Like a Wheel That Turns: The 2022 Macfarlane Commissions

ACCA-Gian-Manik-Untitled 2017-(detail)The third edition of a multi-year partnership that supports the commissioning of ambitious new projects by leading contemporary artists, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) presents Like a Wheel That Turns: The 2022 Macfarlane Commissions from 2 July 2022.

Curated by Max Delany and Annika Kristensen, Like a Wheel That Turns reflects upon painting practices which extend beyond the frame and from the realm of the studio into the world at large, through the work of Nadia Hernández, Lucina Lane, Gian Manik, Betty Muffler, Jahnne Pasco-White, Jason Phu, JD Reforma and Esther Stewart.

Acknowledging painting’s ability to speak across generations – to personal, social and familial connections and histories, as much as to cultural and artistic references and legacies – and to accommodate multiple modes of time and perception simultaneously, Like a Wheel That Turns brings together a diverse group of artists whose work might collectively derive from a studio-based practice, but who share an interest in the intersection between painting and other materials, forms or disciplines, including architecture, literature, performance, ecology, music, healing and the wider field of human relations.

The title of the exhibition is drawn from a quote by artist Marlene Dumas who reflects that: Painting doesn’t freeze time, it circulates and recycles time like a wheel that turns. This idea connects to twentieth-century debates about painting while retaining relevance to more recent considerations of painting as subject to constant cycles of circulation, being informed by various networks – social, physical and digital – for production, exhibition and distribution.

Referencing these discursive legacies, while also considering the limitations of the art historical canon, works created for this exhibition collectively explore these ideas of networks, recycling and circulation to affirm the ongoing relevance of painting – as well as its expanded potential – in a contemporary age.

Like a Wheel That Turns presents a series of eight new commissions, with artists who approach the medium of painting as a vehicle through which to consider cultural and family histories, our relationship to Country and the environment, institutional and domestic architectures, the role of art and the gallery as repository of memories, and as a means of communing with those who have come before.

Activating ACCA’s gallery spaces through a series of distinct yet intersecting site-responsive projects, Like A Wheel That Turns implicates the viewer within the temporal frame of painterly materiality, inviting us to consider how painting might extend beyond the specificities of its medium and the confines of the frame.

The Macfarlane Commissions is supported by The Macfarlane Fund to encourage the production of ambitious new work by emerging to mid-career contemporary artists. Each artist is offered a generous artist fee and production budget, with the intention of commissioning a major new body of work especially for the exhibition.

The Macfarlane Fund is a philanthropic initiative established in 2017 to honour the life of respected Melbourne businessman Donald (Don) Macfarlane, who throughout his life took immense pleasure in the arts. The Macfarlane Fund’s primary focus is to offer financial support across the career span of artists, with programs developed to support graduate, mid-career and senior artists.

Underpinning the development of The Macfarlane Fund is a rigorous approach to decision-making, and a commitment to being flexible, effective and responsive to artistic practice and initiatives in a way that challenges established modes of giving and serves as a role model for contemporary art philanthropy.

Like a Wheel That Turns: The 2022 Macfarlane Commissions
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), 111 Sturt Street, Southbank (Melbourne)
Exhibition: 2 July – 4 September 2022
Free entry

For more information, visit: for details.

Image: Gian Manik, Untitled 2017, (detail), oil and synthetic polymer paint, enamel, aerosol, crayon, pen, pencil and synthetic marker on canvas, 1000.0 x 225.0 cm. Made in partnership with students from Hedland Senior High School, South Hedland. Courtesy the artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne