearly shows Gertrude’s commitment to supporting contemporary Australian art, reflecting our status as a leading national institution, as well as a champion of Naarm Melbourne based artistic careers. With artists from Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Boorloo Perth, Meanjin Brisbane, and Tarndanya Adelaide, the group brings new ideas, communities and conversations into Gertrude’s dynamic spaces.

An advisory committee comprising Gertrude staff, a current studio artist, a previous studio artist and an external arts professional convened to assess applications for the 2-year studio program. A panel of First Nations peers convened to select the recipient of Gertrude’s fully subsidised First Peoples Studio.

With a commitment to supporting innovative artists at key moments in the development of their practices, and representing a broad expanse of creative practices, the advisory committee has selected the following artists to enter the program in 2023:

Image: Steven Rhall. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Steven Rhall (Dedicated First Peoples Studio)

Steven Rhall is a post-conceptual artist operating from a position informed by Taungurung, white-passing, cis male, neuro-divergent experiences/typologies. These biographical ‘framing devices’ frequently inform, and sometimes form the basis of his research, artistic concerns and production often located at various intersections pertaining to ideas of a ‘First Nation art practice’ and the Western art canon.

Rhall’s practice is further located when the relational concerns historical and contemporary presentation of art (and ‘Culture’) by First Nation peoples particularly in consideration of framing devices informing the authoring and perception of narrative and as ultimately underwriting the artistic encounter. Within this space, Rhall also interrogates ideas of the curator/curatorial and is interested in generative methodologies aligned with notions of the artist-curator, exhibition/gallery as form and related expanded fields.

Image: Elyas Alavi. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Elyas Alavi

Expressed in poetry, painting, installation, performance and moving image, Alavi’s practice examines themes of identity and representation through the complex intersections of race, displacement, gender, religion, and sexuality. More specifically, his work explores complex histories in the Greater Middle East region.

Alavi graduated with a Master of Visual Arts from the University of South Australia in 2016 and a Master of Fine Arts at Chelsea College of Arts, University of London. He is the recipient of the 2019 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship.

Alavi has exhibited nationally and internationally at galleries including Mohsen Gallery (Tehran); Robert Kananaj (Toronto); IFA (Kabul); Cookhouse Galley, UAL (London); Firstdraft Gallery, Blacktown Arts and UTS Gallery (all Sydney); Substation and Footscray Arts (Melbourne); Constance ARI (Hobart); ACE, FELT Space, Nexus Arts, CACSA, POP Gallery and Sauerbier House (all Adelaide). Alavi has published three poetry books in Afghanistan and Iran.

Image: James Barth Surprised to Fall, 2021, oil paint screen printed on dibond, single panel (111 x 90cm). Courtesy of the artist.  

James Barth

Barth's unique practice reflects her intersecting interests in painting, photography, self portraiture, science fiction, and cinematic languages. The artist's work, especially her painterly practice, considers how digital space influences subjectivity and the physical, poetically reflecting on both transgender identity and representation more broadly. In her paintings, avatars that recall the artist's own image fluctuate between the tangible and ambiguous. Her compositions for paintings are created using digital 3D modelling, where avatars of the artist are formed and posed to create intricate tableau. In Barth's videos these compositions are animated, widening the frame to explore the intricate worlds that her avatars inhabit. 

Barth’s recent solo exhibitions include The Placeholder, Milani Gallery (2021); ZONWEE: the last known recording of a daydream in collaboration with Spencer Harvie, Boxcopy and Screen Tests, Milani Gallery CARPARK (both 2019); and Otonaroid, Woolloongabba Art Gallery (2015). Her work has been featured in a number of group exhibitions including: Embodied Knowledge: Contemporary Queensland Art, Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art (2021); New Woman, Museum of Brisbane (2019); Assuming Surface, Outer Space (2018); and Crossexions, Metro Arts and The Cross Art Projects, Sydney (2016), amongst others. Her work is held in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, Kamberri Canberra; Monash University Museum of Art, Naarm Melbourne; and Griffith University Art Museum, Meanjin Brisbane, as well as various private collections. Barth is represented by Milani Gallery, Meanjin Brisbane.

Image: Nathan Beard. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Nathan Beard

Nathan Beard is a multi-disciplinary artist who draws from his Australian-Thai heritage to unpack the slippery influences of culture, memory and authenticity. Beard’s work adapts intimate exchanges with family and their archives alongside broader cultural signifiers of ‘Thainess’ to offer a unique and personal articulation of the complexities surrounding diasporic identity.

