New exhibitions explore tragedy, transience

Natalie Croxon writing for the Bendigo Advertiser, on two new exhibitions at La Trobe Art Institute exploring gun violence, and remembrance, movement and balance.

This article originally appeared in the Bendigo Advertiser on 10 May 2017, by Natalie Croxon.

TWO very different concepts have informed the exhibitions of two artists that have opened at the La Trobe Art Institute this week.

Bendigo’s Denis Chapman has honoured the lives lost and the bravery of those who tried to save others during three acts of gun violence in the US – the Orlando nightclub shooting, the Sandy Hook school massacre and the Virginia Tech shooting – for his exhibition In Memoriam.

The three installations comprise of bottles on a plinth, knitted animals, and keys on a door: respectively, a representation of spirits, the innocence of childhood, and the quest for knowledge, as well as protection professors at Virginia Tech offered to students as the tragedy unfolded.

“All my things are drawn from everyday objects, because I’m trying to honour everyday, normal people,” Mr Chapman said.

The piece created in response to the nightclub shooting was also a tribute to the resilience of same-sex and gender-diverse communities, he said, and their strength in the face of ongoing bigotry.

He said his exhibition was about the people affected by these events, but it should make people feel stronger about the need for gun laws.

In his exhibition Geometric Beings, Malmsbury artist George Lianos has explored geometric shapes and their relationship to one another through fabricated steel sculptures that play with balance, movement, stability and transience.

Mr Lianos said each work, with its individual shape, had developed a sense of personality, and the way they were configured made them seem ephemeral, despite their solid makings.

“I’ve used fabricated steel because of its strength and its presence… it seems enduring and strong,” Mr Lianos said.

“And then I tried to make delicate shapes with this very, very strong material… So each of the sculptures has a feeling of delicate balance, of dynamic balance, there’s movement, and each particular one develops a character or a personality of its own.”

Mr Chapman and Mr Lianos will discuss their work with the La Trobe Art Institute’s senior curator Dr Kent Wilson at an in-conversation event later this month.

The free event, open to the community, will be held at the La Trobe Art Institute on View Street at 5.30pm on May 24.

  • Read the article in the Bendigo Advertiser here.

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