Fox Galleries is proud to present This is Colony, a solo by artist and master ceramicist Barry Tate, featuring glazed stone and earthenware sculptures and mixed-media paintings that ask—what will become of Australia?
Tate has been selected as a finalist in the 2018 Western Sydney University Sculpture Awards and Exhibition for his forthcoming sculptural installation, which is a continuation of the new body of work.
The sculptural works complicate the Western notion of progress by alluding to 18th century English follies—ornamental consequences of colonialism and globalisation—engaging a compilation of decorative styles, from Neoclassical to Rococo Revival.
Tate, who lived in Japan for several years and trained in Japanese ceramic practices, has infused the reverence of nature from Shinto philosophy into the totemic works, as well as the Indigenous Australian understanding of Country, “a person’s land, sea, sky, rivers, sites, seasons, plants and animals; place of heritage, belonging and spirituality.”
The grape recurs across the pieces as a resonant symbol, used in Ancient Greek art to indicate the advancement of society through cultivation and trade, and as a central feature of still life studies across Western painting, which developed in tandem with the reduction of agricultural labour. With the non-native fruit spilling out from the tops, each pillar becomes a cornucopia representing the great abundance of the land, or a trophy for the advancement of civilization. But instead these are monuments to the complexities of contemporary, postcolonial Australia, compelling the viewer to question who enjoys the fruits of the labour in this former penal colony, and how long it will be till the ever-growing economic bubble bursts. A new short documentary on Barry Tate will accompany the exhibition, illuminating his rigorous methodology and the sheer physicality behind traditional, large-scale ceramic sculpture making using a wood-fired kiln. Go inside the artist’s studio and hear from Tate himself about his practice, themes, influences and inspiration.
Barry Tate is a Warrnambool-based artist and beloved arts educator whose practice spans over three decades of prolific production contemplating systems of belief, the propaganda art of the church, tragedy and the apocalypse. Ranging from clay, glitter, gold, fibre optics, spray paint, lights and electric motors no material has been out of bounds in Tate’s playful investigation of fear and faith. Tate has been a finalist for the Blake Prize and has shown at Fox Galleries and Wolloongabba Galleries in Brisbane and Charles Nodrum Gallery, Place Gallery and Fusions Gallery in Melbourne.
First established in 1998, Fox Galleries presents exhibitions of modern and contemporary art, focused on artists whose work is conceptually driven and challenging to traditional art practice. The gallery was the first commercial space in Australia to exhibit lowbrow/street art in the early 2000s including Anthony Lister and Mike Chavez. Alongside these contemporary exhibitions, Fox Galleries presents survey shows of important artists and offers selected artworks for sale by private treaty. In its new premises in Collingwood the gallery continues the tradition of exhibiting emerging artists within the context of the Australian art market.
For more information please contact Gallery Manager Amanda Ribas Tugwell at email@example.com