Current Exhibition

Julie Shiels: Ubiquitous Objects, Ambivalent Things

The ambivalent things in this exhibition emerge from ubiquitous objects: clear plastic packages or blister packs. Rather than working with trash as constituent materials, this project focuses on the space left behind by the act of consumption, abstracting and reproducing the void in discarded packaging. While the artwork remains linked to the original commodity via indexical processes of casting, imprinting and cameraless photography, it is simultaneously abstracted and distanced. This installation of photograms and sculptures stretches contemporary art strategies for transforming art made from waste. It reflects on the how remnants of consumption can be apprehended beyond the status of the commodity and endeavours to navigate around ‘aesthetic fatigue' - a visual overload of images relating to waste (Scanlan 2013). The project uses the 'ready made' mould of the plastic package to visualise the space of consumption, inviting poetic reflections on the temporality, materiality and mutability of waste. Julie Shiels would like to thank Melbourne University’s Stella Mary Langford Foundation for providing the scholarship to support this PhD. This exhibition comprises part of the VCA School of Art 2015 PhD Program.

Image: Julie Shiels, Hook (underside), Acrylic, 2015

The Margaret Lawrence Gallery is a contemporary art space located in the heart of Melbourne’s arts precinct. It was established in 2001 to provide crucial links between the VCA School of Art and the University of Melbourne (with its community of academics, artists and students), the wider communities of Victoria and on a national platform.The gallery performs an integral and generative function within the VCA artistic community and is a showcase for new work, playing an educational role for the Victorian and Australian community.

The gallery offers established practitioners an opportunity to create new work in a supported and critically engaged environment. It also encourages meaningful connections and exchanges between professional artists, academics, students and the wider public.

The program focuses on new work by local, national and international artists. Exhibitions are presented in an environment that fosters critical discussion, as well as an understanding and promotion of visual art and its broader social contexts, with accompanying forums, artist and curator talks, residencies and public lectures. The exhibition program has a strong emphasis on research, developed by directly responding to exhibition proposals, and by inviting artists, curators or groups whose work or research is of particular contemporary relevance to devise a project for the space.

The program is determined 12 to 18 months in advance to allow a reasonable period of exhibition development in discussion with gallery staff. Application proposals may be submitted to the Director at any time.

The gallery is also responsible for the care and management of the VCA Art Collection, which spans the history of the College and its predecessor, the National Gallery School of Art and the Margaret Lawrence Australian Ceramic Collection.

The Margaret Lawrence Gallery is generously supported by the Margaret Lawrence Bequest.

Director: Vikki McInnes
Gallery and Collection Coordinator: Scott Miles

To view previous Margaret Lawrence Gallery exhibitions visit our Flickr archive.