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Dianne Jones is an emerging Australian photo-media artist whose work deals with indigenous identity and cultural history. Jones was first exhibited at Niagara as part of the 2002 Unsigned Artists show. In this exhibition, she presented a number of reproductions of classic Australian paintings with pointed interventions. In Tom Roberts' Shearing of the Rams , her father and cousin are amongst the workers. In a John Glover landscape, a photo taken at a family picnic is inserted.
In her most recent work, Jones focuses on the small group of Australian photographs that have properly infiltrated the public consciousness. These images, which include Max Dupain's Sunbaker and David Moore's Meat queue , have come to function as symbols for Australian identity. Jones has made her relationship to these images public through a cute sleight of hand. She has literally inserted herself into the works, making space for her cheeky and irreverent responses. With humour and personality, Jones lets herself mingle, meeting suburban mums of the 40s, swimming with the larrikin boys of the 50s and embracing the glamour of the 60s. In these works, Jones makes the audience aware of the cultural homogeneity of certain visual histories, while showing how we can start to create a new history that's inclusive rather than exclusive. Indigenous experience is no longer excluded.
Dianne Jones completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Edith Cowan University, Western Australia, in 2000. Her work has been included in numerous group exhibitions in Australia and overseas, and is included in the collections of National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Monash University Museum of Art and the National Gallery of Australia.
I have used icons of Australia to reposition representation of indigenous people. Paintings by iconic artists Tom Roberts and Eugene Von Geurard often portrayed a romantic idea of Australia which was a peaceful, fat and wealthy land under endless blue skies. When indigenous people were painted it was all too often as part of the flora and fauna and without names or identities, insignificantly fading into the background. When white Australians were recorded either in paintings or written history they were always given names and some information about them and so I have positioned my family as the main focus of the paintings and given them an identity and importance that indigenous people were not afforded. My family and I did not match the images that I was seeing in history books or artworks.
Dianne Jones 2001
Sean is an active member of the Melbourne art scene, having been involved in the influential 1 st Floor and holding a studio at Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces. He held his first solo exhibition at Niagara Galleries in 2003 which received interest and enthusiasm from critics and collectors alike.
In his work, Meilak examines our tendency to invest personal meaning in the most unassuming of objects and places. A well known series by the artist depicts Pin Oak Court, the street that serves as a backdrop for the iconic television show Neighbours . In his presentation of these familiar facades of Australian suburbia, Meilak shows how we project value and meaning on to familiar, though fundamentally blank, objects. In this work, Meilak contends that ideas of family, friendship and community are precarious and abstract concepts.
For his exhibition at Niagara in 2003, The Way We Live Today , Meilak produced a series of gouaches and a DVD portraying artists and friends and the interiors they inhabit. In this work, Meilak styled his subjects, presenting them as the embodiment of an unattainable and enviable lifestyle. The preserve of the young and gifted. The DVD shows photos of the subjects slowly fading into their gouache portraits. This work highlights the soap opera undercurrents, revealing an affinity with the gauche characterisation of The Bold and the Beautiful . This body of work both reinforces and questions the lifestyle fantasy.
Sean's work has been presented in numerous group and solo exhibitions. His work is also included in the collection of the National Gallery of Victoria.
Opening drinks at the special time of FRIDAY 14 January at 6.00pm