SA ILLUSTRATED: From the street
2 JUNE TO 5 AUGUST 2012
Although more than a century apart, South Australian street artists share with colonial artists an acute awareness of place. Using the visual languages of the street including paste-ups, stenciling and aerosol painting, contemporary artists Ali Baker, James Dodd and Peter Drew have responded to the Gallery’s colonial archive.
In Unfinished Peter Drew has taken the Gallery’s enigmatic self-portrait of Colonial William Light and created his own version. Drew has invited twelve other South Australian artists to create their versions of the portrait in their signature styles. During the course of the exhibition these portraits will slowly disappear from the Art Gallery, ending up on the very streets that Light played a role in designing.
James Dodd has, for several years, explored the tension between the art of the street and that collected by institutions. In Morialta Falls, he uses street art processes such as stencilling and aerosol to remake the picturesque landscapes that originally appeared in an anthology of text and illustrations printed by J.W. Giles. Dodd continues to investigate these ideas in a second, temporary public work of art, which assumes the form of a bus stop, on North Terrace. The bus stop borrows imagery from the Art Gallery’s colonial collection, including Eugene von Guerard’s celebrated view from Mt Lofty.
Ali Baker uses photography to investigate the representation of Aboriginal people and contest colonisation. In this a series of large portraits of her female Aboriginal friends, titled Bow down to the Sovereign Goddess, Baker re-invigorates the historical genre of portraiture. These powerful women hold white, colonial style frames which symbolise the burden of the past. By holding and controlling the frames and by returning the gaze, Baker’s sovereign goddesses contest white representation.
Their work is currently on display both in the Gallery and on the streets of Adelaide.
James Dodd’s Bus Stop project has been generously supported by