Explore Sydney Contemporary: Artwork Highlights
Advisory Perspective

Explore Sydney Contemporary:
Artwork Highlights

By Ocula Advisory | Sydney, 11 November 2021

Explore Sydney Contemporary, the digital edition of Australian art fair Sydney Contemporary, is now open and runs until 21 November 2021. Wading through over 1,700 artworks, Ocula Advisory worked with Australasian based contributors Sam Gaskin and Anna Dickie to present a selection of artwork highlights.


Rirkrit Tiravanija, untitled 2018 (its raining men, LA Times, December 2017) (2017). Enamel paint on newspaper mounted on linen. 175cm x 175cm.

Rirkrit Tiravanija, untitled 2018 (its raining men, LA Times, December 2017) (2017). Enamel paint on newspaper mounted on linen. 175cm x 175cm. Courtesy Starkwhite.

Rirkrit Tiravanija, untitled 2018 (its raining men, LA Times, December 2017) at Starkwhite

Bringing international flair to the event, Starkwhite partnered with Los Angeles gallery 1301PE, to show works by American artists Petra Cortright, Pae White and Argentinian born Thai artist Rikrit Tiravanija.

Recognised as central to what curator Nicolas Bourriaud termed relational aesthetics, Tiravanija is one of those few artists who moves seamlessly between the commercial and the institutional art world. With a diverse practice which includes a work—now in MoMA's collection—involving the serving of Thai curry, his text drawings are amongst his most collectible.

Here the words 'ITS RAINING MEN', made famous by American musical duo the Weather Girls, are painted in black enamel over pages of the Los Angeles Times from 2017. Articles focused on the Californian fires contrast starkly against the lyrics. —AD


Grace Wright, Truth and Paradise (2021). Acrylic on linen. 180cm x 130cm.

Grace Wright, Truth and Paradise (2021). Acrylic on linen. 180cm x 130cm. Courtesy the artist and Gallery 9.

Grace Wright, Truth and Paradise at Gallery 9

Truth and Paradise is a wonderful example of Tauranga-born Grace Wright's playful teasing of art history. The composition's moody chiaroscuro suggests the arrival of a Greek god or the revelation of a Christian miracle. But instead of giving us Rubens or Titian, the work implodes into a swarm of gestural squiggles that owe more to Mary Weatherford or Albert Oehlen. — SG


Daniel Boyd, Untitled (SPLDDMNDX) (2021). Oil, acrylic, charcoal and archival glue on canvas. 153 x 122 cm; 60 1/4 x 48 1/16 inches.

Daniel Boyd, Untitled (SPLDDMNDX) (2021). Oil, acrylic, charcoal and archival glue on canvas. 153 x 122 cm; 60 1/4 x 48 1/16 inches. Courtesy Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.

Daniel Boyd, Untitled (SPLDDMNDX) at Roslyn Oxley

With works in Australia's most important institutional and private collections, and represented by Sydney's Roslyn Oxley and Seoul's Kukje Gallery, Daniel Boyd is an artist of significant note. Drawing on his heritage as a Kudjla/Gangalu man from North Queensland, and a Pacific Islander, Boyd's work traces his cultural ancestry in relation to broader histories of Western art and colonialism.

Boyd often proposes an alternative approach to the images that have constructed Australia's national identity. This painting, executed in the artist's signature dot style and in charcoal, oil and archival glue, is a striking combination of black and yellow. As is often typical of Boyd, there appears to be an underlying image simmering below the surface, but in this instance it is hard to decipher. Boyd is known to code his titles, but provides little explanation.

Boyd is part of an important generation of artists weaving together different cultural perspectives to reframe history.— AD


Lucas Grogan, A LOVE STORY (2021). Wool and velvet. 110cm x 100cm.

Lucas Grogan, A LOVE STORY (2021). Wool and velvet. 110cm x 100cm. Courtesy the artist and Martin Browne Contemporary.

Lucas Grogan, A LOVE STORY at Martin Browne Contemporary

Melbourne-based artist Lucas Grogan cuts the ties between textile art and sentimentality in this bone dry depiction of love. 'From soulmates to stalemates our shitstorms & daydreams forever & ever & ever' reads the text above two skeletons whose growth and hope were commingled with grief and hurt. — SG


Guido Maestri, Vacation (2021). Oil on linen. 168cm x 138cm.

Guido Maestri, Vacation (2021). Oil on linen. 168cm x 138cm. Courtesy Yavuz Gallery.

Guido Maestri, Vacation at Yavuz Gallery

Painted plein air, Guido Maestri's highly textural, expressive work showing with Yavuz Gallery, continues the trajectory of Australia's rich history of landscape painting.

In 2009, Maestri won the Archibald, one of Australia's most prestigious art prizes. Most recently he was a finalist for the Wynne Prize, which is awarded by the Art Gallery of New South Wales to the best landscape painting of Australia's vast scenery.

Currently Maestri's work can be seen in the newly opened Mudgee Arts Precinct, which is showing landscape paintings by the artist, who was born in the small Australian town. The exhibition explores the artist's childhood memories', the landscape he grew up in, alongside recollections from the children's book The Bunyip of Berkeley's Creek. —AD


Dale Frank, Philip and Joel and sometimes Jordon (2021). Interference colour pigment in Epoxyglass, on Perspex. 200cm x 200cm.

Dale Frank, Philip and Joel and sometimes Jordon (2021). Interference colour pigment in Epoxyglass, on Perspex. 200cm x 200cm. Courtesy the artist and Roslyn Oxley.

Dale Frank, Philip and Joel and sometimes Jordon at Roslyn Oxley

Born in Singleton, New South Wales in 1959, Dale Frank uses colour pigments in epoxy to create mesmerising biomorphic images suggestive of other dimensions—as vast as nebulae or as small as bacteria. Like many of Frank's works, the title is a fragment of speech whose meaning is known only to the artist, a deliberate strategy to subvert efforts to impose meaning. —SG

Main image: Daniel Boyd, Untitled (SPLDDMNDX) (2021) (detail). Oil, acrylic, charcoal and archival glue on canvas. 153 x 122 cm; 60 1/4 x 48 1/16 inches. Courtesy Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery.

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