The Paper Mill: Continuum
March 29th 2011
Nick La Rosa
The Paper Mill: CONTINUUM
Do you ever wonder what more there is to Indigenous art than dot painting? Don’t be ashamed if you do find yourself asking a question along these lines, because you wouldn’t be the only one. There is an exhibition, however, in this years Art Month that will hopefully generate deeper understanding of the topic and that is Continuum, currently showing at The Paper Mill Gallery.
Backed by the idea of showcasing Australian art informed by history, culture, craft, ceremony and tradition, the exhibition offers a diverse array of artefacts that document a wide range of indigenous practice. As a multifaceted show you can expect to see paintings, sculpture, installation, animation, prints and photography. As a whole, the exhibition stands as a tribute to an artistic and cultural transition from the historical into the contemporary.
Credit must be given to Continuum for it’s ability to fuse completely different types of art under one roof without losing an overarching narrative. What remains at the centre of the exhibition, no matter what work you’re looking at, is the motif of the term Indigenous representing much more than only one genre of art. In other words, Continuum, by purposely collating a number of different artistic styles by a number of different artists, is successful in giving us an extensive snapshot of the many forms and techniques used to pay homage to our country’s ancestors.
This being all well and good, there is one aspect to the exhibition that seems to fall below par. Unfortunately, there’s just a little too much to take in all at once. With such a wide range of work on offer, you might find yourself skimming over certain works, which in turn jeopardises the memorability factor when it comes to individual pieces. This is not to say that the exhibition is incoherent, but rather to suggest that it is a little overwhelming. Alongside this, there is no wall text to keep us in check, so there is the constant obligation of having to refer back to your catalogue essay to fully understand what you’re looking at.
Overall, Continuum reaches a new level when it comes to redefining the relevance of Indigenous art in a contemporary context. The exhibition does a sterling job of getting us thinking about how traditional practices, in no matter what shape or form, can provide new expressions of thought that tell stories of family, friends and personal histories.
Continuum is currently showing at The Paper Mill Gallery, Angel Place and runs until the 2nd of April.