Playing on the desire to have a closer encounter with precious collection objects which cannot be touched for conservation reasons, The Ian Potter Museum of Art presents Closer – a newly commissioned exhibition by acclaimed Melbourne artist Meredith Turnbull.
Exploring connections between visual art, craft and design through a response to decorative art objects from the University of Melbourne Art Collection, the artist has selected a rich array of objects ranging from antiquity through to the current day.
Turnbull presents them alongside her own artworks in an immersive environment that includes wall paintings and custom designed furniture. Objects chosen by the artist include delicately etched glassware, ornately detailed paperweights, roughly shaped ceramic vessels, finely glazed porcelain, and modernist fine art jewellery.
“I have responded to the formal and material qualities of individual artworks,” said Turnbull. “These are special objects with personalities or visceral qualities that we can feel just by slowing down and looking more closely – for example, a ceramic pot with a surface that looks like folds of fabric or water rushing over rock; and a tiny glass sculpture in the shape of an animal that has the liveliness and playful quality of a living thing.”
Turnbull takes a non-hierarchical approach to art making, combining sculpture, photography, decorative objects and jewellery in artworks that invite reflection upon adornment and excess, use-value and decoration. Decorative arts have often been differentiated from the fine arts due to their emphasis on their functionality as well as aesthetic qualities. She is interested in items that straddle the line between utility and excess.
Meredith Turnbull’s practice is distinctive for the way it traverses the intersections between visual art, design and craft. Her cross-disciplinary approach developed through the diverse nature of her training. Trained in gold and silversmithing at RMIT, she also holds a degree in Art History (LaTrobe University) and a PhD in Sculpture and Spatial Practice (Monash University).
Recent projects include Hardbody Sculpture at Daine Singer and Softbody Sculpture at Pieces of Eight in 2017. Turnbull has held solo exhibitions at Station, MADA Gallery, Pieces of Eight, Bus Projects, The Other Side, West Space, the Centre for Contemporary Photography, TCB and The Narrows.
Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Heide Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Victoria, Craft Victoria (with Manon van Kouswijk), Jam Factory, Adelaide (with Tom Borgas and Kate Beckingham), Melbourne Art Fair, VCA Margaret Lawrence Gallery and the George Paton Gallery.
Meredith Turnbull: Closer
The Ian Potter Museum of Art – The University of Melbourne, Swanston Street, Carlton
Exhibition continues to 1 July 2018
For more information, visit: www.art-museum.unimelb.edu.au for details.
Image: A selection of works by Meredith Turnbull in Closer – courtesy of The Ian Potter Museum of Art