2 August 2019

From a White Ground opened tonight

Open 11am-5pm Fri-Sun 3-18 August

From a White Ground (detail: Left: Nicole Ellis; Right: Barbara Halnan)

Lisa Sharp,
Tabula Rasa for two: time and tempo

If I were to say to you, or you to me, I come from a white ground, what would we see in our minds’ eye? I may see an ancient place where bleached ruins and relics lie partly buried by shifting white sands. Or snow. You might see shimmering spectral forms approaching the present from afar, the scene as indistinct as an overexposed mirage in blinding light. A whiteout. Extremes. Desert heat. Polar cold. Silence. A place, or space, where the elements of ground and light are foremost. For visual artists though, the exhibition title’s reference to unmarked white ground is the classical material beginning. It means a freshly primed canvas, a crisp sheet of blank paper, a lump of unformed clay, with all the expansive potential of unexpressed pictorial expression locked into a surface of blank and impassive whiteness. For a painter a white ground is the first layer, an underlying source of light and luminosity that can be returned to, to let light in, during the making of a painting. For a printmaker white is the negative ground, the space untouched by impression or ink.

A white ground is also a tabula rasa, the Latin term literally meaning a scraped tablet, a used and reused surface, marked and then scraped back, bearing as history all the incomplete residues of past messages. This makes it all the more appropriate to describe the continual development and communication of the abstract visual language common to the practices of Nicole Ellis and Barbara Halnan. In this joint exhibition From a White Ground they present new works, developed separately yet linked by their ongoing dialogue with white ground. Each set out to investigate the role and meaning of white ground by allowing it a certain primacy as their works emerged from and engaged with it. The rasa action, of scraping back, provides a telling analogy for Ellis’ textile collages on canvas, which rely more on innate materiality than intervention to convey meaning. In Ellis’ work the white ground appears in two states; the initial white of canvas, recognisable as every painter’s beginning, but also in the subsequent over painting in white, which is never solid but is often abraded and in doing so stands for the passage of time.  Conceptually, the philosophical notion of tabula rasa as a blank state of mind open to the reception of empirical sensation is perhaps more descriptive of Halnan’s work, based on arithmetic units and patterned sequences of progression, tone and scale. Each artist explores the concept with rigour and also a certain austerity such that, when seen together, the works come From a White Ground in ways that function both as asceticism and aesthetic.

Ellis’ Light Ground series consists of 6 identically sized rectangular canvasses, each one named and developed around a particular muted hue; purple, grey, brown, red, gold and pink. Pursuing her longstanding interest in found colour, found shape and the repurposing of textiles, remnants and offcuts of manufactured decorator fabrics are laid down in rectilinear constructions and combined with areas of paint and other markings. The textile pieces and other elements are placed according to the rectilinearity of a grid, referencing the historical traditions of concrete and constructivist art. The effect is also to eschew the movement and dynamism of diagonals in favour of structure and consolidation, slowing down and pacing the viewing. In Ellis’ work the hand is restrained in favour of materiality, and what a poignant material story is told. These carefully salvaged pieces with their scarred and degraded surfaces convey the passing of time with every overlapping layer of fabric, each partly obscured design, each echoed pattern, each familiar motif. Like turning the pages in a book, they build a sense of time and of loss. As many of the designs are derived from domestic offcuts, the narration deviates into the personal suggesting once familiar living spaces, curtains and upholstery of recent memory. Beyond the personal though is the knowledge that textiles have since ancient times been such rich sources of social history, meaning and making.

In Halnan’s works, the white ground acts as that clean slate, a renewed and primal state with forms, structures and patterns rising up from it, establishing and building the composition up from the ground. There is a sense of orderly and decisive movement yet, also beneath the purpose, something tentative, as if testing the stability of ground for the first time. While the titles of Halnan’s works, Wandering and Meander suggest an equivocal journey; others like Numbers and Faultline evoke precision and systems. The rectilinear grid is referenced again, with works where 9 and then 25 individual panels function as discreet elements of a whole square. Within the square, elements of line, texture and colour riff and repeat the pattern. The equivocation, like a melody, is contained in the hand drawn lines of graphite and in the delicate and sparing use of colour, only pale yellow and silver-grey, like shadow or reflected light. Textures when present are tenuous, in a barely raised edge, a rippling of surface, soft as sawdust swallowed into paint. Geometry is very much in play, with motifs repeated, flipped and reversed. Halnan’s crafting takes these constructions to crisp precision. Notably, in each work there is some element of relief; either within the work itself or between the work and the wall. This modelling, lightly done invites the viewer to perceive actual space within the work, and so creates a lifting off from white ground, a lightness.

