Bachelor of Fine Art, MADA
By Carla Abate
Late nights in the studio, hand-rolled ciggies, shoplifting art supplies. These rituals—all seeming hallmarks of a Melbourne art school education—emerge in the pursuit to develop an art practice, amongst a community of others doing the same. The 2023 Monash Bachelor of Fine Art graduate exhibition, on display upstairs at MADA, epitomises a cumulation of these shared experiences.
Systematically nailed across the entirety of a wall in the walkway, Charlotte Camilleri Pattison’s Hot Takings (2023) is a mixed media installation consisting of drunken reflections, personal photographs, used coffee cups, printed screenshots of viral tik-tok videos, and backyard dirt contained in a labelled zip lock bag. In the centre of the wall there is text projected. Reminiscent of a journal entry, this text appears as though it is being typed in real time as the viewer reads along. The artist describes subjective moments of intellectual, artistic, and personal life, transformed for public consumption. Thereby underscoring the tension between the artist’s desire to recover and restore intimacy to the human experience, constrained by our current era of capitalist realism. In this, the familiar becomes something to be re-examined.
As if working in relation to Pattison, LUKA also explores the artefacts of the everyday within eight artworks labelled Untitled (2023). Isolated within a corner of the gallery space are several sculptures and assemblages consisting of found materials. A granny trolley stands heavy—it has been filled solid with concrete and embellished with a tiled mosaic. On the floor to the right of the trolley is a glass cast of a telecom manhole-cover, which lies on a piece of artificial turf. These seemingly unremarkable objects suggest a kind of weirdly quotidian facadism where surfaces are always objects that are less remarkable than what they obscure. In daring to use identifiable objects and altering their form, LUKA is challenging their existence within the conventions of the gallery space. Here, reconfigured hard rubbish has an insistently comfy home in the art school gallery space.
Back out in the hall, Caitlyn Stone’s Untitled (2023) comprises a sheet of handmade paper adhered to a canvas that is painted pink. Undergoing a similar process of converting mundane material into art, its immediate surface features text in the form of receipts and other repurposed scrap paper. By combining traditional paper-making processes with experimental printing methods, Stone is reaffirming the contemporary relevance of these practices while simultaneously addressing the difficulty of validating this kind of paper as a medium within the context of the gallery.
Across a period of three years, students evolve into emerging artists. Everyday encounter becomes an integral part of this process, which is translated directly through material immediacy in the works of Pattison, LUKA and Stone. Across the exhibition and as demonstrated by these artists, there is a sense of grappling with the intersection between art and life, and perhaps coming to terms with the inevitably of these boundaries becoming blurred.
Carla Abate is an emerging arts worker, writer, and curator based in Naarm. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Art History from The University of Melbourne. Carla’s interests lie at the intersection between community development, radical practise, and the arts.