Black Canyon is proud to present CURSES – a group exhibition at OKLA in Collingwood, Melbourne, Australia.
CURSES brings together the work of 5 prolific young graphic artists – Nathan Alexis Brown (Canada), Georgia Hill (Sydney), James McKenna (Perth), Sean Morris (Melbourne), and Melissa Grisancich (Melbourne.) It’s a celebration of both grim and delicate art spanning painting, prints, sculpture, animation and murals. Curator Sean Morris took time to talk to Damo.
What was the concept and the brief to the artists?
All of the group exhibitions that I’ve curated up until now – the 3 Magic Weirdos shows, the Black Canyon shows with Tom, and the Kingbrown Mag launches – have been pretty big, at least 20 artists. The Kingbrown Perth show in March had 60 artists. I wanted to change it up and work on something smaller and less planned out, where the artists had more room to flex. There was no brief, but I encouraged everyone to explore installation work if they were up for it. We’ve ended up with a mix of paintings, drawings, print work, sculpture, animation and murals.
How did you go about choosing who was involved in the show?
All these guys have just been impressing me so much over the last year… I had a little mental list ticking over, and there was something about Nathan, Melissa, James and Georgia’s styles that just seemed to fit together so well. They do what I would call dark art, but not in a familiar or obvious way. They use different methods – text, icons, narrative – but all their work kind of gives me a strange heavy feeling – it’s beautiful but ominous at the same time.
That’s also the sort of effect I’d love to create with my own art, so I decided to put myself in the show and push to make work that nailed that vibe as well.
Can you tell us a bit more about your piece in the show?
I’ve made 2 large banners covered in line drawings of animal attacks, impalement and burning cars. I wanted to draw a bunch of creepy, violent stuff but handle it in a restrained, icon-based way.
What art do you most identify with?
When there’s a crossover between the illustrative and the figurative. For whatever reason, most of my favourite art is drawings of people. But I do get pretty stoked on good lettering.
You are known for the shows you curate as well as your art. If you could curate a show with anyone, who would it include?
Moebius, Marcel Dzama, Makato Aida, Takato Yamamoto, Milo Manara, David Hockney, Charles Burns. And maybe like 50 other people. I hope they’re all good at answering emails.
What’s the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
It’s still ‘learn to say no’ – you don’t have to do everything you get asked to! Do the projects that feel right; stay focused on what it is you really want.
CURSES opens September 4 at 6pm for one week only!