If we were to walk on white ground through that bleached and ancient place we first imagined, visibility would be reduced and other senses heightened. Similarly, the priority given to the role of white by Ellis and Halnan in this exhibition enables other formal elements and long held interests in their practices to come to the fore. If white is about beginnings, a new page and a freshly scraped wax tablet then Halnan’s work, based so fluently on rhythm, scale and order rises from it like a piece of music. And if that was a beginning, then Ellis’ work with its pieced layers of loss and erasure is evocative of endings, of the action of time and memory having passed over, leaving only material traces.

Lisa Sharp
July 2019

28 July 2019

From a White Ground opens Friday 2 August 6-8pm

Open Fri-Sat 11am-5pm  3 - 18 August

From a white ground is a joint exhibition by Nicole Ellis and Barbara Halnan,  questioning the place or role of the white ground in their recent works.  By putting emphasis on the primary existence of the white ground the artists look at the connections between their different practices that emerge from this point of departure.

Halnan has been working on white canvases or panels incorporating texture and subtle colour. She uses multiple panels of various sizes to create four different works, which look at numbers, line and form and incorporate elements of low relief.

Ellis’ textile-based collages use offcuts and pieces of fabric left over from earlier works. The surfaces are marked with paint and other chance details, which indicate previous activity. The muted colours on the white ground create space and a luminance which destabilizes the forms and enforces the negative spaces.

Nicole Ellis, Light Ground (brown) 2018, fabric and acrylic paint on canvas, 76.2 x 55.8 cm 

Barbara Halnan Wandering 2019. Nine panels, each 21x21 cm form a grid approx. 75x75 cm. Acrylic, collage and applied texture on MDF panels.


15 July 2019

Archeological Survey: Inner West Sydney Sector to Outback Beyond - opening 6-8pm Friday 26 July

Luke Power

Open 11am - 5pm Sat 27-Sun 28 July

project space project #18

Luke Power Texting Home (2019). Paper collage, street posters.
Sliced, diced, ripped and torn: layer upon layer of paper exposed 

and transformed as discarded street posters become works of art. 

Graphic art, the language of advertising, concepts around cultural events, memory, place, home, and belonging are fragmented and arranged in collaged assemblages. 

Thick layers of large posters ripped off walls – popular, political and cultural messages for the masses, are dissected into circular samples and integrated with other artefacts [rusty car parts, video imagery, plant and soil matter from Central Australia]. The pop posters are a peephole, a liminal zone, disrupting the misnomer ‘wilderness’ which harks back to the Terra Nullius declaration by colonial populations. 

Raymond Haines, the French conceptual assemblage artist (1926-2005), collected Venice Biennale street posters in the 60s and 70s,  showing the beauty of decayed surfaces and the history of layered paper 'collated over time' by random event organisers. His retrospective exhibition of these collages in the 2017 Venice Biennale was mesmerising. Fast forward to the 90s, and New Zealand-born Australian artist, Rosalie Gascoigne, playfully cuts up black and yellow road work signs, shuffles them into a two tone, joyful jumble of text and line through sculptural imagery.

Artworks developed for Archeological Survey: Inner West Sydney Sector extends these processes to expose our memories, connecting country to city - morĂ©s, materiality, languages - our ephemeral ‘footprints’. 

2 July 2019

Laine Hogarty - Industry of parts

Opening event Friday 12 July 6-8pm

Open 11am-5pm 13-14 July

project space project #17

Extending on an earlier work called “democracy of parts", Laine's installation in ArticulateUpstairs reflects on the impermanency of art production. Manoeuvring reclaimed materials, through the space as a roving canvas, she references the site and also her intuitive connection to the project space as an exploratory art laboratory.

