Deakin art gallery pays homage to Australian abstract and non-objective art

Media release
31 October 2017

Deakin University Art Gallery is paying homage to a unique aspect of Australian visual arts with the official launch of the Centre for Abstract and Non-Objective Art.

The launch coincides with the beginning of The Void. Visible. Abstraction & Non-Objective Art, a new exhibition for 2017 that includes the work of artists Stephen Wickham, Stephen McCarthy, Andrew Christofides and Wilma Tabacco.

Co-curated by Deakin Art Collection and Galleries Manager Leanne Willis and Stephen Wickham, the exhibition features important works exploring the genre of abstraction and non-objective art.

Ms Willis said the Centre for Abstract and Non-Objective Art was a new area of speciality within the Deakin University Art Collection, which now consisted of more than 2000 objects across all four campuses and corporate centres.

"This new area of speciality is a timely focus on an important field of the visual arts that is currently not well represented in Australian collections," Ms Willis said.

"Artists have worked with ideas of abstraction for more than a century as part of a truly international art movement and - though often overlooked - our local developments in the field possess unique regional characteristics and breakthroughs that reveal a very significant part of Australian art history."

Abstraction and non-objective art focuses on forms and colours, breaking away from the rigid portraiture or landscape painting of earlier styles by exploring everything from paint splatters to geometric shapes and chequered patterns, resulting in pieces that often defy interpretation.

"As a visual language and as a form of art making, the nature of abstraction and non-objective practice is perhaps best placed to inspire openness and foster new readings and diverse understandings," Ms Willis said.

Mr Wickham said abstract and non-objective art was "international, ubiquitous, and here to stay".

"Contemporary practitioners are engaged in all manner of critiques, innovations, theoretical discourses, scientific innovations and stylistic tremors," he said.

The Centre for Abstract and Non-Objective Art is the fourth Special Collection at Deakin University, along with the Sculpture Collection, the Artists' Book Collection and the Campus Collection.

The Void. Visible. Abstraction & Non-Objective Art will be opened 6pm Wednesday, November 1, by leading Australian gallery owner Charles Nodrum.

The exhibition will be hosted until Friday, December 15, at the Deakin University Art Gallery, Melbourne Burwood Campus, 221 Burwood Highway, Burwood.

The Deakin University Art Gallery is open Tuesday to Friday from 10am to 4pm, and entry is free.

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Image: Stephen Wickham's Black cruciform and square with diptych after Ivan Kljun 2016 (detail)
              Oil on linen
              46 x 86 cm, 121 x 182 cm
              Image courtesy the artist
              Photography: Simon Peter Fox

Key Fact

Image: Stephen Wickham's Black cruciform and square with diptych after Ivan Kljun 2016 (detail) Oil on linen 46 x 86 cm, 121 x 182 cm Image courtesy the artist Photography: Simon Peter Fox

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