Recent exhibitions include A Puzzlement, Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts (2022), Husk, Futures (2022), Low Yield Fruit, sweet pea (2022), White Gilt 2.0, Firstdraft (2020), A dense intimacy (with Lindy Lee), Bus Projects (2019) and WA Focus: Nathan Beard, Art Gallery of Western Australia (2017).

In 2022 Beard completed an Australia Council residency at ACME Studios, London. He has been a finalist in the Ramsay Art Prize (2021) and the churchie emerging art prize (2020), and participated in the 4A Beijing Studio Program (2017). He is represented by sweet pea and Aster + Asha Gallery.

Image: Arini Byng. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Arini Byng

Arini Byng works with the affective qualities of materials, gestures and settings; undertaking exercises in image, movement and form to negotiate political scenes. 

Byng’s output traverses photography, performance, video, and painting, to create complex, intimate studies in gesture and action. Her practice draws on the phenomenology of the body as it encounters the physical world. In recent work, she has incorporated her personal family archive to navigate identity, history, memory, and lived experience.

Born in 1987 on Gadigal Country and now based in Naarm, Byng is of Black American and Anglo-Celtic descent. Recent exhibitions and performances include Some voices carry, a solo exhibition presented at CAVES for PHOTO 2022; Group Exhibition at ReadingRoom; and I felt it when you fell, performed at Bus Projects, Gertrude Glasshouse, and Ararat Gallery TAMA.

Image: Hayley Millar Baker. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Hayley Millar Baker

Hayley Millar Baker is a Gunditjmara Djabwurrung artist, born in South-West Melbourne, Australia (1990). Through examining the role our multi-faceted identities play in translating and conveying our experiences, Hayley works across photography, collage, and film to interrogate and abstract autobiographical narratives and themes relating to her own identity - drawing on spirituality, Indigeneity, womanhood, motherhood, and the psyche. Her oblique storytelling methods and methodologies encourage us to embrace that the passage of identity, culture, and memory are not linear nor fixed.

Hayley’s works are held in significant public institutional collections across Australia, and has exhibited nationally and internationally. Hayley has been a finalist in several prestigious national and international art prizes and has won the John and Margaret Baker Memorial Fellowship for the National Photography Prize (2020), the Darebin Art Prize (2019), and the Special Commendation Award for The Churchie National Emerging Art Prize (2017). Hayley presented a new commission ‘Nyctinasty’ for the 4th National Indigenous Art Triennial: Ceremony at the National Gallery of Australia (2022). She was selected as one of eight artists to exhibit in the Museum of Contemporary Art’s Primavera: Young Australian Artists (2018). Hayley was a feature artist in PHOTO2021: International Festival of Photography (2021). In 2021 Hayley presented an early career-survey exhibition ‘There we were all in one place’ at UTS Gallery, curated by Stella McDonald. The exhibition brought together five pivotal bodies of work created between 2016-2019 from Hayley’s early career to tour Australia in 2022.

Image: Dane Mitchell. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Dane Mitchell

Over the course of twenty-five years, Dane Mitchell has developed an interest in forms of 'plastic invisibility', a term used to frame and invoke sensory and conceptual qualities which are unstable, dynamic or transitional, as well as engage technologies that underwrite containment and attempt to produce stability and permanence, enabling a broad, conceptually-lead, practice-based investigation into things that contain, such as museums, encyclopaedias and language and that which cannot be contained, such as vapours, forces, transmissions, eradications and contagions.

Dane Mitchell (1976) was Aotearoa New Zealand’s representative at the 58th Venice Biennale in 2019. He has presented solo exhibitions in Japan, Germany, France, Brazil, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Australia, United States and New Zealand amongst others. He has participated in a number of biennales, including Biennale of Sydney; Liverpool Biennial; Bangkok Biennale; Gwangju Biennale; Singapore Biennale; Thailand Biennale; Ljubljana Biennale, Busan Biennale and TarraWarra Biennial.

Image: Georgia Morgan. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Georgia Morgan

My name is Georgia Morgan (b. Eora Nation | Sydney 1992) and I am a Tamil Australian artist. My practice is devotional and aspirational. It is storytelling. I am in one place and longing for another (that may or may not exist).

My practice is multidisciplinary and includes large-scale site-specific installations, photographs, videos, paintings and ceramics. Materiality, play, intuition and imagining inform my process.

When I look at the work I have made, I repeatedly think of puja. Puja is a hindu act of worship that involves offering physical objects — such as gold, fruit or flowers — to an image of a god. Sometimes gold foil or plastic fruit or flowers are offered. This doesn’t detract from the value of worship, as it is the conviction of the action that matters.

This knowledge and use of material is consistent in my practice.

It is what I say it is. You believe cause I believe.

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Gertrude Contemporary

Wurundjeri Country
21-31 High Street
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Melbourne, Australia

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