This group exhibition brings together work from the 1980s and 90s by six conceptual artists working through photography, sculpture and mixed media.
All six of the artists approach conceptualism with a cool, intellectual reserve. Each has their own voice, subjectivity and narrative concerns, and yet there is a shared multidisciplinary nature that unites them. The artists, both individually and combined, are strong exemplars of a number of contemporary concepts in art. Through their work we engage notions of Appropriation, Collective History, Identity Politics, Conceptual Narrative, Modes of Display, Ethnic History, and Mass Media perspicacity.
Annette Lemieux is perhaps the most interdisciplinary of them all. Over the years she has worked in or combined sculpture, photography, installation, painting, appropriation and text. Whatever the format, her carefully balanced images and assemblages tend to look past individual histories and objects in order to arrive at a more fundamental rumination of life and death.
Lorna Simpson bases her work on both found and created photographic imagery. Cryptic interpretations of history and identity, in terms of both her race and gender lead to an almost poetic understanding of the politics and personal iconographies that underlay both.
Cindy Sherman has long been known as one of the progenitors of the Pictures Generation of artists. Her conceptual photographic “self portrait” scenes explore and question accepted female roles, cultural perceptions of race and gender, and, in the period covered here, a corruption of the male gaze.
Annette Messager often creates installation-based collections of photographs, found objects, etc. Often presented as bulk of photograph details, these works cooly consider not only gender roles but assumptions of the body, object symbiotics, voyeurism and intellectual eroticism.
Louise Lawler has adopted an objective stance, and investigates the assumptions underlying art itself and even the validity of the art world as a whole. Through photographs and sculpture, she deconstructs art’s attempts to categorize, isolate, manipulate and control us all.
Kiki Smith also has a very multidisciplinary practice. She has worked in sculpture, photography, printmaking, and installation. Her focus often turns inward, and at times uses her own body as source or subject. This allows her to intimately investigate ideas of the body, personal mythology and our place in nature.