Rare art works from Curtin University collection presented in ASSEMBLAGE exhibtion at John Curtin Gallery


Janis Nedela, No. 3 Touch of Class from the series Rose Portraits, 1995-2004, collages and mixed media on black and white photographs, 50 x 40 cm. Photographer Martin Farquharson. Gift of David Forrest through the Cultural Gifts Program 2005.
Janis Nedela, No. 3 Touch of Class from the series Rose Portraits, 1995-2004, collages and mixed media on black and white photographs, 50 x 40 cm. Photographer Martin Farquharson. Gift of David Forrest through the Cultural Gifts Program 2005.

THE John Curtin Gallery presents a series of art works from the Curtin University Art Collection rarely seen in public.

ASSEMBLAGE showcases a selection of paintings, drawings, collage, mixed media and sculptural works which are linked by a use of found or appropriated materials and an experimental and playful approach to art-making.

Some of the works in the exhibition are so fragile, complex or ephemeral they have not been exhibited since they were acquired and a number of pieces have recently been restored.

Artists represented in the exhibition include Robert Klippel, Colin Lanceley, Janet Laurence, Janis Nedela, Bruce Slatter, Helen Smith, Howard Taylor and Aida Tomescu.

Curator Lia McKnight said the art form of assemblage was initiated by major artists in the early 20th century and has its roots in cubist collage and connections to art movements including Dada, Surrealism, Futurism, Pop-art, Fluxus and Arte Povera.

“In its day, ‘assemblage’ was considered ground-breaking and progressive. For contemporary art audiences, assemblage art continues to be a dynamic and inspiring art form,” said Ms McKnight.

“William C Seitz, Curator of the seminal 1961 exhibition, The Art of Assemblage (New York Museum of Modern Art) described assemblage as being made up of both natural and salvaged or recycled media that were not traditionally used as art materials.

“For Seitz, the interplay between elements (both created and borrowed) functions much like a poet’s use of metaphor in the creation of new meaning.”

John Curtin Gallery director Chris Malcolm said he was delighted to be presenting a selection of significant works from the Curtin University Art Collection.

“Comprising over 40 objects, this exhibition enables us to show some extraordinary examples of ‘assemblage’ works by respected artists from our own collection. It is exciting for us to be able to share these rarely seen works with art audiences through this wonderful exhibition” said Mr Malcolm.

ASSEMBLAGE runs June 20 -August 21.