On Friday 8 November New England Regional Art Museum will have its last major opening event for the year as it launches three new exhibitions, giving audiences a variety of newly installed artworks to explore.
Experimenta Makes Sense: International Triennial of Media Art expresses the disconcerting and delightful world of the digital age. Both playful and thought provoking, this exhibition asks audiences to immerse their senses into a ‘thinking’, ‘feeling’ and ‘doing’ contemplation of what it is to be human in an age of technological acceleration.
The exhibition investigates how artists ‘make sense’ of our world and invites us to explore our understanding of the present. In a time of accelerating technological changes to our society and culture, Experimenta Make Sense investigates our extreme present. The term ‘extreme present’ was recently coined to capture the impact of accelerating technological change on society and culture: a time where it feels impossible to maintain pace with the present, let alone the future.
Biologist E.O. Wilson believes ‘the real problem of humanity is the following: we have Paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology.’ Curated by Jonathan Parsons and Lubi Thomas, Experimenta Make Sense features over 20 leading international and Australian artists who engage directly with this conundrum.
Also opening is From Town to Gown: Academic portraits and the artists who painted them, a collaboration between the University of New England and NERAM. Eight academic portraits were selected from UNE’s collection and will be on display, accompanied by works by the same artists from NERAM’s collections.
Ever since it was founded, UNE has commissioned some of the country’s leading artists of the day to celebrate its leaders through painting their portraits,” said Professor Brigid Heywood, Vice-Chancellor and CEO. “These pictures of past Vice-Chancellors and Chancellors are an important historical and artistic record of the leadership of the first regional university in Australia.”
“These portraits form an important element of the UNE Collections which include artistic, cultural, historic and scientific materials that are used for research and educational purposes and we see this exhibition as a wonderful opportunity to share them with our local community and other visitors at NERAM.”
From Town to Gown will look at the process of acquiring these paintings and reveal some of the stories behind the portraits. “Usually these portraits hang on the walls of Booloominbah and university colleges so this will be a great opportunity for our wider community to see some of the esteemed contributors to UNE and New England” said Rachael Parsons, NERAM Director.
“There’s an unusual mix of traditional portraits by artists such as Norman Carter alongside more quirky and contemporary depictions like the portrait by Christopher Hodges” adds Belinda Hungerford, NERAM curator. “It’s interesting to position these portraits next to other works by the same artist and get a sense of what the subject was basing their decision on when selecting an artist to paint their portrait.”
The third exhibition is by previous Armidale resident and artist Jonathon Larsen. In Luminous Land, Larsen demonstrates his consummate skill as a printmaker to employ a deceivingly simplified black and white palette in his linocuts. After long avoiding the landscape genre, Larsen has created a suite of works inspired by the many decades he has spent driving backwards and forwards across parts of Australia. The places depicted – Armidale, Alice Springs, Forbes, Noosa, Hill End, Forbes, Montville and Daylesford amongst others – glow with an intensity and are imbued with a sense of otherworldliness.
The three exhibitions will open on Friday 8 November and be on display until the end of January 2020. On Saturday 9 November at 10.30am there will be a Curator’s tour of Experimenta Make Sense by co-curator Lubi Thomas, followed by an artist talk by Jonathon Larsen about his work in Luminous Land. Jonathon will also lead a linocut workshop on Sunday 10 November.