.M Contemporary at Sydney Contemporary 2019

By Madison Allen

Over four days of art celebration at Carriageworks Sydney Contemporary, Sydney Gallery .M Contemporary displayed their own collection of diverse artists in harmony with the fair’s eclectic and generous expanse of art. In an art fair that boasts multiple artists, ideas, mediums and taste, . M Contemporary had something to offer for everyone. 


Wonderfully curated by Michelle Paterson and Louise Rush, .M Contemporary’s booth was a microcosm of their diverse and expanding collection of emerging domestic and international artists.



It would have been hard to miss the three multimedia entry pieces by Dutch artist Nemo Jantzen, whose series, inspired by pop culture and media, gifts the audience with two distinctive layers. The bright images of stylized women, when looked upon closely, morph into glass spheres of idealized worlds. Popular trends, human adventure and banality all emerge. With each step forward, the less you see.



Once inside, the booth is a corridor of colour and energy, culminating in a moment of wonderful humour – a ‘dunny,’ wallpapered and decorated to suit. Australian artist Will Coles fuses the trauma and humour of the working class, riddling his pieces with undertones of personal family abuse and genetic, aggressive masculinity. A deserted cigarette drifts smoke. A ceramic toilet is glorified. A toilet roll waits to be used. Lining the walls, Jodi Clark’s wallpaper engages the viewer with humanised animals in states of ‘pornography,’ fluanting female sexuality. And situated in the corner, Luke Thurgate’s sculpture ‘Straight Acting’ – a cross armed, pale figure – attempts to mold his facial features into a constant identity. In completion, the ‘dunny’ is transformed beyond its initial humor to explore gender, identity and sexual exploration.



A celebration of abstraction and landscape takes place beyond. Australian artist Jane Guthleben’s intimate paintings of native flora brings new texture and colour to moments of familiarity. Intense strokes of bright colour on black, liberally applied by Kerry Armstrong, documents episodic flashes of emotion and beauty. Agneta Ekholm’s translucent layers of shapes and gestures, applied with water and sponge, forms glimpses of water flow and movement, or sensual and fickle landscapes. 


In a moment of meditation, surrounded by .M Contemporary’s engagement with humour, celebration and individual discovery, Sergio Hernandez Merchan’s marble sculpture sits waiting to be discovered. Beautifully carved flowers rest in the silhouette of a figure. Exploring the presence of a person beyond death, Sergio’s sculpture provides a welcomed moment of calm and pause. 



Sydney Contemporary triumphs in its diversity of art and those who engage with it. .M Contemporary’s varied selection of artists provided a moment of awe for everyone. 


Thank you to all who visited. And thank you to our wonderful artists. See you next year. 

Claiming Artworks as a Tax Deduction

Photographer, Roger Ballen Interview by Michael Kirchoff

Lionel Smit, Sculptor, Artist

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