After attracting 286,631 visitors to its inaugural event in 2017, The National: New Australian Art — an epic contemporary Australian art exhibition held across three major Sydney galleries — is back. Due to open in late March 2019, the program will feature works from 65 emerging, mid-career and established artists at the Art Gallery of NSW, the MCA and Carriageworks.
Taking care of the AGNSW's offering is Isobel Parker Philip, Curator of Photographs. "States of suspense and anticipation characterise the exhibition at AGNSW, as 24 artists navigate the boundary between chaos and control in work that is by turns political, poetic and personal," Philip said of the exhibition.
Look out for Victorian artist Mira Gojak's sculpture Stops, which brings together steel rods and sky blue acrylic yarn, as well as Rushdi Anwar's Irhal (expel), hope and the sorrow of displacement, 2013–ongoing, which combines burnt wooden chairs, black pigment, charcoal and ash.
At the MCA, you'll find works by 21 artists from cities, regional areas and remote communities, co-curated by Clothilde Bullen, MCA Curator of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Collections and Exhibitions, and Anna Davis, MCA Curator. "We have selected a diverse group of artists whose practices reflect urgent contemporary concerns," they said in a combined statement. "Many pose questions around hierarchies of power and the ways in which different groups are represented, while other artists create new rituals and experiment with improvisational processes."
Among these are The Australian Ugliness (2018) by Melbourne's Eugenia Lim — which exhibited in Melbourne earlier this year as part of Open House — a multi-channel video installation exploring our national aesthetic; and Mumu Mike Williams' Kulilaya munuya nitiriwa (Listen and learn from us) (2017), a painting on canvas mail bag, with wood, kangaroo tendon and resin.
Meanwhile Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Senior Curator of Visual Arts, has determined the 19-strong program at Carriageworks. "The National 2019 at Carriageworks presents newly commissioned works that map memory and place-making, where the work of art is a form of emotional tourism," he said. "Exploring the boundaries of truth and fiction, the selected artists reflect on the individual's place in an uncertain and ever-shifting world."
Tasmanian duo Mish Meijers and Tricky Walsh will be bringing The Crocker Land Expedition, an installation made up of timber, found objects, parachute, plastic and light, while Troy-Anthony Baylis, an Aboriginal artist of the Jawoyn nation, will be continuing (re)presentations of "notions of drag (cultural and gender), landscape and home".
The National 2019: New Australian Art will run at AGNSW from 29 March–21 July 2019, and at Carriageworks and the MCA from 29 March–23 June 2019. Entry is free.
Images: Melanie Jame Wolf, HIGHNESS (2017), photo by Bryony Jackson; Nat Thomas, Man cleaning up (2017); Abdul-Rahman Abdullah, The Dogs (2017), photo by Tom Ross; Mark Shorter, Schleimgurgeln (2011); Eugenia Lim, The Australian Ugliness (2018), photo by Tom Ross.