TarraWarra Museum of Art to present new and recent works by leading contemporary artists

TWMA Peter Atkins Dr. No 2020-23 (detail)From 23 March 2024, TarraWarra Museum of Art will present three concurrent exhibitions that considers new and recent works by leading contemporary artists in conversation with paintings, sculptures and designs by significant figures of Australian modernism.

Featuring new work by Melbourne-based contemporary artists Peter Atkins and Dana Harris, the exhibition SUPERsystems is presented in conversation with The Industrial Design of Clement Meadmore: The Harris/Atkins Collection, a comprehensive survey of innovative modernist designs by the acclaimed sculptor and designer Clement Meadmore. Also on display is Systems and Structures, featuring a selection of works by leading Australian artists drawn from the Museum’s collection.

“TarraWarra Museum of Art is fortunate to have worked closely with Dana Harris and Peter Atkins, not only to premiere their most recent bodies of abstract work, but also to share their outstanding collection of modernist designs and sculptures by Clement Meadmore,” said TarraWarra Museum of Art Curator, Anthony Fitzpatrick.

“Meadmore’s distinctive visual language was often informed by the modernist principles of the Bauhaus and the De Stijl movement – a source of inspiration shared by Harris and Atkins.”

“The third exhibition of predominantly abstract painting and sculpture by Australian artists from the Museum’s own collection, deepens this sustained exploration of the formal and conceptual systems and principles that guide creative practices and artmaking,” said Fitzpatrick.

TWMA Dana Harris fancywork 10 2020-23SUPERsystems: Peter Atkins and Dana Harris
Melbourne-based contemporary artists Peter Atkins and Dana Harris will present major new works for their first joint exhibition SUPERsystems.

While these new works each express a highly distinctive visual language and materiality, they are closely aligned in their shared conceptual and formal concerns.

Indeed, both Atkins and Harris employ geometry, repetition and seriality as a means to reimagine the everyday world. For many years Peter Atkins’s practice has involved a process that he refers to as ‘readymade abstraction’.

Distilling and reinventing familiar forms and patterns from the everyday environment – such as movie posters, product packaging, road signs and record covers – Atkins blurs the boundaries between ‘high art’ and popular culture.

For SUPERsystems, Atkins has deconstructed American designer Maurice Binder’s opening title sequence for the first James Bond film Dr. No (1962). Presented across 92 individual paintings in four horizontal rows, each frame of the original animation is revealed as a unique, abstract composition, like a tangible, stop-motion version of the original.

Dana Harris employs a variety of techniques and media in her ongoing investigation of the relationships within natural and urban landscapes. For SUPERsystems, Harris presents a new project titled fancywork, which emerged from her experience of walking the deserted streets of the Melbourne CBD during the COVID–19 lockdowns.

Inspired by the subtle shifts and spatial relationships in the built environment, the artist has created a series of 22 intricately hand-embroidered panels which use repetition and complex patterns to express the new rhythms and connections she observed while exploring the city at a standstill.

TWMA Clement Meadmore Wire Chair (model DC601A) c. 1958The Industrial Design of Clement Meadmore: The Harris/Atkins Collection
Widely regarded as one of Australia’s most important sculptors of the twentieth century, Clement Meadmore is also acknowledged as a significant and pioneering figure within the history of Australian modernist design.

Featuring an extensive group of individual pieces from the 1950s and early 1960s, The Industrial Design of Clement Meadmore highlights Meadmore’s highly distinctive approach to industrial design and his remarkable ability to manipulate the most basic, readily available materials – steel rod, cotton cord, glass, sheet metal, canvas and thin plywood – into functional, innovative and durable objects.

Meticulously assembled by the artists Peter Atkins and Dana Harris over the past twenty-five years, this exemplary collection of Meadmore’s iconic chairs, tables and lighting is the most important and comprehensive collection of his industrial design in public or private hands.

Presented for the first time in its entirety, the Harris/Atkins Collection provides a unique opportunity to survey the breadth and depth of Meadmore’s singular design language.

TWMA Hilarie Mais Bay 2001Systems and Structures: A Focus on the TarraWarra Museum of Art Collection
Drawing predominantly from TarraWarra Museum of Art’s significant collection of abstract painting and sculpture, Systems and Structures features works by a range of Australian artists who employ patterns, geometry, modules and repetition as key elements in their creative process.

Revealing the wide range of systems that artists have explored and implemented in the development and expansion of their distinctive visual languages, the exhibition includes works by Robert Hunter, Clement Meadmore, Hilarie Mais, Rosalie Gascoigne, Howard Arkley, Lesley Dumbrell, Mark Galea, Robert Jacks, Callum Morton, John Nixon and Robert Owen.

The 2024 TarraWarra Festival from Saturday 4 to Sunday 5 May will this year see Richard Tognetti and the Australian Chamber Orchestra perform in the central gallery, in response to the Systems and Structures exhibition that will surround the audience and Orchestra.

Another major programming highlight is An Afternoon with Peter Atkins and Dana Harris on Sunday 21 April 2024, a unique opportunity to gain direct insights into each artists’ practices as well as the work and legacy of Clement Meadmore.

The three exhibitions at TarraWarra Museum of Art are on display from 23 March – 14 July 2024. For more information, visit: www.twma.com.au for details.

Images: Peter Atkins, Dr. No (after Maurice Binder) 2020–23 (detail) synthetic polymer paint on board 92 panels: 28 x 46 cm each – courtesy of the artist, Tolarno Galleries, Melbourne and GAGProjects, Adelaide | Dana Harris, fancywork 10 from the series fancywork 2020–23 braided nylon cord and cotton embroidered on plastic grids 34 x 37 cm – courtesy of the artist | Clement Meadmore, Wire Chair (model DC601A) c. 1958  (co-designer Michael Hirst) plastic-coated steel, vinyl and rubber  92 x 41 x 57 cm – Harris/Atkins Collection | Hilarie Mais, Bay 2001  oil paint on wood 127.2 x 244.8 x 4 cm, TarraWarra Museum of Art collection, Gift of Eva Besen AO and Marc Besen AO. Donated through the Australian Government’s Cultural Gifts Program 2012 © Hilarie Mais