Icons Uncovered – A bluethumb Exhibition

Icons play a key role in the aesthetics of everyday life. Embedded within each is a myriad of memories and meaning, different to each viewer, but safe, nostalgic and familiar to all. The diverse artistic practice in this showcase has a range of cultural references including fashion, politics, entertainment, literature and our relationship with natural and urban environments. These thematic undercurrents are at times amusing and always provocative, challenging the current state of affairs by forcing us to reconsider our positions.

Bluethumb’s curator, Janni Fewster, chose works that make you think twice. “People take the naked body, politicians, or even the brands they wear so seriously,” she explains. “The art I chose for this exhibition shines humour, absurdness and wonder on the things we take for granted.”

The Artists:

Ben Tankard

Highly sought after Sydney artist Ben Tankard will be showcasing his Unpopular Penguin series for the first time in Melbourne. Former director of the Art Gallery of NSW, Edmund Capon, speaking at the Blacktown City Art Prize opening, described the first painting in this series as “an evocative imagining of the familiar Penguin Paperback … a painting we all liked very much for its rich texture, its sense of memory and its sort of nostalgic humour.” Ben was also a finalist in this year’s Gallipoli Art Prize with Unpopular Penguin 46. These are sure to sell fast. “I’m thrilled to have my paintings featured alongside the work of other artists I admire, in the heart of Melbourne!” says Ben.

Unpopular Penguin 53 by Ben TankardUnpopular Penguins 53 by Ben Tankard

Campbell La Pun

Originating from Melbourne, Tokyo based Campbell La Pun’s work takes us careering through the modern world. His paintings reflecting the dizzying range of motifs, colours and forms that manifest themselves in the pop culture iconography and advertising images of the global marketplace. “The opportunities Bluethumb have created online for Australian artists and collectors is already exciting so I’m honoured to have them presenting my works now in a gallery space,” says Campbell. Chanel With Bananas is a visually striking, lyrical reference to two great 20th Century icons.  Humour with attitude.

Chanel Bananas by Campbell La PunChanel Bananas (Ed. 5 of 12) by Campbell La Pun

Amanda Wright

Melbourne-based Indigenous artist, Amanda Wright, brings a fresh approach to Indigenous portraits. “I am proud of my ancestry‚ my partners ancestry and to know that my children have such a connection to this beautiful land Australia,” says Amanda about her artistic practice. “It’s great exposure and I’m honoured to be in such good company of artists.” Her series is an arresting and alluring composition endowed with soulful beauty and sensitivity.

Nay by Amanda WrightNay by Amanda Wright

Amanda Krantz

Amanda Krantz is a 2014 Permio Compat Prize Finalist in Livorno Italy. Her work flows like organic-psychedelia. Her process is underpinned by a playful exploration of materials, which themselves are life-like. She shares a symbiotic relationship with them, acting often as a facilitator to their natural ability to create chaotic and randomly beautiful effects. “I’m stoked to participate in support of an online gallery like Bluethumb because magic in the virtual world can successfully translate into magic in the real world, as I’m sure this gathering of talented artists will demonstrate,” exclaims Amanda. Her work Message in a Bottle is rich in texture and colour, capturing beautifully the essence and ephemerality of this well known visitor to Australia’s shores.

Message in a Bottle by Amanda KrantzMessage in a Bottle by Amanda Krantz

Jason Moad

Jason Moad’s most recent accomplishments include being a finalist in The Sir John Sulman Prize and part of the Archibald Prize’s Salon Des Refuses. His most recent works speak to us about nostalgia and perhaps a lost innocence. Jason’s series reflects animals impacting the immediate environment. ‘Peril’ is a thoroughly menacing psychological dilemma – do you follow the safe path, take a plunge into shark-infested waters or escape through the hatch at your feet?  A painting to ignite your imagination.

Peril by Jason MoadPeril by Jason Moad

Leah Mariani

Leah Mariani has been shortlisted for a number of awards, including the 2016 She competition, Lethbridge 10000 Small-Scale Art Prize 2012-2014, the 2013 Agendo Award and the 2011 Metro Award. In 2013 she won the Yen magazine female artist of the year award. “This pop up event is a great opportunity to get up close and personal with the art work. I am honoured to be apart of this emergent artist exhibition and am thrilled to be showing with amazing Australian artists such as Ben Tankard and Amanda Krantz,” says Leah. Her painting Endless Summer is about floating in a pool and drifting in time. This mesmerising scene shouts carefree summer days and just makes you want to dive in.

Endless Summer by Leah MarianiEndless Summer by Leah Mariani

Ying Huang

Another highlight is Ying Huang, a Chinese Manchurian-born Australian artist whose work crosses formats and media. Her work has been exhibited throughout Australia, Hong Kong and Scotland. Ying Huang “invented” a political art movement that she has termed Polipanda, or Political Pop Propaganda Art. Polipanda, a hybrid practice combining political propaganda art and Pop art, explores how history is manipulated through mass media images and challenges notions of authenticity and originality. “I am really excited about the pop up show and I think it gives artists another platform to showcase their work. It’s awesome,” exclaims Ying. Her political figure series is a boldly rendered, playful and extremely likeable parody of highly controversial political “icons”.

KimPie by Ying HuangKim Pie by Ying Huang

John Graham

John Graham has many accomplishments, his latest one being a finalidt in the 2016 Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize. His Love Me Series explores the nude and its connection to the erotic in art. How a series of lines can question how society and the individual deal with the nude and sexuality, in regards to morality and censorship. John’s series is brimming with frenzied energy. His colourful, effective composition involving an iconic artistic subject jars the senses.

Love me Series Number 9 by John GrahamLove Me Number 9 by John Graham

Bluethumb Presents – Icons Uncovered

July 9 & 10 @ No Vacancy Gallery (in the QV shopping centre) 34-40 Jane Bell Lane, Melbourne

Opening night on Saturday July 9 with free drinks from 6pm – 7.30pm

Join the event page here.

Keep up to date with the Australian and international art scene and discover new artists by signing up to our newsletter here.

What Makes an Artist: Chris Martin

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *