Art & Architecture
Artist Profile

Artist Profile Issue 48

Artist Profile is a leading quarterly journal taking its readers into the studios and minds of contemporary artists across Australasia and beyond. Industry professionals engage leading practitioners and emerging talent in conversations about their art, in their own words, while our exclusive photo shoots provide intimate access into artists’ personal and working lives. Readers gain knowledge of artists’ methods, preview works in progress and discover the life experiences that ignite artistic imaginations.

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4 Issues

in this issue

3 min.

Artist Profile Team Publisher JOHN FEITELSON Editor KON GOURIOTIS OAM Art Director KIM GREGORY Deputy Editor ELLI WALSH Principal Writer JOHN MCDONALD International Arts Writer LUCY STRANGER Intern ERIN MCFADYEN Sub-editor JAMIE MCILWRAITH National Advertising Manager JILL TROCHEI Cover Image Guo Jian photograph by Sydney-based photographer GARY HEERY Story page 62 Stories and Photos TAI MITSUJI is a Sydney-based arts writer KEVIN WILSON is a Brisbane-based writer and a curator at Artisan SOO-MIN SHIM is a Sydney-based arts writer with a particular focus on Asian art EMMA-KATE WILSON is a Sydney-based arts writer and critic ELSPETH PITT is curator of Australian painting and sculpture, at the National Gallery of Australia; elspethpitt.com JAN SENBERGS is a painter and printmaker EUGENE YIU NAM CHEUNG is a Sydney-based art critic ELEANOR ZEICHNER is assistant curator at UTS Sydney TARA CALLAGHAN is gallery and museum manager at Broken Hill City Council NUR SHKEMBI is a Melbournebased curator, writer and PhD scholar; nurshkembi.com KIRSTY BAKER is…

2 min.
editor’s note

There is a lot to experience in and beyond the pages of issue 48 of Artist Profile. To begin with, we are delighted to be a major partner of this year’s Sydney Contemporary – Australia’s largest art fair. This partnership is our newest initiative in support of ‘the artists behind the art’. We are showing this issue’s cover artist, Guo Jian, at the fair in ‘Living the Dream’, curated by Lauren Harvey and Campbell Robertson-Swann. These new paintings engage with traditional Song dynasty landscapes to interrogate the relationship between the disposability of celebrity and the destruction of minority cultures in China. Some of the paintings selected for the exhibition are featured in this issue. Alongside Guo Jian’s project, the magazine’s forty-eight editions will be displayed, highlighting the hundreds of artists, writers and…

6 min.
a blur of colour, good music and bad art history

Ever since John Adams gave us Nixon in China in 1987, the possibilities for opera have been limitless. Unlike the Greek tragedians who were obliged to set every play in a mythical age of Gods and heroes, contemporary composers have drawn subjects from the news cycle, and from the tawdry lives of latter-day celebrities. Elena Kats-Chernin’s Whiteley was never going to be Greek tragedy. The closest parallel might be Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Anna Nicole (2011), about a celebrity stripper who was never out of the tabloids. Brett Whiteley (1939–92), despite his reputation as an important Australian artist, was another tabloid favourite. The classic operas are often simple melodramas with a clear, unmistakable storyline. Madam Butterfly’s fate is spelled out in the first Act, as Pinkerton reveals his frivolous attitude to the marriage. From…

5 min.
india mark

There’s so much happening in your paintings, but at the same time your style is very minimal – the colours are washed out, the lines simple and clean. Is that a conscious choice, does it come from somewhere? Yes totally. I’m aware that my work is pretty, sort of, minimalist. The process of painting for me is like a process of elimination. Compositionally I prefer my artworks to be quite sparse. I always end up painting over objects to make way for more open space. Is there a significance to your objects? They started out being significant; I was really interested in the symbolism of feminism through the representation of domesticity. However, since then it’s become more about painting those objects because of their aesthetic quality, transforming into more of a compositional tactic.…

7 min.
abdul abdullah

How you would describe what you do? I see my role as an artist in a similar way to a journalist, where I am communicating an idea, but without being burdened with any objectivity. I can be as reactive and responsive and emotional as I like. I work primarily with painting, but I work with pretty much anything I can put my hands on. What things make you want to be reactive, responsive and emotional? One of the main things that I want to do is encourage my audience to afford the specificity and complexity to others that they afford themselves. And if they can do that then we are on to living together in a better way. I am looking specifically at the experience of marginalised groups and minorities, and power dynamics. How…

8 min.
guo jian rubbish culture

In the wee hours of 1 June 2014, the Chinese police banged on the door of Guo Jian’s studio in the Beijing suburbs. The artist wasn’t surprised to see them. It wasn’t their first visit. But the Financial Times of London had just published an interview that included a photograph of his latest artwork, The Meat (2014), which commemorated the events of 3-4 June 1989, when the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) turned its guns on supporters of the pro-democracy student movement. Guo Jian had been one of those students. In 2014, the students’ goals were as far from being realised as ever. Still, it was fairly easy to live in China as an artist – so long as you kept your mouth shut about subjects such Tiananmen Square. As the twenty-fifth…