The artwork has no specific final or intended form nor any particular function except to reference its location and any feelings or experiences that may arise in the space. Visitors to the project space are invited to engage in the movement of the parts as a process of play to contribute to the production of the work. 

At the finale of the project the documented findings will be displayed as an animated sequence of images that reference the process which has no final intent other than to map the space.

Articulate began the project space project as an experiment with exhibition practice in which artists develop artwork in a space over a 2 week period, leaving any decision about if or when to open it to visitors to later in that period. The purpose is to support the development of artwork that acknowledges the place in which it is located by being largely conceived and constructed there. See earlier project space projects here. 

Laine Hogarty Untitled 2019

18 May 2019

The Modern Danse opened last night

Open Fri-Sun 11am - 5pm 18 May - 2 June

Artist's talks: 2pm Sunday 2 June
Closing event: 3-5pm Sunday 2 June

The Modern Danse comes from an enjoyment of novels of the 18th and 19th centuries – in this case, novels by women authors. I’m interested in the way the literary narrative forms of the time: the romance, gothic, epistolary, pastoral, coming of age and drawing room dramas offer insights into attitudes and customs in Western societies of the period and in how these might operate as a counter-point for reflections on circumstances in the present day.

12 May 2019

Anne Kay - The Modern Danse

Opening event: Friday 17 May 2019, 6-8pm

Open Fri-Sun 11am - 5pm 18 May - 2 June

Artist's talks: 2pm Sunday 2 June
Closing event: 3-5pm Sunday 2 June

The Modern Danse comes from an enjoyment of novels of the 18th and 19th centuries – in this case, novels by women authors. I’m interested in the way the literary narrative forms of the time: the romance, gothic, epistolary, pastoral, coming of age and drawing room dramas offer insights into attitudes and customs in Western societies of the period and in how these might operate as a counter-point for reflections on circumstances in the present day. 

Anne Kay, The Modern Danse (installation detail)

21 April 2019

Vsevolod Vlaskine's rivers of tomorrow opens Friday 26 April 6-8pm

Open 11-5pm 27 April - 12 May

Artist's talk: Sunday 12 May 3-5pm (in conjunction with artists from Place and Image)


rivers of tomorrow, selections from three photographic series

Vsevolod Vlaskine, rivers of tomorrow (detail) 2019

Flow is something alien to the human movement. Due to its skeletal structure, the mechanics of the human body does not allow flow in its motion, its nature being contraction, extension, and rotation. Flowing movement mostly is either a poetic metaphor or a highly controlled, culturally conditioned imitation as in rituals, dance, or some sports like gymnastics or martial displays, which often would be associated with performing arts. 

The bloodstream, neurotransmission waves, or breathed air constantly run through us, but we have a very limited or no direct access to or control of them. The awareness of those aspects of our physicality comes from the practices distanced from human subjectivity: science on one hand, and on the other, endeavours of controlled following, oriental concentration systems like yoga, taijiquan, or meditation, as well as certain dance regimens like Bodyweather. 

However, in an attempt to take control out of equation, I have been trying to move beyond the point of observation, introspection, or performance. One thing that perhaps is given to us seemingly with no mediation is the perceptual inflow. Among the still imagery, the landscape form offers itself as a flow, since apart from its representational and structural aspects, it can be deliberately shaped to present an unobstructed movement of the eyes glancing across it. 

In-flow of senses and following the movement are combined with the stasis: what does the presence of the river mean? (And as an aside, what is the presence of Australian ephemeral rivers?) For another type of stream: what is the presence of time? What does the stasis of time mean to us? If the landscape could guide us through imperceptibly, once we submit to it, it may also happen that at some point we get a glimpse of something that was not there before, a sight of rivers of tomorrow.

Vsevolod Vlaskine Rivers of Tomorrow 2019


photographs, giclee prints, hahnemuehle archival paper, 59.5x42cm, 2014

The photos of the moonrivers series came about through reliquishing control over the picture, subject, or movement. My main interest was in the spacial and temporal presense of human body, however any specific state of mind evoked
during the production was not to inform the content of the images, but to maintain the state of no control over them. The photographic sessions and postprocessing were based on two minimal mechanical protocols. 

