AN EXHIBITION OF SCULPTURE:
SHONA NUNAN/ MICHAEL CARTWRIGHT/ SOLLAI CARTWRIGHT/ JACOB CARTWRIGHT
6 – 16 June 2018, Australia House, London
By appointment 17 – 29 June 2018
Journeys is an exhibition of sculpture at Australia House, London, which will see Australian-born Shona Nunan and Michael Francis Cartwright, along with their sons Sollai and Jacob Cartwright, present their sculptures together for the very first time.
The works, though diverse in terms of materials and aesthetic, are united by a commentary on, and celebration of life, nature and the universe. Collectively, they encourage viewers to consider the myriad of journeys that have informed the sculptures; the journey of the works themselves, from raw material through to creation; but also the journey of a family of sculptors who have continued to inspire one another, whilst developing highly idiosyncratic bodies of work.
This exhibition forms part of a year-long programme the Australian High Commission is delivering to mark the centenary of the opening of Australia House.
Shona Nunan will be presenting new sculptures cast in bronze, based on her earlier Guardian and Woman series. Earth Mother, a figurative piece, depicting an “earth-mother and governor of life” follows a spiral motif, acknowledging the cycle of evolving nature. Speaking of the importance of the spiral, the artist said “it unifies us, reminding us of the earth, its cycles and its beginnings…it connects our diverse cultures through place and being.” Selected works also include two large Guardian figures, Harvest Figure and Sentinel, the latter, a female form conceived from the shapes of an ancient sword.
Michael Francis Cartwright will be showing a wide range of sculptures, some have been modelled, others carved, each exploring ideas around freedom and our place in the universe. The artist has utilised traditional mediums such as bronze, marble and sterling silver to create intuitive, organic forms, “classic materials executed with a freshness”, Cartwright says. Amongst the exhibited works are Moon Dance, a monumental polished bronze figure; Reflection, a sitting bird in abstract form; Astronomer Looking into The Night Sky, and a new series of landscape sculptures inspired by Montefegatessi and Prato Fiorito, both close to the Cartwrights’ studios in Italy.
Sollai Cartwright learnt carving in Pietrasanta and now produces large scale works from his outdoor studio in Berlin – experiencing Berlin’s “inspirational creative community” is, for the artist, integral to developing new ideas and facilitating experimentation. A sensitivity to and understanding of his materials is also important – the artist said that when carving marble, he “seeks a connectivity with the stone” and wants to “further explore the relationship between form and light.” For Cartwright, the exhibited works present the journey of a sculpture as one without end, they evoke a sense of movement and fluidity, intended to engage artist and viewer alike.
Jacob Cartwright’s practice is improvisatory and often collaborative – he riffs between mediums and practices, from marble and wood to sound and photography; his intention is to reflect the present and “to do now, to be now”. He says “this game of grasping at the essence of creativity, is an ever-shifting meditation. My resulting pieces are artefacts of my attempts.” The artist will present his Canoe Lake series at Australia House; each piece underlines the importance of boats for journeys and navigation, both physical and metaphorical. The artist said “they (boats) have moved our homes, been our homes and taken us to new ones. They have been our hope for safety or a new life, they have and continue to be, vessels of dreams.”
Journeys is supported by the Australian High Commission and the Sidney Nolan Trust. A selection of Sidney Nolan’s paintings, previously exhibited as part of Unseen at Australia House, London, will be included in the exhibition.
Shona Nunan has been a practicing artist for over 35 years and works from her studios in Tuscany, Italy and Provence, France. Artist residencies include Cill Rialaig – Ireland; Mas des Graviers, Provence and Bei Wu in Germany. She has exhibited widely throughout her career and is represented by Sandra Walters, Hong Kong; Mossgreen Gallery, Australia and Kuan’s Living in Taiwan and China. Recent commissions include two major Guardian figures for Swires, Hong Kong; a memorial piece for a collector (produced in collaboration with Michael Cartwright); and two commissioned sculptures for Bei Wu Sculpture Park in Germany. www.nunan-cartwright.com
Michael Francis Cartwright works from his studios in Tuscany, Italy and Provence, France, both shared with artist (and partner) Shona Nunan. He first began painting in his father’s studio in Australia and in 1980 worked as studio assistant to Stuart Ross, previously assistant to Henry Moore. The artist went on to learn marble carving in Carrara, Italy and upon returning to Australia exhibited extensively in New South Wales and Victoria. He was also active in and elected Director of the Artist Group Castlemaine inc. Artist residencies include Mas des Graviers, France; Cill Rialaig, Ireland; Port Moresby University, PNG; CIS, Hong Kong; Yew Cheung Foundation, Hong Kong and Bei Wu Sculpture Park, Germany. Since 1994, Cartwright has been represented in both Hong Kong and Singapore, exhibiting across China, Thailand, Hong Kong and Singapore. His works are the subject of both private and public collections, with major commissions in Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Australia, and France. www.nunan-cartwright.com
Sollai Cartwright lives and works in Berlin, Germany. He studied marble carving in Pietrasanta, Italy and has undertaken artist residencies in Ireland, Germany and Australia. He shows biannually with MARS Gallery, Australia and will be exhibiting new work in the 2018 Hong Kong Art Fair, Art Central, Hong Kong. He has shown previously at La Rondine Gallery, Italy and in 2016 unveiled a major installation entitled Ula, produced specifically for the inauguration of Bei Wu Sculpture Park. The artist’s work is held in collections worldwide. www.sollai.com
Jacob Cartwright works from his studio in Pietrasanta, Tuscany and has held residiencies at Saari, Finland, Bei Wu, Germany and Le Rouret, France. He studied at the Victorian College of the Arts, Australia and has exhibited in Italy, Brussels, Barcelona, Finland, Germany and Hong Kong. Major exhibitions include the 2017 Biennale di Sanccino; Cremona; La Rondine Gallery, Tuscany and Bei Wu Sculpture Park’s inaugural group show, for which the artist produced site-specific sound sculpture, The Quiet. In 2013, he founded both the Koski Collective – a collaborative, improvisational, performance art group, and the Bagni di Lucca Art Festival. www.jacobcartwright.com
The Sidney Nolan Trust
Sidney Nolan’s legacy in the UK is a charitable trust, which is developing the land and buildings of The Rodd that Sidney purchased into a unique resource for artists and musicians worldwide. The Trust is a safe non-confrontational space that provides opportunities for self-discovery for young people from neighbouring wards of the West Midlands conurbation. At The Rodd young people are free, even for a very short period, from peer pressures, relationship pressures, housing pressures, family pressures and the pressure of failure to experience latent and undiscovered talents; experiences that can be truly life changing and through which they can discover a new ways to make themselves heard. www.sidneynolantrust.org
The Australian High Commission, London
The Australian High Commission in London is the diplomatic mission of Australia in the United Kingdom. It is located at Australia House, a Grade II listed building. Opened by King George V on 3 August 1918, Australia House is the home of Australia’s first diplomatic post overseas and is the longest continuously occupied diplomatic mission in the United Kingdom. In 2018 the Australian High Commission celebrates 100 years of Australia House. uk.embassy.gov.au