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Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds Ocula Conversation Jess Johnson: Worlds Within Worlds

Geometric patterns, anthropomorphic characters, architectural spatial environments, and relics of the ancient world appear throughout Jess Johnson's artworks.Johnson's solo art-ventures began in drawing, but her long-term collaborative relationship with animator Simon Ward brings her drawings to life in videos and virtual reality. The animator has...

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Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger Ocula Conversation Melati Suryodarmo: Performance Art as Trigger

In 2012, Melati Suryodarmo opened Studio Plesungan in her native Surakarta, also known as Solo, the historic royal capital of the Mataram Empire of Java in Indonesia. Suryodarmo had returned to Indonesia from Germany, where she studied Butoh and choreography with Butoh dancer and choreographer Anzu Furukawa, time-based media with avantgarde...

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Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City Ocula Report Lagos Biennial 2019: Stories from Africa’s most Populous City 15 Nov 2019 : Jareh Das for Ocula

Under the direction of Folakunle Oshun, the second edition of the Lagos Biennial (26 October–23 November 2019) includes works by over 40 Lagos-based and international artists, architects, and collectives. Curated by architect Tosin Oshinowo, curator and producer Oyindamola Fakeye, and assistant curator of photography at the Art Institute of...

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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough Ocula Insight | Video
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Hans Hartung and Art Informel: Exhibition Walkthrough 15 October 2019

Hans Hartung and Art Informel at Mazzoleni London (1 October 2019-18 January 2020) presents key works by the French-German painter while highlighting his connection with artists active in Paris during the 50s and 60s. In this video, writer and historian Alan Montgomery discusses Hartung's practice and its legacy.Born in Leipzig in 1904, Hans...

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Patricia Piccinini

b. 1965, Australia

Patricia Piccinini is an Australian artist famous for her hyper-realistic sculptures depicting hybrids between human beings and animals. Rendered with fibreglass, silicone, and sometimes hair, these hybrids are startling and alien at first, yet with a touch of tenderness and humour that inhabits them, the artist explores relationships and neutralises difference.

Piccinini elaborated her concern with relational dynamics in a 2018 interview with Ocula Magazine as a concern with the 'Relationships between beings, relationships within families and relationships between species, but also the boundary between the artificial and the natural.' Many of her creatures appear in groups, portraying familial relations. Examples include babies suckling from their mother's teat in The Young Family (2002) or an aged bonobo-like couple embracing in Sanctuary (2018). Even when they are physically alone, however, Piccinini's creations are never psychologically isolated, forging a relationship with the audience by compelling them to contemplate their own social differences and similarities.

This long-standing interest in relationships is apparent in Piccinini's early works, which drew their inspiration from scientific—particularly genetic—experiments of the day. In the photographic series Protein Lattice (1997), for example, young models pose alongside mice with what resembles a human ear on their backs. The hybrid animal—computer-generated in the images—is derived from the Vacanti mouse, named after the American researcher who famously grew ear-shaped cartilage on it in 1995. The artist's images show the women and mice close together, unperturbed by each other's presence, suggesting that, with the advancement of technology, humans and non-human beings are no longer as distant as previously considered.

Piccinini began her sculpture career in the late 1990s by creating machine-like forms that examine the naturalisation of technology in the contemporary world. Truck Babies (1999) is a pair of pink and blue transporting vehicles made from fibreglass and automotive paint with large lights and high rotund back ends. The work manifests the artist's vision of the offspring of trucks that she saw during a road trip in the United States. Another sculptural work, The Lovers (2011), shows two scooters leaning against each other, their forms made softer to suggest those of animals tenderly nuzzling. When speaking to Victoria Lynn for Ocula Magazine in collaboration with Tarrawarra Museum of Art, the artist said of the work that 'we see machines imagined as wild—rather than domesticated animals—and this suggests an anxiety about technology escaping our control.'

In her Melbourne studio, Piccinini works with a team of experts to actualise her drawings. The breadth of processes they employ range from traditional hand-sculpting to 3D printing, while the artist's practice encompasses photography, sculpture, diorama, and large-scale installation. In 2013, she broadened her media to include hot-air balloons with Skywhale, a massive hot-air balloon of a turtle-cetacean with 10 teats, commissioned by the city of Canberra for its centenary.

Born in Sierra Leone and raised in Australia, Piccinini first attained a BA in Economic History at the Australian National University in 1988, and later a BA in Painting at the Victorian College of the Arts in 1991. Since then, the artist has exhibited internationally many times. Her solo presentations include Restropectology at the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, in 2002; We are Family, with which she represented Australia at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003; Curious Affection at the Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, in 2018; and Curious Imaginings at the 2018 Vancouver Biennale, for which she used 18 rooms on the first floor of the Patricia Hotel—a local establishment—to house her hybrid creatures.

Biography by Ocula | 2019
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Featured Artworks

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Heartwood by Patricia Piccinini contemporary artwork
Patricia PiccininiHeartwood, 2018 Silicone, fibreglass, leather, automative paint, hair, wedge-tailed eagle, motorcycle boots
230 x 140 x 120 cm
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
Swell by Patricia Piccinini contemporary artwork
Patricia PiccininiSwell, 2002 3 channel video installation
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
The Couple by Patricia Piccinini contemporary artwork
Patricia PiccininiThe Couple, 2018 Silicone, fibreglass, hair, cotton
42 x 168 x 65 cm
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
The Smell of Rain by Patricia Piccinini contemporary artwork
Patricia PiccininiThe Smell of Rain, 2017 ABS plastic and automotive paint
150 x 200 cm
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
Cloudless Field by Patricia Piccinini contemporary artwork
Patricia PiccininiCloudless Field, 2017 ABS plastic and automotive paint
150 x 200 cm
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
Jupiter by Patricia Piccinini contemporary artwork
Patricia PiccininiJupiter, 2017 ABS plastic and automotive paint
150 x 200 cm
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
Rising to the Surface by Patricia Piccinini contemporary artwork
Patricia PiccininiRising to the Surface, 2017 ABS plastic and automotive paint
150 x 200 cm
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery
The Dawn by Patricia Piccinini contemporary artwork
Patricia PiccininiThe Dawn, 2017 ABS plastic and automotive paint
150 x 200 cm
Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery

Current & Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Patricia Piccinini, Chromatic Balance at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
Open Now
16 November–14 December 2019 Patricia Piccinini Chromatic Balance Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
Contemporary art exhibition, Patricia Piccinini, The Struggle and the Dawn at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Closed
28 August–30 September 2017 Patricia Piccinini The Struggle and the Dawn Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney
Contemporary art exhibition, Group Exhibition, @50 Part 2 at Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne
Closed
28 July–12 August 2017 Group Exhibition @50 Part 2 Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne

Represented By

In Ocula Magazine

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Auckland Art Fair 2019: Conversations Extended Ocula Report Auckland Art Fair 2019: Conversations Extended 24 May 2019 : Sherry Paik for Ocula

The weather was clement for the annual Auckland Art Fair (2–5 May 2019), which was again at The Cloud on Queens Wharf. This year's edition was a get-together of 41 galleries, mostly from around Auckland and across New Zealand, with 5 spaces hailing from Sydney and the rest from Cook Islands (Bergman Gallery), Hobart (Michael Bugelli Gallery),...

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Patricia Piccinini & Victoria Lynn Ocula Conversation
In collaboration with TarraWarra Museum of Art
Patricia Piccinini & Victoria Lynn

Patricia Piccinini & Joy Hester: Through love ... at TarraWarra Museum of Art (24 November 2018–11 March 2019) is an exhibition that reveals shared explorations of love, intimacy, and relationships in the work of two of Australia's leading artists. This is the first exhibition to explore the conceptual links between the works of Patricia...

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Patricia Piccinini Ocula Conversation Patricia Piccinini Artist

On the occasion of Patricia Piccinini's multisensory and epic retrospective, Curious Affection at Brisbane's Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA, 24 March–5 August 2018), this interview covers Piccinini's meticulous and collaborative studio practice, and the role of narrative in her work. Curated by Peter McKay, the exhibition occupies the ground floor and...

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Clinton Ng Ocula Conversation Clinton Ng Collector, Sydney

Sydney based collector, Clinton Ng, has built a substantial collection of leading contemporary art in just over ten years. His collection now includes works by over 150 artists, including Ahmed Alsoudani, Olafur Eliasson, Adrian Ghenie, Vik Muniz, Alex Prager, Simon Denny, William Kentridge, Adrián Villar Rojas, Shaun Gladwell, Thomas Hirschhorn...

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In Related Press

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Meet the Melbourne artist known for her life-like sculptures Related Press Meet the Melbourne artist known for her life-like sculptures The Sydney Morning Herald : 4 June 2019

Local Melbourne artist Patricia Piccinini is best known for her lifelike sculptures of almost-human beings. She evokes fantasy worlds that are so close to being real that they make us question what it means to be human in the world today. She takes some of her inspiration from the great outdoors.

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Patricia Piccinini and Joy Hester: Through Love… Related Press Patricia Piccinini and Joy Hester: Through Love… art guide Australia : 11 January 2019

In the 1980 historical drama, The Elephant Man, the titular character John Merrick is chased by a mob into a railway station toilet. Finding himself trapped by the baying crowd, Merrick screams, "I am not an animal! I am not an animal! I am a human being!" While the real Joseph (not John) Merrick who lived in Victorian London was a man...

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Intimate and Grotesque: Patricia Piccinini's Hyper-Real Sculptures of Imaginary Life Forms Related Press Intimate and Grotesque: Patricia Piccinini's Hyper-Real Sculptures of Imaginary Life Forms Broadsheet : 26 November 2018

It's six o'clock in the morning and I'm in a hot air balloon high above the Yarra Valley to get a glimpse of the Skywhale. She floats majestically in the morning sky, all 10 breasts hanging pendulously. It's very rare to see her in flight, and even now we can't get that close. At 34 metres tall she's pretty hard to miss. She's also unwieldy and far...

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Patricia Piccinini and Joy Hester united by love Related Press Patricia Piccinini and Joy Hester united by love Australian Financial Review : 23 November 2018

The word "love" covers a multitude of feelings that span everything from sexual desire to a connection with the environment. The works by two women artists at Victoria's TarraWarra Museum of Art show how much richer our visual vocabulary is when it comes to capturing the nuances of our emotions.

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In Video & Audio

Patricia Piccinini & Joy Hester: Through love … Related Video & Audio Patricia Piccinini & Joy Hester: Through love … TarraWarra Museum of Art : 22 November 2018

Patricia Piccinini, one of Australia's most internationally recognised contemporary artists and Joy Hester (1920-60), the pivotal female artist of Melbourne's 'Heide circle' and one of Australia's most celebrated modernists, are presented together in the world first exhibition.Patricia Piccinini and Victoria Lynn, Director of the TarraWarra Museum...

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