The moonrivers series builds upon the same visual material as in the work previously done in collaboration with a choreographer and dancer Tess de Quincey, which was based on introspective Bodyweather techniques. Those images acted as records of short orbits or syllables circumscribed by the human body in its interaction with the place and light. The moonrivers try to go beyond the content of those early records towards the investigation of forms of flow to which we are exposed.

The moonrivers connect body, which is a part of me and yet out of my control and does not correspond to anything in my mind even subconsciously, to the flow of landscape or a map through the mediation of light of the full moon and
working out a routine of trivial motions. My movement protocols evolved from various motion patterns including Bodyweather exercises. Gradually, I reduced my intentional body dynamics to the bare minimum of control and

In the same way as the actual corporeal flows barely make any immediate sense to us, I tried to reduce the internal content of the images to zero. Instead of construction, the moonrivers series is based on selection external to it. Any other seeming connotations are external, too (and therefore language-related in Saussurean sense): flow, rivers, rivers on the moon, the moonrivers, an accidental link to Mancini's song, the Moon as a dead waterless celestial body, nostalgic absence, including nostalgic absence of oneself.

egology of light

photographs, giclee prints, hahnemuehle archival paper, 59.5x42cm, 2016

In the West, at least since Plato's time, ego and self-perception have been connected to the Platonic light that illuminates the things as they are, emanating either from God or from Nature, mostly imperceptible or impossible to look at, but making everything else visible to the human. The ability to see things illuminated by the light defines the classical notion of ego. The higher availability of light-producing devices and mirrors in the late Middle Ages enhanced the ability of seeing that contributed to the emerging classical ways of thinking.

The classical ways of thinking put ego in the centre as the observer in the position of power. That's what I learned once, though: in the mid-19th century, a round watchtower was put in the middle of Darlinghurst Gaol in Sydney as a
panopticon, a point of perfect and total surveilance, but they quickly found that its position was extremely vulnerable and the building was converted into a chapel, preserving it as a symbolic centre, since the material one was
indefensible. This makes me wonder whether the Western ego is besieged by its nature.

The modernity is gluttony of light. Once the needs of knowledge, production, and surveillance are satiated, the light retreats: it is there not to dispel darkness and open to the sight, but to be seen in the night as a signal or source of
amusement, attraction or diversion. It is not a new role: lighthouses and other maritime lights have been utilized for mapping and navigation. They do not feed one's ego by exposing and presenting to him objects and pictures. Instead,
they allow someone whose soul is dissolved in indeterminacy of night to make his way.

Taking photos of the series, I was pointing my camera at the lights installed for entertainment. They were not meant to illuminate. Due to the set up, I could afford only very small motions, which required minimum of control and maximum of concentration on the light to avoid any tension. On such a small scale, my motions hardly could be purposeful gestures, but rather variations in breathing, squeezing the flesh of my palms, or slight rebalancing of my feet - a sort of navigation through my body attracted to the light.

rivers of tomorrow that don’t flow yet

photographs, giclee prints, hahnemuehle archival paper, 59.5x42cm, 2018

rivers of tomorrow that don’t flow yet is a series of photostencils. I was quickly putting together small make-shift models outdoor. Although I had some degree of control over the construction, the less I exercised it the more interesting
the result were. Each of the installations lasted just for a minute or so. Sun, heat, and wind introduced variations into the set and made modelling and taking photos difficult at times. There was a mechanical rule-based post-processing done on the original images.

These bits of paper architecture could pass or block the light and cast shadows, creating in the image fractured placeholders, absent structures that could accept, or store, or pass through like urban voids, or dry riverbeds, or places
for new rivers to enter and stay. These empty passages and broken cross sections might become conduits of streams in future or remain barren and, if the latter, then how does time relate to them without becoming suspended and partial?

The skeleton of the city or a terrain is nothing like the skeleton of an animal. Through the way it is formed and persists, it eventually is there to stay and pass through - to make flows possible. Is it similar to the light enabling seeing? Or it is about possibilities through constraints? Does it also make time possible? Perhaps not the physical time, but the conditions under which time could be perceived at all, meaning that the stasis of the place exchanges with the structures of the flows (and of time), as opposed to the changes caused by them.

