Meet a wearable burger, question Australia's cultural heritage, then catch the MCA's blockbuster before it goes.

Lovingly crocheted goon bags. Poignant Chinese-Australian portraiture. Post-impressionist odes to Dungog Pub. Paradigms be damned, this month, Sydney galleries are putting eclecticism first. Whether a summer storm's raging or the city's immovable humidity is too much for you to bear, find your way to Sydney's best indoor galleries this February for copious amounts of colour theory and wearable crocheted sushi rolls.

Image: Chili Philly, Crochet Social, photographed by Simon Cardwell.

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    Superposition of Three Types

    Superposition of three types gathers brand new and specially commissioned works from 13 Australian artists who have spent their careers experimenting and pushing the boundaries of their craft. The exhibition focuses on challenging conceptions of colour and form in art by displaying works that use varying media to create new and unique ways of expressing dissent from traditionalist art.

    The exhibition takes place at Artspace, one of Sydney’s leaders in contemporary art, from February to April, and will combine not only the colourist work by Sydney Ball, Rebecca Baumann, live-artist Huseyin Sami and a host of others, it will also incorporate audiovisual performances, including a choreographed experience from Shelley Lasica.

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    Before the Rain

    Before the Rain, hosted by 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art and featuring artists such as Luke Ching and Sarah Lai, hinges around works using created and found media to tell the story of a nation demanding to shape its own future while protecting its past.

    The artworks tell the story of the city of Hong Kong in the time leading up to the political and civil unrest of 2014, when peaceful, pro-democratic protests took over the streets of the island state. Sampson Wong, artist and artistic leader of the Umbrella Movement, has transformed the exhibition entrance into a barrage of multimedia messages, including blogs, videos, tweets, and images from the time in question in order to fully immerse the visitor in nuances of the rapid shift in the socio-political climate. And that’s just the first work.

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    Chili Philly: Crochet Social

    Phil Ferguson, aka Chili Philly, is a Melbourne-based artist proving that crochet is not just for nannas. Creating wearable crochet art in the form of just about anything — from burgers to beer bottles, goon sacks to pea pods, tea bags to sushi rolls — Ferguson has become an Instagram wunderkind, clocking up a casual 140,000 followers to @chiliphilly in a flash.

    Ferguson’s cheeky craftwork is now the subject of a new exhibition at Australian Design Centre, titled Crochet Social. It’s his first major solo exhibition and features his crochet art alongside the quirky and slightly awkward self-portraits that have gained him so much popularity on social media.

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    Faded Lands: Holly Greenwood

    Whether slathered on canvas or organic materials like bark, Greenwood’s painting is a distinctly Australian take on post-impressionism, with deliberate brushstrokes and a limited colour palette creating an artwork that actively captures the atmosphere of the realm she paints, rather than recreating space photorealistic-style.

    Faded Lands, Greenwood’s latest exhibition, will be on show at the new Saint Cloche gallery in Paddington. The gallery has taken the mission of providing an art space that supports established artists, but also newer, upcoming talent the rare opportunity to display their works. Greenwood, a COFA graduate who has studied under a number of contemporary art heavyweights, will be showing her newest works from February 1 to 12.

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    Ken Leanfore: What's in a Surname?

    A quick search for the origins of the surname Leanfore yields few results. A website called forebears.io lists it as the 6,300,947th most common surname in the world and estimates that there is only a single person on the planet who carries it. According to Sydney photographer Ken Leanfore (陳漢駒) — not the only Leanfore, but it’s certainly a short list — this is due to a tendency by immigration officials in the 19th and 20th centuries to anglicise or create phonetic spellings of migrant names they couldn’t understand.

    Leanfore is fourth generation Australian-Chinese but is often mistaken for having French heritage. This set him wondering about the experiences of other Chinese Australians with “dodgy” approximations of their original names and how it might affect their sense of identity. The result is a photographic exhibition called What’s in a Surname? at Klei Gallery in Albion Place, held in conjunction with Sydney’s Chinese New Year Festival.

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    Terry Burrows: Banaras Backs

    Banaras Backs, the newest exhibition at Darlinghurst photography Black Eye Gallery, offers a unique glimpse into contemporary Indian life.

    The work of Aussie photographer Terry Burrows, this new show features photos of people sitting on the steps of the river Ganges. A riff on classic portraiture, each of the photos is taken from behind, with the viewer unable to see any of the subjects’ faces. At once intimate and distant, this intriguing series invites you to spend long moments in front of each image, admiring the composition or, for more creative types, inventing stories about the photos’ anonymous subjects.

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    Megan Geckler: A Million Things That Make Your Head Spin

    If you’ve been worrying that beautiful blue skies would mean the end of rainbows over the summer, think again. American artist Megan Geckler‘s current installation in the atrium at Customs House will make you feel like you’re inside a real-life rainbow (minus the pot of gold at the end).

    Geckler creates her art using thousands of metres of hyper-colourful, translucent flagging tape — the kind you’d normally see used by surveyors on construction sites – and a highly mathematical technique that essentially produces “drawings in space”. Her installation in the atrium hovers from the ceiling — add sunlight, look up at the ceiling and the result is spectacular.

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    New Matter: Recent Forms of Photography

    New Matter is a collection of AGNSW’s most abstract and illusory photographs by Australian and international artists. Viewed together, they challenge the viewer to examine photography in a new way – as art itself, rather than a tool for representing other objects realistically. The artists’ experimentation with form forces this radical reinterpretation as it obscures what we would initially view as the ‘true’ subject of the photo.

    Some of the artists featured include Walead Beshty, whose practice emphasises not concealing his artistic process, Danica Chappell, whose abstraction arises in the darkroom, where she plays with markers of time and space, and Zoë Croggon, whose photography of bodies explores our relationship with external environments. The exhibition also includes  Jacqueline Ball, Matthew Brandt, Christopher Day, Charles Dennington, Cherine Fahd, Deb Mansfield, Todd McMillan, Luke Parker, Kate Robertson, James Tylor and Justine Varga.

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    Myuran Sukumaran: Another Day in Paradise

    Potentially one of the more important events continuing from this year’s Sydney Festival is this posthumous exhibition from Australian Myuran Sukumaran. Now a household name in this country, these works were all created during Sukumaran’s incarceration in Bali’s Kerobokan Prison.

    Curated by 2011 Archibald winner Ben Quilty and Campbelltown Arts Centre director Michael Dagostino, Another Day in Paradise displays not only Sukumaran’s work, but works by other artists specially commissioned in response to the death penalty. This exhibition brings to the fore the discussion surrounding capital punishment around the world, and opens up a dialogue regarding art, redemption and rehabilitation.

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    Tatsuo Miyajima: Connect with Everything

    Known for his immersive and dramatic tech-inspired pieces, the Japanese installation artist will bring his work to the Museum of Contemporary Art from Thursday, November 3 as part of the 2016-17 Sydney International Art Series. Tatsuo Miyajima: Connect with Everything is his first solo exhibition in Australia, and it will include all of his significant pieces as well as some video and performance works.

    Miyajima frequently uses LED lights in his art — often as numerical counters that count repeatedly from one to nine before going dark, to represent the importance of time. His use of it in his featured work Mega Death becomes a memorial to the deaths of WW2. Often interacting with the exploration of morality and the self, this will be demonstrated in other parts of the exhibition too. His installations often fill entire rooms — they are captivating, visceral experiences, as philosophically rich as they are visually breathtaking.

Published on February 07, 2017 by Concrete Playground

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