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Announcing Artists Joining the Gertrude Studio Program in 2024

Gertrude is pleased to announce the incoming artists into the Gertrude Studio Program for 2024.

Gertrude is pleased to announce the incoming artists into the Gertrude Studio Program. An advisory committee consisting of 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 advisory peers convened to select the recipient of Gertrude’s First Nations 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 2024:

Image: Moorina Bonini. Courtesy of the artist. 

Moorina Bonini

Moorina Bonini is a proud descendant of the Yorta Yorta Dhulunyagen family clan of Ulupna  and the Yorta Yorta, Wurundjeri and Wiradjuri Briggs/McCrae family. Moorina is an artist whose works are informed by her experiences as an Aboriginal and Italian woman. Her practice attempts to disrupt and critique the eurocentric foundations that centralise Indigenous categorisation within western institutions. By unsettling the narrative placed upon Aboriginal people as a result of colonisation of Aboriginal Australia, Moorina’s practice is based within Indigenous Knowledge systems and brings this to the fore. 

Her work has been exhibited in various shows across Australia and also internationally. Galleries and Institutions include ACMI, The Shed (NY), Sydney Festival, Blak Dot Gallery, Centre for Contemporary Photography and the Koorie Heritage Trust. Most recent major commissions include Primavera: Young Australian Artists (2023) and her Phd exhibition across Bunjilaka Aboriginal Culture Centre, Melbourne Museum and MADA Gallery (2023).

Image: Chunxiao Qu. Courtesy of the artist. 

Chunxiao Qu

Chunxiao Qu is an artist and published poet whose work folds pointed humour into conceptual making with irreverence and serious intent. Her wide-ranging practice spans installation, sculpture, painting, neons, print-making, poetry and fashion. Both her poetry and art embrace play in language, provoking her audience and testing truisms regarding art and life. Her ‘tributes’ to conceptual artists copy and adapt key works in art history while shifting meaning beyond satire. Humour’s tricks of contrast and surprise are employed yet irony lives side-by-side with sincerity, as bedfellows in disguise.

Chunxiao Qu (born in China, lives and works in Melbourne) holds Honours of Fine Art (First-Class) from Monash University, Melbourne. Select solo exhibitions include 'Art is a washing machine that is washing itself', FUTURES, 2023; 'An artist doesn’t need a label', Curated by Amelia Wallin, LRI Biannual Façade public Art Commission, La Trobe Art Institute, Bendigo (2022-2023); 'COPY', Curated by Chelsea Hopper, '99% Gallery', Melbourne (2022); 'Chunxiao Qu', Lon Gallery, Melbourne (2021); 'The title is no longer relevant', curated by Chelsea Hopper, Trocadero ArtSpace, Melbourne (2021). Select group exhibitions include 'Person, woman, man, camera, TV'. Curated by Chelsea Hopper, BLINDSIDE, Melbourne (2022); White Night Bendigo, 2022, Bendigo (2022); 'Everything That Is Outside Of Us', Curated by A Constructed World, Palazzo Vai, Prato, Italy (2017). She has published two poetry collections: This poetry book is too good to have a name and Logic Poetry (Discipline, 2022) and Popcorn, Porn of Poetry (no more poetry, 2021).
She is represented by FUTURES.

Image: Grace Culley. Courtesy of Vivienne Tetaz.

Grace Culley

Grace Culley’s practice is driven by both a desire to map the layers of human connection, and a tendency to undermine socialised desires for certainty that come about when one is faced with a ‘problem’. 

Culley’s 2023 commissioned project ‘Surprised face; Heart eyes’ at West Space explored social thresholds of control in relation to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Following this, the artist is settling further into a mindset of uncertainty that flickers between an engineer-like attitude of problem solving and lustful sentimentality - using tangential processes involving drawing, painting, sculpture and assemblage construction to query the need to control things by solving them.

Image: Tara Denny. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Tara Denny

Tara Denny, (Naarm/ Melbourne) is a sculptor working with bronze, aluminium, wax and the thrifted to materialise her own personal mythologies. Denny's practice uses feminist methodologies to resist the cultural erasure of women’s work, cementing entropic experiences of love and the bittersweet pull of fantastical realities into objects of great permanence. Evoking long traditions of oral histories passed between women, the archaic materials used in her practice act as a tribute to the latent unknowability of feminine experience, suggesting wide rifts of loss and amnesia. Works arrive already broken into fragments and ripe with decay, as though resurfacing from a fallen time to finally encounter the public’s gaze. 
Tara Denny is a Melbourne (Naarm) based artist. She graduated in (2022) at the Victorian College of Fine Arts, Melbourne University (Honours). Recent solo shows include: AirSpace, Sydney, (2023). Felt Space, Adelaide (2023), Melbourne’s cultural event ‘Open House’, Melbourne (2022), Cathedral Cabinet, Melbourne (2022), Platform Arts (Geelong), (2022), George Paton Gallery, Melbourne (2022). Recent group shows include: Greenhouse Offsite, Melbourne, (2023). The Turning is the exchange between Lilac City Studio (Gadigal) Sydney and BLINDSIDE (Naarm) hosted by Schmick Contemporary, Sydney (2023) and Blindside, ‘All World Are Flat’- (2021).

Image: Jordan Halsall. Courtesy of Nikia Whiteley.

