Hour of Power with 3 new exhibitions at Casula Powerhouse

“For our next round of exciting exhibitions, it’s all about power, power, power… and we’ve got a massive line-up of exhibitions from renowned artists to match!” said Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre Director, Craig Donarski with the upcoming unveiling of three exhibitions from renowned contemporary artists.

Creator, a collection of boundary-pushing sculptures by Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran.  The omnipresent phallus – in clay, bronze or neon – is for Nithiyendran a mere rhetorical device, an object of ridicule deprived of its power. Daniel Browning explores this in great detail in an essay attempting to decode the visual language of the artist.  He observes the female body being represented as a site of erotic and visual consumption, the sexualised male body consciously edited out of Western visual culture, deepening its power and obscenity.  In this way Nithiyendran’s use of the phallus is political and subversive because it challenges the power of heteronormativity and the implied heterosexual male gaze.

CPAC Ramesh.001
            Ramesh Mario Nithiyendran: (Figures Left to Right) – Snake Headpiece, Head of Snakes glaze & resin, Phallus Crown

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Generally speaking, the phallus stands for misogyny, patriarchy and heteronormativity.  When we think about places where it is worshipped, it helps to consider the contexts as quite flat. There are forms of it in pop culture, billboards, magazines, on your phone, in temples and churches.”  describes Nithiyendran.
Interregnum is a provocative exploration of coal power by Penelope Cain. It considers a linked series of extinctions, the power-shifting period between rulers, it’s structures and is a timely exploration of coal power in Australia,

2. Penelope Cain If History Was Writen by the Victors (detail), 2019 Image courtesy of artist
Penelope Cain: If History Was Written by the Victors

“In 2017 Australia mined 481 million tonnes of coal from the Gondwanaland legacy. Coal is the compressed energy outcome of plant photosynthesis; the conversion of light energy to chemical energy through the evo- lutionary magic of chlorophyl molecules, creating plant-based carbon from atmospheric CO2. In steam-pow- ered generators, coal is crushed and burned, relinquishing that stored chemical energy, and releasing CO2 back into the air.”  explains Cain.,  “The released thermal energy heats water to steam, rotating generator blades which in turn rotates a copper coil inside a magnet, and following thermodynamic principles, via the physics of electromagnetism, converts the energy of motion into electrical energy. These alchemically complex systems of energy transfer enable the conversion of 150 million year-old sunlight to light from a bulb. From power to power.  The majority of NSW electricity is produced by coal, releasing 36% of the state’s total greenhouse gas emis- sions. Almost all state-owned generators were sold to private hands from 2010 onwards by successive NSW governments, just over 100 years since the first coal-fired power-station was switched on in Pyrmont in 1908. At 5 pm on that day, the Mayor’s wife turned a golden key that switched on the electrical circuit, and lights went on for the first time through the CBD grid, to the wonderment and applause of the party gath- ered by the coal loader.”

Anatomies by Robert Hague, as part of his 2016 Blake Established Artists Residency.

Hague.001
Robert Hague: (Left & Right) What Father Knew is made of stainless steel, Crush II a digital print. Featured Article Image: Surrender (after Pussy Riot) – Hand coloured lithograph on cotton rag paper

In unpacking the works of Anatomies, Dr. Andrew Frost observes Hague’s key works since 2013 which chart the emergence of the human form, as well as a progression toward tactile surfaces, the sculptures now commonly featuring welded lines, divots and scratches.   But along with this evolution in form, the meaning of Hague’s art has also become more complex: the artist is interested in the themes of trauma and breaks – social, cultural and artistic – and thus the work in this exhibition is perhaps not only more explicable, but along with a more conceptual approach, the artist has let in a host of potential readings.

Hague’s exhibition spans a diverse range of mediums from marble and steel sculptures, to video installation, borrowing classical Western art techniques to tell jarring and uncomfortable stories of our national history.

The three artists will attend the launch this Saturday 30 March from 2-4m to introduce their compelling new works, alongside complementary canapes served up by Bellbird Dining + Bar – who recently launched a brand new seasonal brunch menu.

Event Details:
What: March Exhibition Launch
When: All three exhibitions run from 30 March – 12 May 2019.
Where: Casula Powerhouse, 1 Powerhouse Road, Casula NSW 2170 (don’t forget, Casula has its own train station!)
Price: FREE

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