The Curtain Breathed Deeply is an expansive new commission by Sydney-based artist Justene Williams. The exhibition will transform the entirety of the Artspace galleries into a determinedly chaotic, immersive and inter-related sequence of installations. Her largest and most ambitious undertaking to date, The Curtain Breathed Deeply will seduce visitors into and through a spectrum of hypnotising sets and video installations abounding in sensory overload and cacophony.
In The Curtain Breathed Deeply Williams melds references from art history – Picasso, Leger and Kahlo – with a range of everyday pop cultural influences including hip hop music, Milli Vanilli and A Chorus Line. In a series of choreographed performative videos the artist blends together references drawing on rituals of Shamanism, Voodooism and Modernist primitivism. Williams amasses together a collection of visual and aural curiosities through a wealth of patterns, colours, textures and tonalities, many of which draw from the artist’s own childhood. Calling upon memories of her father’s wrecking yard, her childhood training in dance, and her experiences constructing elaborate retail window displays, Williams uses found objects and waste materials to create dazzling theatrical environments.
Justene Williams (lives and works in Sydney) has exhibited widely throughout Australia and internationally. Selected solo exhibitions include: Handbag Hammer Meditation, La Centrale Galerie Powerhouse, Montréal, 2013; Static Ballet, Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney, 2013; She came over signing like a drainpipe shaking spoon infused mixers, a public work for Christchurch Art Gallery, 2013; Turnstile Heaped on Pour Down, St Paul St Gallery, AUT Auckland University, 2012; and BIGHEAD GARBAGEFACE GUARDS GHOST DERR SONATA, Contemporary Project Space, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, 2009. Selected group exhibitions include: Playtime, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, 2013; We used to talk about love, Balnaves Contemporary: Photomedia, Art Gallery of New South Wales, 2013; Contemporary Australia: Women, Gallery of Modern Art | Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane, 2012; New11, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2011; Short Sharp Shocks, Barbican, London, 2011; and Adelaide Biennial, Art Gallery of South Australia, 2010. Her work is held in numerous collections including the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, National Gallery of Australia and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. She is represented by Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney.
Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts, WA
16 September - 30 October 2016
Bunbury Regional Art Gallery, WA
19 November 2016 - 22 January 2017
Northern Centre for Contemporary Art, NT
10 February - 26 March 2017
Goulburn Regional Art Gallery, NSW
26 May - 8 July 2017
Griffith Regional Art Gallery, NSW
28 July - 17 September 2017
Ipswich Art Gallery, QLD
7 October - 29 October 2017
Bega Valley Regional Gallery, NSW
1 December 2017 - 28 January 2018
Tamworth Regional Gallery, NSW
9 February - 25 March 2018
Lismore Regional Gallery, NSW
12 May - 24 June 2018
Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, NSW
25 August – 11 November 2018
The generous bequest of the Catalyst: Katherine Hannay Visual Arts Commission has enabled Artspace to support Williams in the production of this forthcoming major new work at a pivotal moment in her career. The artist has been working in a dedicated Artspace studio on the production of this significant commission since early 2014. Artspace in collaboration with Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) will produce an artist monograph on her work in 2015 as a part of the commission.