Sarah Keighery & Billy Gruner
What is Post Formalism – La Vie Ensemble
02.11.22 – 19.11.22

The body of constructed works comes from two makers with individual works and collaborations to consider, done in various iterations over the last 20 years at a local, national, and international level.

In starting out together as contemporary art makers they founded artist led projects such as MOP, SNO, MAP, later RNOP and West Projects amongst others abroad. In an expanded practice an understanding of post 20th Century reductive art was envisioned, and a network of associations developed that considerably shaped their current positions. Terms like ‘flat platform’, ‘nonobjectform’, ‘post formalism’ or ‘generic aesthetic response’ became meaningful in their reductive art practices. Language that became embedded within new work being made that was NOT described as abstract nor minimalist. Criticism came but also the rediscovery of the value of ‘homage’ and credence implicit within the exploration of other ‘artistic coteries’; an interconnectedness via shared dialogic within an art-critically demanding century.

In the title two phrases are used, one a question. The first announces a proposition related to why a vast movement in reductive art became a significant language of post 20th Century art making in general, despite a silence in the art critical world – where no explanation is given for that arrival. The second part relates to a life together, or life lived. Self-explanatory.

The works presented at vary from themes mapped out such as the ‘Line Series’ by Keighery, temporal painting based objectworks using paint-ish substances (coconut, food dyes, polenta, squid ink). Or collaborative punk works of Gruner and Keighery on art board, this shows’ using chocolate sauce. Gruner’s various works include early painted objects (electric tape reconsidering a rendition of DeStijl or, other Arte Povera themes. What they do present in a new reading one that is NOT attempting to appropriate rather the opposite is part of a history ongoing, same but different.

The other installation includes the Collective Monochromes done in 35 cities over a decade where visitors participate and become co-owners of a public work. The Italian curator Tilman stated… “The Collective Monochrome is an ongoing international contemporary art project or, publicly assisted contemporary artwork designed to give audiences the opportunity to experience a post 20th Century art practice and engage with visual and philosophical outcomes”. The curator suggests identity is questioned by the artwork, its intent for all not given. Despite this opacity a new work appears out of a repositioning, a post 20th Century work of contemporary art appears.

Another featured installation the ‘Punk Studios’ is created by the artists for others to use during an exhibition for their purpose. A series inspired by building lessons given to Gruner from aboriginal musician Graham Davis King on the tradition of Ngurra construction. Later transformed by an architect into a contemporary model on architecture, an intersection in making within contemporary art has been reconstructed over multiple presentations of the same low-cost segments.

There is an ‘Art and Architecture’ theme reverberating throughout the works underlining the artists interests in a style that is unique. As Gruner states… “my work is noisy, unlike traditional non-objective art, historically speaking”. Further described as, “just post 20th Century reductive art”.

An exhibition of temporal studio works by Sarah Keighery, and studio works and installation art featuring the ‘Punk Studio’ setting + guest performances. Also, a collaborative work, and the publicly assisted ‘Collective Monochrome no.36’ will be created by visitors and guests.

(click to enlarge)