Contemporary Australian Video Art – Curator floor talk


Anne O’Hehir, Curator of Photography, National Gallery of Australia with works from the NGA touring exhibition Light moves: Contemporary Australian Video Art, at RMIT Gallery.

What’s behind the re-emergence and success of video in contemporary art in Australia over the last fifteen years?

The exhibition Light moves: Contemporary Australian Video Art  at RMIT Gallery (1 July – 20 August) features work made between 2009 and 2014 by some of Australia’s most internationally significant video artists; Daniel Crooks, Hayden Fowler, Shaun Gladwell, Gabriella and Silvana Mangano, David Rosetzky, Julie Rrap and Christian Thompson.

Join us at RMIT Gallery on Friday 1 July from 1-2 pm when curator Anne O’Hehir will talk about the history of video and the important holdings of early video art held by the National Gallery of Australia.

“There is no doubt that the medium has enormous relevance and appeal for contemporary audiences. Certainly the works in Light moves engage with areas of concern for many, around notions of identity or our relationship with nature, for example,” said O’Hehir.

Many of the works in Light moves have a quiet, meditative feel with individuals in some way retreating from the world, and O’Hehir will also look at this aspect of the exhibition, which is on tour from the National Gallery of Australia, and reflect on why this might be.

What: Curator floor talk – Light moves: Contemporary Australian Video Art

When: Friday 1 July 2016

Time: 1-2 pm

With: Anne O’Hehir, Curator of Photography, National Gallery of Australia.

Bookings: Free – please book here

Venue: RMIT Gallery

Location: 344 Swanston Street Melbourne

More information: RMIT Gallery (03) 9925 1717



Upcoming exhibitions: Quiddity & Light moves

Upcoming exhibitions at RMIT Gallery – Light moves: Contemporary Australian Video Art and Quiddity, a behind-the-scenes look at the RMIT Art Collection.

1 JULY – 20 AUGUST 2016
OPENING NIGHT | Thursday 30 JUNE, 6pm – 8pm   ALL WELCOME



Quiddity (Latin meaning ‘the essence of a thing) unpacks the RMIT Art Collection, and features artists including: Stephen Benwell, Chris Bond, Peter Ellis, Helga Groves, Clare Humphries, Wanyubi Marika, Greg Moncrieff, Hisaharu Motoda, Nick Mourtzakis, Anthony Pryor, Klaus Rinke, Ah Xian, Ken & Julia Yonetani, and Paul Zika.


Light moves: Contemporary Australian Video Art

Contemporary Australian artists present projected and screen-based works exploring the body and the possibilities of movement. Featuring Daniel Crooks, Hayden Fowler, Shaun Gladwell, Gabriella and Silvana Mangano, David Rosetzky, Julie Rrap and Christian Thompson. On tour from the National Gallery of Australia.


Last days: Streets of Papunya & Out of the Matrix exhibitions


Streets of Papunya: The reinvention of Papunya painting, installation image at RMIT Gallery by Tobias Titz.

Streets of Papunya: The reinvention of Papunya painting

This is your final chance to see the critically acclaimed exhibition Streets of Papunya: The reinvention of Papunya painting at RMIT Gallery – praised by The Age arts critic Robert Nelson for its beautiful and spellbinding works mostly by women artists.

The exhibition will end on Saturday 11 June at 5 pm. 

“Many of the paintings have a monumental character, such as the formidable black and white piece by Mary Roberts Nakamarra on the bush onion theme, Yalka Tjukurrpa, from 2015. Its strong graphic presence of contours that put pressure on one another activates the field with scintillating optical energy.” – Robert Nelson. Read more of his review.

Streets of Papunya, curated by Papunya art expert Vivien Johnson, is toured by UNSW Galleries, and celebrates the renaissance of painting that has occurred since the establishment of the Papunya Tjupi Arts Centre in 2007, now one of the best-known locations of art production in Central Australia. At RMIT Gallery, the exhibition features a selection of works loaned by private local collectors.

The exhibition can next be seen at ANU Drill Hall Gallery, from Friday 15 July to Sunday 14 August 2016, where it will include a wide selection of historical works drawn from the collections of ANU Anthropology and Archaeology and the College of Asia and the Pacific.

Out of the Matrix – printmaking exhibition


Ruth Johnstone, Common Garden: house to studio, Fitzroy 2014 – 2016 Installation view, unbound book: relief print, plant pigment and letterpress. Photo: Tobias Titz, RMIT Gallery, 2016.

“Printmakers skate between traditional and conceptual art” – Dylan Rainforth, The Age.

Don’t miss Out of the Matrix, the new printmaking exhibition which plays with printmaking qualities such as sameness and difference and features artists with a connection to RMIT who use the multiple as a springboard to wider concepts..such as printmaking and skateboarding!

Listen to Joel Gailer, a skateboarder and printmaker from Performprint talking to hosts Beth and Will on SYN Radio’s Art Smitten show about his involvement in a live art performance called “Bearings, beauty and irrelevance” that featured as part of RMIT Gallery’s exhibition Out of the Matrix.

The exhibition will end on Saturday 11 June at 5 pm. 

“Whilst each artist in this exhibition uses the matrix as a tool of reproduction they also, more importantly, approach the matrix—and with it discourses of print practice more broadly—as a point of departure.” – Curator Richard Harding.

Read Richard Harding’s essay in the lavishly photographed catalogue, available at RMIT Gallery for just $5.


Gallery Volunteer Camille Klose with the Out of the Matrix Catalogue, in front of Jazmina Cininas’, Micah, 2015.

What: Streets of Papunya: The reinvention of Papunya painting and Out of the Matrix

When: Exhibitions end 5 pm Saturday 11 June.

Where: RMIT Gallery, 344 Swanston Street, Melbourne.