Jordan Halsall

Jordan Halsall uses art’s ability to represent dissonant ideologies in order to critically address progress and growth. This investigation is shaped by an interest in practices of optimisation, vitality and notions of exit. These areas feed into approaching projects by thinking about the contemporary artist as prosumer - a concept in which the progression of new technologies predicted an increasing crossover between the roles of producer and the consumer. With this in mind - outcomes are made with a confused materiality relating to industrial and homemade production practices that journey through accelerated lifestyles and environments.

Halsall co-directs the gallery Savage Garden and is a past board member of TCB Art inc. Selected solo exhibitions include Terrarium, Neo Gracie, Auckland (2023); Flatways, ReadingRoom, Melbourne (2022); Walkaway, Haydens, Melbourne (2021); Fertilizer, Conners Conners, Melbourne (2020); and Task Executor, MUMA Science Gallery, Melbourne (2020).

Image: Rebecca Jensen. Courtesy of  Jay Jensen.

Rebecca Jensen is a dancer, choreographer, and teacher, born in Tāmaki Makaurau (Auckland) (1988) and based in Narrm. Her work ranges in scale and medium, including performance for theatres, galleries, and unconventional spaces, alongside participatory projects, community events, and film. Her low-fi, process-driven practice focuses on the body, and the interdisciplinary potential of choreography. She works through dance, utilising it’s equally speculative and practical forces to, encourage reflection, connection and transformation in the context of the anthropocene and an increasingly digitised world.

Rebecca has presented work in FRAME Biennale 2023, the Kier Choreographic Award 2016/2022, Front Beach Back Beach 2022, CONTACT HIGH, Gertrude Glasshouse 2021, Blindside Gallery 2021, Experimental Dance Week Auckland 2020, College Dance, La Biennale di Venezia 2018, Dance Massive Festival 2015/2017. Her long-form collaboration with Sarah Aiken includes a suite of eco-horror works that consider complicity and cultural inertia in the face of climate crisis. Together they direct participatory dance project Deep Soulful Sweats, presented across Australia and internationally since 2013.

Rebecca is influenced by her extensive history working as a dancer/performer and dance teacher, feeding her enduring interest in how movement is embodied, transmitted, and cited.

Image: Jenna Lee, Melbourne Now portrait, National Gallery of Victoria.

Jenna Lee
First Nations Studio

Jenna Lee is a Gulumerridjin (Larrakia), Wardaman and KarraJarri Saltwater woman with mixed Japanese, Chinese, Filipino and Anglo-Australian ancestry. Using art to explore and celebrate her many overlapping identities, Lee works across sculpture, installation, and body adornment. She also works with moving images, photography and projection in the digital medium. With a practice focused on materiality and ancestral material culture, Lee works with notions of the archive, histories of colonial collecting, and settler-colonial books and texts.
Lee ritualistically analyses, deconstructs and reconstructs source material, language and books, transforming them into new forms of cultural beauty and pride, and presenting a tangibly translated book. Driven to create work in which she, her family, and the broader mixed First Nations community see themselves represented, Lee builds on a foundation of her father’s teachings of culture and her mother’s teachings of papercraft.
Lee was honoured to be the recipient of several awards: the Wandjuk Marika 3D Memorial Award at the Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Award (NATSIAA); the Australia Council’s Dreaming Award; and, the Libris Artist Book Prize. She has been a finalist in national awards, including the prestigious John Fries Award for emerging and early career artists, the Footscray Art Prize, the National Works on Paper Prize, and the KWM Contemporary First Nations Art Award. 
Represented by MARS Gallery in Naarm (Melbourne, Australia), Lee has exhibited in several national and international museums and galleries, including the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford UK, the Institute of Modern Art (Brisbane), the Museum and Art Gallery Northern Territory, QUT Art Gallery, and Griffith University Art Gallery.
Formally trained as a graphic designer, Lee has a Bachelor of Visual Communication Design and a Postgraduate Certificate in Museum Studies.

Image: Yusi Zang. Photo courtesy of the artist. 

Yusi Zang

Yusi Zang is a Beijing-born multidisciplinary artist based in Melbourne, working primarily with painting and sculpture. Her works reflect the challenges of assimilating into the local community while detached from her hometown. This condition of existence, despite its limitations, has also granted Zang a sense of liberation and creative freedom, establishing a wholly self-contained creative ecosystem. Zang’s works strive for a level of realism that either mimics or extracts from the reality inherent in the everyday objects she responds to. Using an approach that breathes new life into frequently overlooked or dismissed objects, at times abject in their invisibility, having a unique and self-aware slacker trompe l'oeil style.

Recent exhibitions include Yusi Zang: Paintings & Sculptures, Animal House Fine Arts (2023), Then Sharply Turns, Conners Conners (2023), Aotearoa Art Fair, Savage Garden (2023), Sometimes We Seek Truth in the Traces of Others, TCB (2022), Traces and Stains, Meanwhile Gallery (2021), Altered Routine, Yusi Zang and Andre Franco, Blindside (2019), Yawbus, Cathedral Cabinet (2019), Gertrude Street Projection Festival (2019), Flattening, C3 Contemporary Art Space (2019), Seeing is Forgetting, Bus Projects (2018)

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Gertrude Contemporary

Wurundjeri Country
21-31 High Street
Preston South VIC
Melbourne, Australia

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Wurundjeri Country
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