GIVING, GRIEVING, GROWING – DION FIBISHENKO
Dion, a 23 y/o queer artist from Naarm, presents a vivid exhibition exploring the human spirit and its ability to regenerate, even in the wake of trauma & loss. Through watercolour, their intuitive strokes create a playful naivety with bursts of colour in “Giving, Grieving, Growing.”
Themes of spirituality, nature, and mental health permeate Dion’s emotive earth-toned paintings, offering a tender glimpse into their own soul. Having exhibited in group shows and cafes, Ladder Art Gallery is proud to present Dion’s debut solo exhibition.
In the midst of 2022’s most testing moments, Dion endured profound tragedy within their family, a devastating breakup, and their own hospitalisation. From these depths, the poem “Giving, Grieving, Growing” emerged, birthing an unfiltered collection of authentic watercolour pieces. Each brushstroke bears the weight of their emotions, offering a testament to resilience. Through vibrant hues and delicate textures, this exhibition narrates a journey of healing and growth.
These paintings convey hope, resilience, and self-love. Immerse yourself in their colours, textures, and emotions, finding solace and inspiration in their raw authenticity.
Join us to witness the transformative journey of giving, grieving, and growing, discovering the profound strength within us all.
DRAPE – NICOLA HEASLEY DAWBORN
I“Drape” hints at the sensual – images that emerge from the darkness, referenced from carefully lit, draped, twisted and flung fabric. This collection explores the beauty in drapery’s folds and creases – evocative of the hidden, the feminine form, ‘moulage’, or crumpled bed linen. These paintings, which draw on the tradition of chiaroscuro, are a meditation on the intimate, while also revering the fabric itself: each piece named after an aesthetic description of the material’s creation or application.
AFTER THE MELT – HEIDI PETERS
I have a deep connection with the Victorian High Country, specifically the area around Mt Buller. I consider the mountain as a second home and have observed its transformation with the seasons. It is a magical area that allows one to be transported to a place of tranquility and awe, away from the bustle of city life. I have spent many hours observing and soaking in the atmosphere. This exhibition represents a body of work developed over that time. It seeks to portray that connection with the mountain and the beauty of the landscape both in winter and summer. Winter sees the landscape transformed to white and fog and haze with amazing shadowy patterns produced by the snow gums over the white blanketed ground. Summer produces a “golden hour” with breathtaking sunsets and rolling mountains. After the snow melts there also remains an interesting landscape with the infrastructure of the skiing and mountain biking industry. There is a real juxta position of nature and man made, which forces one to wonder what will happen in the future as the planet warms and the snow melts?
BREATHE – OLIVIA SIDDAWAY
Decayed, discarded, and disintegrating. Why are we as human beings so intrigued by objects and places that have been neglected, abandoned, and forgotten. What is it that draws us to crumbling buildings filled with rusted and rotting objects that are a stagnant reminder of a passage of time. “Breathe” is a series of argyrotype photographic prints that captures and preserves a brief moment from a locations journey towards total decay, a destruction of not just form but memory held within the essence of a place. Each image returning these places and objects into the spotlight with the argyrotype alternative photographic process enhancing the textural beauty of the subject matter. The goal isn’t necessarily to seal its fate, taking a morbid glimpse at its decayed corpse, but to revel in the life it housed and the stories it gathered. A last breathing of life into a space being reclaimed by the world, the earth itself crushing the structure back into the dirt from which it came, slowly fading away from ever existing. Can you hear the whispers through the peeling paint, rusted hardware, and piles of rubble? If only they could talk.
A FAIRYTALE THAT’S REAL: SUZANA POLJAK
I am an artist who writes poetry and songs, creates mythical creatures, fun people and animals from a magical world of mystery. My art is my voice and outlet when there is only fear and when I feel that I cannot speak and no one is around to hear me. My art is generally about people, me, and my relationship with the world. It comes a lot from experience, I get inspiration from everything: The world around me, a feeling I have, or even just from walking down the street. I use these things that I see as a starting point to explore my alternate universe populated by my creations. My work comes from the notion of fear and how there is no freedom around it. I was painfully shy even as a child. Art was my way of communicating with the world. It gave me a voice and outlet when I felt I was not being heard, and a way of expressing how I felt inside when all I felt was fear.
