RELATIONSHIPPAL | Mitch Cairns, Susan Jacobs & Tim Silver

10 May – 8 June 2013

Mitch Cairns,  Big Summer , 2013,  oil on linen, 4 panels 91 x 76 cm each

BREENSPACE is pleased to present a collaborative group exhibition with Sydney-based artists Mitch Cairns and Tim Silver, alongside Melbourne artist Susan Jacobs. Initiated by the artists themselves, the exhibition has been developed over the last six months via conversations and emailed exchanges. The artists explore how ‘situating their disparate practices together may test the possibility for synergies or tensions to be played out.’ They also propose that the rejection of thematic boundaries ‘becomes an inherent type of framework, that might open up coincidental connections.’

The exhibition will comprise new works by each of the artists that have developed alongside these discussions. Cairns has realised a new suite of paintings, Jacobs has developed a conceptual, sculptural installation and Silver will present a collection of cast objects. Each artist has responded the conceptual thread running through their individual practices; that of disassembling or interpreting space, objects and language, and in their reconstruction, finding new perspectives and correlations.

Mitch Cairns is a painter whose bold visual language explores class, slapstick comedy, the Australian vernacular and art history. Cairns’ paintings grapple with the problem of representation, of figuration and of abstraction, in relation to studio practice. His work offers up a dynamic approach to the cyclical influence of modernism on contemporary art and artists. Cairns eloquently questions art-making itself, testing the space of the frame with abstracted but familiar forms. Cairns’ new paintings cheekily titled Convent Wall refer to the challenges inherent to translation and the interpretation/misinterpretation of text.

Tim Silver has a long-standing interest in material transformation – sculpturally and photographically articulating the passing of time. He explores ideas around authorship, history and permanence, often using materials and subjects loaded with meaning that shift through performative action before, or during their presentation. The works in RELATIONSHIPPAL frame or consider the casting process through formal exercises; the severed knob of a tree, a mutated succulent and a found rock.

Susan Jacobs uses physical materials and spaces to express conceptual and spatial concerns. Often working site-specifically, Jacobs adopts sculpture, drawing, performance and video to express a range of concerns, including physics, psychology, time and architecture. The work for the exhibition stems from the idea of bracketing, which is activated spatially through forms that embody gesture (such as the act of leverage or the sensation of slicing). Jacobs has responded to elements of the gallery’s architecture with linear steel, articulating space and considering the psychological nature of thresholds. Processes of extension and subtraction have been played out, resulting in forms which trigger material associations or incite visualisations of change or physical action.

Artist biographies

Mitch Cairns. Born 1984 Camden, NSW, lives and works in Sydney, Australia. Cairns is a painter whose practice also includes drawing & printmaking. Cairns has held solo exhibitions with KALIMANRAWLINS (2013), BREENSPACE (2012, 2010, 2008), SOCIETY, Sydney (2012). BOXCOPY, Brisbane (2012), MOP Projects, Sydney (2006, 2007, 2008) & Locksmith Project Space, Sydney (2008). Selected group exhibitions include They call them Pirates out here, curated by David Elliot, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2010); What I think of when I think about dancing, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Sydney (2009); Reality Check, curated by Daniel Mudie Cunningham, Hazelhurst Regional Art Gallery, Sutherland (2009) and Victory! Triumph!, performance with Agatha Gothe-Snape, Firstdraft Gallery, Sydney (2007). Cairns co-founded ‘The Cosmic Battle for your Heart’ an artist-run space based in Sydney (2009–11), a survey of which was exhibited in Artspace, Sydney 2011. Cairns is held in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Wollongong University, Deloitte and Artbank, Sydney.

Tim Silver. Born in Hobart, Tasmania. Lives and works in Sydney, Australia. Silver has been exhibiting photographs, sculptures and installations internationally for over a decade. Solo exhibitions include Everything in its right place, BREENSPACE (2011), The Tuvaluan Project, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne 2008, Untitled (Sleep), MOP, Sydney (2010), Rory and Coming Around Again, BREENSPACE, Sydney (2009) and Itʼs moments like these, Firstdraft, Sydney (1996 and 2006). Group exhibitions include We used to talk about love, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney (2013); Parallel Collisions, 2012 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2012); I-lands, Kuntshallen Brandts, Denmark (2009); The Tuvaluan Project, Armory Arts Week, VOLTA NY (2009); Diorama of the city: between site and space, Artspace, Sydney (2009); I Walk the Line, MCA, Sydney (2009); The independence project, Galeri Petronas, Kuala Lumpur (2007); Snap freeze: still life now, TarraWarra Museum of Art, Victoria (2007), Art, life and confusion: 47th October salon, Belgrade 2006 and Primavera, MCA, Sydney (2002). He is represented in the collections of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Museum of Contemporary Art, Australia Council, Artbank, Sydney and the University of Queensland Art Museum, Brisbane.

Susan Jacobs. Born Melbourne, lives and works, Melbourne. Jacobs completed a Bachelor of Visual Art at the University of Newcastle in 1997 and a Postgraduate Diploma of Visual Arts at the VCA, Melbourne, in 1999. She has been awarded various grants and prizes including the ANZ Visual Arts Fellowship and VCA Postgraduate Prize, selected by Jacques Derrida during an exhibition in conjunction with Derrida’s visit to the VCA, 1999; Australia Council for the Arts New Work Grant, 2008; Arts Victoria Arts Development Grant, 2009; and the ‘RIPE’ Art and Australia / Credit Suisse Contemporary Art Award, 2010. Recent projects include 7th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art Brisbane, Australia (2012); Parallel Collisions, 2012 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide (2012); New010, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (2010); Opening Lines, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne (2010); Security, Illusion, VCA Margaret Lawrence Gallery (2009); The Ecologies Project, Monash University Museum of Art (2008); Depot, Grenda’s de-commissioned bus depot, Dandenong (2008); and Side Effect, The Narrows, Melbourne (2008). She is in the collections of Monash University Art Collection, Melbourne, University of Queensland Art Collection, Brisbane; and Victorian College of the Arts Collection, Melbourne. Susan Jacobs is represented by Sarah Scout, Melbourne.