Gallery information: RMIT Gallery is open Monday to Friday 11am–5pm, Thursday 11am–7pm, Saturday 12pm–5pm, and closed Sunday and public holidays.

Many hands make light work: Out of the Matrix – World Environment Day event


Brewing up the dye: Eucalyptus and Melaleuca bark boil away at Rebecca Mayo’s World Environment Day printmaking event at Edgars Creek, North Coburg.

Early morning on Sunday June 5 – World Environment Day – was a cold and wet one for an artist holding an outdoor printmaking event in Melbourne, though not on a scale seen in Paris, where devastating floods forced the Louvre and Orsay museums to shut while staff moved art work to safety.

Still, printmaker Rebecca Mayo, whose work Merri Creek Zeltbahnen features in the RMIT Gallery printmaking exhibition Out of the Matrix, wondered if her outdoor art event would attract an audience.

But come they did, eager to participate. Everyone was offered the chance to help create a public art work, and were handed a calico square Mayo had prepared. She pre-mordanted the fabric squares with letters, and as the cloth was dipped into the boiling vats of  Eucalyptus and Melaleuca bark, letters emerged like magic.

“I’ve had this brew of local plants soaking for a month, and the fabric squares are screenprinted with alum so the dye holds. It’s basic chemistry,” Mayo said.

After stirring the vat of fragrant organic dye, and swirling around their cloth square, people were then asked to peg the letters onto two lines, and like a quiz game guess what sentences might appear from the random selection of letters.  This delighted the children who loved a wet and messy activity, and merrily took part with adults who had emerged from their warm Sunday sleep-in.


The work emerges: participants were asked to peg up the fabric cloth squares they helped dye in the locally sourced brew.

The work revealed itself over the course of the morning, with people coming and going during the two hour event. The artist chatted about her work, explaining the process she used to create her zeltbahn, which was pitched nearby, and had been dyed and screen printed with indigenous and exotic plants of the Merri Creek.

“The Zeltbahn (quarter tent) is a single garment that, when buttoned to the other zeltbahnen creates a shelter for many,” said Mayo.

Rebecca Mayo’s work is positioned as a social practice incorporating weeding, planting, sewing, printing, dyeing, collecting and walking. The original project was triggered by her participation as a volunteer restoration worker at the Merri Creek in the northern suburbs of Melbourne, and she felt the World Environment Day event was a perfect opportunity to share her passion for the area, its restoration work, and her interest in using locally sourced materials.

Asked about the vivid blue on the dyed tent, and she takes those interested to a nearby spot where volunteer workers from Friends of Merri Creek spent the morning planting Australian indigo and other plants.

“I feel guilty – I am usually helping plant, not make art!” she said. She was delighted when a volunteer asked to have their Friends of Merri Creek shirt dyed in the Melaleuca bark.

A hardy few stayed to the very end, when the cloth squares were arranged to reveal two common sayings – with a community-based and ecological friendly themes appropriate for the day:

“Many hands make light work” and “A stitch in time saves nine”.


Artist Rebecca Mayo (centre, in yellow vest) with her completed work.

You can see Rebecca Mayo’s work at the Out of the Matrix printmaking exhibition at RMIT Gallery until Saturday 11 June.




Out of the Matrix: World Environment Day Event

Join printmaker Rebecca Mayo at Merri Creek tributary Edgar’s Creek on Sunday 5 June from 10.30am – 12.30 pm for this special World Environment Day event, co-hosted by RMIT Gallery and Friends of Merri CreekFriends of Edgars Creek and Moreland City Council.

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Image: Rebecca Mayo Zeltbahn (as shelter tent) at Cooper St Grassland gorse mop-up November 2013 calico dyed and screen printed with weeds and indigenous plants from the Merri Creek, zinc buttons, eyelets, tope, tent poles each tent quarter 200 x 200 x 280 cm Photograph: David Burrows

Rebecca, whose work features in the current RMIT Gallery printmaking exhibition Out of the Matrix (until 11 June) will talk about the historic waterway that inspires her practice. Visitors can join her while she produces an on-site dyed work. Mayo’s event accompanies the Planting, Litter Clean-up and BBQ of local friends groups, funded by Moreland City Council.

Her work in the exhibition, Merri Creek Zeltbahnen, 2013 – 2016, is a series of quarter tents printed and dyed with plants collected at the creek. Linking these labour intensive processes with the similarly repetitive processes of ecological restoration is a means of exploring urban ecologically significant sites through her practice.


Rebecca Mayo with her work at RMIT Gallery’s Out of the Matrix exhibition.

Rebecca Mayo is a lecturer in Print Imaging Practice at RMIT School of Art. She is a PhD candidate at the School of Art, Australian National University, Canberra.

Her current practice incorporates printmaking, textiles, walking and urban ecology. She works with locally growing plants extracting natural dyes as a screenprinting medium. The resulting textiles pay attention to the repetition common to her studio practice and ecological restoration.

“Like many people living in Melbourne’s inner north, the Merri Creek flows through my daily life as a space to relax, as a path to and from the city and, increasingly, as a place I help to restore,” Ms Mayo said.


Out of the Matrix: World Environment Day Event Details

Date: Sunday 5 June 2016

Time: 10am-12.30pm


Meet Rebecca Mayo at Edgars Creek, near Ronald and Danthonia Streets, North Coburg (Melways Ref 18 A9)


Public Transport.

Tram 11 from the city: Embark Collins St (or Brunswick St). Travel north. Disembark Stop 45 – Jacka Street, Coburg. Walk east along Jacka St, follow the road onto Boyne St. Turn right onto Ronald, follow the road around until you see the park entrance just past Danthonia St. Wander down and find everyone!

By Car: On street parking is available in Ronald and neighbouring streets

Read more.