THE FUTURE IS…: MELANIE THOREN
“The Future is…” is an exhibition from emerging artist Melanie Thoren, which explores feminism through the lens of post-apocalyptic paranoia. Melanie’s works are distractingly vibrant while the imagery alludes to larger catastrophes, such as disease and man-made apocalypses. The incorporation of female identifying figures in these works explores the place and representation of feminine existence within these events. Her work also explore links to the natural world, something which is often associated with feminine existence in a maternal and mythical sense.
Melanie was inspired to make this apocalyptic work when observing imagery of war-torn Ukraine in 2022, as well as the various advancements of technology that are increasingly present, such as Tesla, Space X, and the use of AI technologies in art.
Melanie takes inspiration from artists such as Maria Lassnig and Mirka Mora, but also from vintage science fiction such as ‘Star Trek’, ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Buck Rogers in the 25th Century’ and Fritz Lang’s ‘Metropolis’, all prime examples of science fiction which struggled to find a legitimate space for feminine existence other than ‘eye candy’ or the damsel-in-distress.
Melanie strives to subvert the norms of ‘pretty’ with a darker message; what is the future?
IN HER SKIN: KAREN PAYNE
My work reveals the average woman as she is, imperfect, yet perfect.
Self acceptance brings a confidence that exudes the beauty within.
My goal is to promote the female form as beautiful in every shape and size.
There is nothing more beautiful than the woman who is confident in her own skin.
UNDERSTATED: CLARE DUBINA + JACQUI NORMAN (WHITE ON WALLS)
I love the idea that there is strength in simplicity. For this uniquely minimal collaboration, my works are based around the notion of saying more by showing less.
Often inspired by the shape and form of Japanese Hiragana characters, I wanted to create pieces that reflected this while also complimenting the figurative undertones of Clare’s work.
Jacqui Norman (White On Walls)
For this special duo show, I wanted to create a collection of works that shared the Japanese inspiration of unobtrusive beauty and simplicity which Jacqui is deeply connected to.
At the same time, it was also important for me to maintain the figurative elements I heavily rely on for the narrative of my practice.
Combining these two paths resulted in finding the appreciation for the absence of details, and also opened up the exploration for fashion structures in relationto the body.
SANCTUARY: ROWENA HANNAN
Gothic archways, ravens and children swirl at play, donning their bird beaks and evoking medieval imagery with renewed relevance to today.
This body of work explores our cyclical relationship with myth and symbolism in an attempt to rationalise the overwhelming ills brought by human intervention on the natural environment.
These sculptures focus on humanity’s search for comfort in the mystic and the unexplainable, seeking refuge from what seems beyond our control in the intangible.
In joyful innocence, childlike figures reflect the world through their acts of play as architectural ghosts speak of ever-repeating histories.
While Poe’s ‘Raven’ brings to mind all that is foreboding, they are also seen as protectors and are associated with rebirth and transition. They are both a call to arms and a beacon of hope.
THE WEED PROJECT: ANN MCGINLEY
This exhibition, the weed project, is centred around Ann McGinley’s continuing exploration of migration. As a migrant born of migrants from the Levant, Ann works on representations of displacement, the need for acceptance, resilience and regeneration. She travelled to France, Brazil and Crete between 2018 and 2022 as an artist in residence and in each place became preoccupied with the uncultivated weeds which persist along the roads and alleyways.
Overlooked, eradicated, defiled; foraged but rarely nurtured these weeds represent the struggle for existence, they survive and regenerate with determined resistance. The survival of weeds parallels that of the migrant, transplanted to an alien environment they persist in conditions that predict failure.
Love and Loss: Liza Posar
My exhibition ‘Love and Loss’ explores the pain felt after the loss of a loved one. Losing a loved one, no matter the cause can impact your life in a multitude of ways. With time, the pain will diminish but the loss will never be forgotten. Grieving is the first and most important step in the process in order to overcome these feelings. Most people can recover on their own through the passage of time. But, acceptance doesn’t ignore loss.
Listening to our Parklands: Lucy Allinson
Lucy is a multi-disciplinary artist creating works in the mediums of sound, installation, sculpture, photography, and painting. Her practice stems from research on noise pollution and the detrimental effects it has on natural soundscapes. Over the past three years, Lucy has been studying parklands throughout the Geelong and Surfcoast bioregions, documenting how levels of noise pollution interfere with soundscape ecologies.
