Past Exhibitions



Year 12 Perspectives 2016
28 January – 2 April 2017

Celebrating 25 Years of the Perspectives exhibition.

Year 12 Perspectives showcases work by some of the best, brightest and most talented graduating high school artists in WA, and is a barometer of what our youth are thinking and feeling.

In 2017, the Year 12 Perspectives exhibition celebrates its 25th year and the show will also highlight alumni who have become professional practitioners in the visual arts, including video interviews with previous finalists across the years.

WA Focus – Helen Grey-Smith

10 December 2016 – 19 March 2017

Helen Grey-Smith had a long career in Western Australia as a textile designer, painter and maker of collages. Ceaselessly inspired by the physical world around her, Grey-Smith’s subject matter reflected her deep
engagement with the landscape and flora of WA, and her fascination with the Asian culture of our region.

On display are textiles including full-length curtains, Grey-Smith's design for a Perth scarf detailing iconic landmarks, and fabric samples – as well as later works. Presented alongside a number of design objects from WA artists of the same period, the exhibition provides an insight into domestic interiors of the era and an overview of Helen Grey-Smith's practice.

Craft & Design Gallery – Resonant objects
2 July 2016 13 March 2017

Showcasing works across a range of mediums, this newly introduced space allows for AGWA to express the many ways that craft and design practitioners use their materials to engage with the world.

With works drawn from historical, modern and contemporary areas of the Collection, this space provides a place to learn more about the significance of the handmade and the material world.

Its focus is contemporary and features works from Western Australian, Australian and international makers. Included from WA are glass makers David Hay, Kevin Gordon and Jamie Worsley, ceramicists Bela Kotai, Pip Drysdale and the late Beverly Gallop and jeweller Helen Britton with textile artist Justine McKnight.

Rise Sounds Gallery – Mei Saraswati

19 May 2016 – 27 February 2017

Swamp Gospel is a new sound work by Mei Saraswati. Created with the research expertise of wetland ecologist Jacqueline Giles, the work features Giles' recordings of long-necked turtle calls and sounds of underwater invertebrates.

Swamp Gospel is an ode to the former wetland and lake site on which the Art Gallery is situated. Audiences will sonically travel either up or down the water column in AGWA's new vertical sound gallery, immersed in melodic collaboration between species and the orchestral noise of biological activity.

Screen Space – Christian Thompson's HEAT

12 November 2016 – 26 February 2017

HEAT is a captivating work and a personal recollection of contemporary Bidjara artist Christian Thompson, visiting the harsh Australian desert landscape with his father.

Continental Shift

30 July 2016 5 February 2017

Landmark partnership between WA and the US

19th-century landscapes by Australian and American artists re-examined

An exciting partnership between the Art Gallery of WA, Chicago-based Terra Foundation for American Art and the University of Western Australia sees fifteen American landscape paintings shown in the context of their Australian counterparts.

"Unknown Land"

Mapping and Imagining Western Australia

17 September 2016 – 30 January 2017

Experience WA through the eyes of the first European explorers and colonists.

The first European explorers and colonists viewed Western Australia and its spectacular coast as an “unknown land”.

Of course, it was no such thing – Aboriginal people had owned the land for thousands of years and were quickly in conflict with the imperialists.

Whatever their motives – colonist, invader, explorer, settler, adventurer – the Europeans were awestruck by the land we now call Western Australia – and the opportunities it presented. This exhibition of the earliest watercolours, paintings and drawings of WA superbly captures images of iconic locations still familiar, but now mostly transformed. These European artists were the first of many generations to be inspired by the landscape of WA.

Portrait Month and Portrait Project

October 2016 30 January 2017

Portraits commemorate, transform, reflect, iconise and sometimes distort their subject in endlessly fascinating variety.

In an exciting new initiative for 2016, AGWA introduces Portrait Month where we explore the many forms of portraiture across photography, painting, video and sculpture. Taking centre focus is the State’s premier portraiture prize, the 2016 Black Swan Prize for Portraiture which features alongside AGWA’s own Portrait Project.

Micro Galleries – Sky & Garden

19 May 2016 – 23 January 2017

AGWA is celebrating the opening of two new display spaces, Garden and Sky. These Micro Galleries will launch with large works – accompanied by smaller works – from the Wesfarmers Arts Collection following the idea of ‘large works in small spaces’. The contrast between the giant works and the dimensions of the Micro Galleries creates an exciting dynamic.

The new spaces are intended to offer the opportunity to create unique artistic conversations. As such, the first display begins with a conversation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal artists across the two galleries.

Dissenting Voices

20 August 2016 – 8 January 2017

Dissenting Voices is an exhibition concerned with how artists respond to social issues, cultural concerns and political events. Their art also provides poignant commentary on the human condition.

Selected from historical, Indigenous and contemporary artworks in the State Art Collection, the works in the show explore themes of socio-political engagement, personal and national identity politics and resistance to acts of authoritarian control and aggression.

Many of the works, including installation, photography, sculpture, video and painting, are being shown for the first time together, along side a few new acquisitions, such as those by Raquel Ormella and Marco Fusinato.

These artists’ works will offer insights to viewers about the nature of political art, its varied purpose and potential meaning, from dissent and disturbance to contestation and condemnation.






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