Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Richard Lewer: It starts as an idle thought grows into an obsession

Richard Lewer
Snowtown 2007

Richard Lewer is gaining a reputation in Australia and New Zealand as one of the foremost contemporary artists who has chosen drawing as his primary medium. His drawings cover a variety of unexpected surfaces including gallery walls, Formica tabletops, peg boards, aluminium sheets, venetian blinds as well as paper. The thematic presence of sport, illness, suburban life, crime, and urban myths make many of his subjects familiar with a personal, local context. These narratives explore the darker side of antipodean culture, unveiling both tragedy and an absurd comedy and revealing a type of anti-heroism that plays with notions of good and evil.

It starts as an idle thought grows into an obsession is a large-scale, site-specific wall drawing that explores society’s fear and fascination with crime and delves into the National Art School’s history as the former Darlinghurst Gaol. This work, the largest Lewer has ever created, will be installed directly on to the walls of the first floor of the Gallery. This will be Lewer’s first solo show in a public gallery in Sydney and the first NAS Gallery commission. The exhibition includes works on paper that relate to infamous Australian crimes and the social impact of the crime on the families and wider community. His wall drawing will focus on the transport ships that brought British criminals to Australia in the 18th Century.

The project also aims to open up the artist’s process by inviting the public and student community at the National Art School to meet with the artist and observe the actual creation of the wall drawing between 27 April and 2 May. The exhibition opening is on 3 May, 6-8pm.

Born in Hamilton, New Zealand in 1970 and currently living in Melbourne, Australia, Richard Lewer has exhibited widely in both countries. His recent exhibitions include Zonal Marx, VCA Margaret Lawrence Gallery, Melbourne (2007), Someone shows something to someone, Canberra Contemporary Art Centre, Canberra (2006) and Game on! Sport and contemporary art, Ian Potter Museum of Art, Melbourne as part of the 2006 Commonwealth Games Arts Festival.
Richard Lewer: It starts as an idle thought grows into an obsession
NAS Gallery
27 April – 26 May 2007