‘Listening To Our Parklands,’ investigates five landscapes; Lorne Otways Rainforest, Point Addis, Barwon River/Balyang, Geelong Botanical Gardens, and the You Yangs. During Lucy’s field studies she spends time with each environment, mapping, tracing, and drawing certain elements of each landscape. Taking note of colour and formation of each place allows her to carefully produce an abstract representation of the land in which the audience gets to listen and be immersed. Listening to our parklands allows an individual to be able to explore the intersections of wild and urban spaces which Lucy hopes is experienced through her paintings and composed sound works.
Connections Between: Molly Burrage
Molly Burrage is a multidisciplined artist based in Naarm. Her work is currently inspired by the natural environment, exploring the interplay between herself and the land through the navigation of solitude. Connections Between is a documentation of travel through the Australian landscape, capturing Molly’s journey through painting and installation. She looks at expressing a relationship between art form and the land through plein air painting, capturing texture and movement through thick paint application. Through installation Molly also explores ideas of movement through an altered perception of nature, questioning the relationship between walking and thinking. Molly’s time moving through Australia was slow. Taking opportunities to sit with the land. To warm up to a space. To connect with nature. Taking the time to express moments of change and comfort in one spot at a time. Painting in the landscape gave Molly the opportunity to see one particular place move. Moving with the sun and wind. Moving with the birds. Moving with new visitors. Giving her the space to ground herself and experience slow time.
Flux Corridor: Holly Goodridge + Shan Dante
Flux Corridor is a collaboration that merges the practice and research of queer theory and expanded painting to develop a work that disrupts the normative and extends a new sur-reality. By using forms of performance, sculpture, painting, and sound, the collective establishes a space within the gallery that accentuates an intersection from the audience to work. Relocating the physical state of their bodies and identities, the collaboration locates the project as an opportunity to emit the state of ‘otherness’ experienced by the artists through their identities of marginalization. Expressing models of live performance and sound within a didactic intention, Flux Corridor aims to enact discourse for the viewer, rippling modes of reflection to their own expressions of identity and existence with systems of control and conformity.
The Painted Sculpture: Efrossini Chaniotis
Having studied sculpture in Australia and painting in Greece, Efrossini’s practice naturally combined both. Her vibrant colour palette is reflective of growing up ‘down under’ and her propensity for storytelling, myth and exploration of Mediterranean themes, the indelible imprint of a rich cultural heritage.
The Painted Sculpture features figurative mixed media works which Efrossini describes evocatively as representing the meeting of Hellenism and Australianism. “My sculptures represent a creative journey through a landscape of migration, cross-cultural education, and artistic identity. In Australia, I learnt to think laterally to develop concepts behind my art and experiment, free from the authority that tradition bares. In Greece, I was taught discipline and to embrace art history and to seek beauty which inspired me to believe in the power of art”
The PAINTED SCULPTURE showcases 3 themes current in Efrossini’s work: The Wishing Tree, The Fisherman and Mermaid’s Tale and The Little Mykonos Project. All 3 explore the capacity for art to generate and tell spirited stories. All three aspire to evoke emotion and wonder in an adult audience and all merge the colour and compositional elements inherent in the painting medium with the figurative, sculptural form.
The influences in her work are drawn from childhood experiences of storytelling, modern art and her Hellenic background. Her execution and themes are in her own admission: “wholly person centred, perhaps romantic and idealized”. As a Greek-Australian and as a sculptor and painter, her work deals with bringing opposites together. Efrossini is compelled to and delights in, discovering ways of creating harmony between things; a purpose ingrained in her from a young age.
Still Life: Tim Murphy
In 2013 I began studying tonal realism with the aim of learning the craft of painting, but as a somewhat naive lover of Modern Art, I didn’t consider realism an end in itself. However, I was soon awoken to the latent subtleties present in the works of the genre’s more skilled practitioners and through this gained an appreciation of the enigmatic nuances of sight.
The nuances of direct visual perception are often hidden from the camera lens, ever present in the digital age, and it’s these that I seek to represent in my paintings. Through such a common human experience I hope to communicate with both the seasoned critic and the casual observer.
In a bid for continuous improvement, painting has become an almost daily ritual. This ritual usually takes place in the kitchen of my small inner-city flat, which, due to its constraints, tends to dictate the size and subject of my work. I’m lucky to be consistently amused by small and mundane things.