When I worked with the models and photostencils of the series, the systems of geometrical openings that emerged were not anthropomorhic in form or content and neigther were they purpose-built with an objective as "grub"/"sustenance".
Rather, those forms allowed me to inhabit their configurations, aligning myself with their tensions and relationships, memories that my body would keep without my knowing it.

Vsevolod Vlaskine, 2019

Eva Simmons' project

' project

Photos by Eva Simmons

2 April 2019

Eva Simmons - project space project #16

Eva Simmons plans to work in ArticulateUpstairs during 2-22 April as the 16th project space project,at the same time as the 15th project space project on the groundfloor of articulate.  See her earlier work at Articulate here and here.  No opening dates are planned at this stage.

Eva Simmons Anorgasmia Articulate 2018 

8 March 2019

Social Conscience opened tonight, with artists talks tomorrow at 3pm

Clancy Gibson and Matthew Newkirk

Open 11am - 5pm Fri - Sun 9 - 24 March

Saturday 9 March 3-5pm: Evan Pank and Matthew Newkirk
Sunday 17 March 3-5pm:  Chloe Granato-sing  and Clancy Gibson

5 March 2019

Social Conscience opens 6-8pm Friday 8 March 2019

Clancy Gibson and Matthew Newkirk

Open 11am - 5pm Fri - Sun 9 - 24 March

Opening night with local politicians present: Friday 8 March 6-8pm

Artists' Talks: 
Saturday 9 March 3-5pm: Evan Pank and Matthew Newkirk
Sunday 17 March 3-5pm:  Chloe Granato-sing  and Clancy Gibson and activist group speaker

Other events:
Saturday 23 March from 1pm:  poster workshop with Chloe Granato-sing and Evan Pank, with a protest/activist group speaker

Saturday 16 and Sunday 24 March: look back here for details

Society today can be hard to navigate. The media, often driven by political agendas, bark orders at the population daily. Growth and commerce at any cost has become a mantra. Often, the natural world takes second place to profit margins. “Social Conscience (TBA)” looks to examine this worrying trend and remind the viewer that we are responsible and accountable for all that occurs. As artists we have a sense of responsibility and concern for the problems and injustices of society today, and an obligation to expose them and offer solutions.

Gibson and Newkirk, both printmakers, will utilise their own creative approach to explore political, environmental and societal issues in a collaborative exhibition.  This exhibition will also complement Democratic Engagement by Chloe Granato-sing and Evan Pank, that will run concurrently in the ground floor project space.

Clancy Gibson Plastic River 2018

22 February 2019

In Situ opened last night

Adi O’Hara, Belinda Wincote and Jo Morrow

Open 11am-5pm 23-4 February 2019

17 February 2019

In Situ opens Friday 22 February 6-8pm

Adi O’Hara, Belinda Wincote and Jo Morrow

Open 11am-5pm 23-4 February 2019

The opening of In Situ this coming Friday 22nd February is the culmination of a three-week project undertaken by Adi O’Hara, Belinda Wincote and Jo Morrow. The artists have used the project space of ArticulateUpstairs as a platform for investigating the properties of form, and colour, shape and shadow, within the architectural structure of the building. Notions of how we negotiate space and the relative accessibility of different art forms have also preoccupied the artists. The result is a series of affectionately termed ‘Trash Tapestries’ that have evolved over the weeks in a process of paint application, erasure, cutting and stitching. It is no metaphor to say that a fair amount of blood, sweat and tears has gone into the project; not least of all due to needlepoint injury, a steamy weather forecast, and general hilarity. During their time at Articulate, the artists have documented their process in photograph and time-lapse video. Some of these images will be on display at opening night

We hope you can join us!


In Situ in progress, 2019

2 February 2019

Opening Friday 22 February - Jo Morrow, Adi O'Hara and Belinda Wincote

In Situ

Opening Friday 22nd February 6-8pm

Open Saturday 23rd – Sunday 24th February, 11am - 5pm

In Situ is an exhibition of collaborative work by Jo Morrow, Adi O’Hara and Belinda Wincote in response to the mezzanine space of ArticulateUpstairs. Each artist brings their particular interest in investigating and describing the architecture of space to the group project. The artists are interested in form and colour relationships, variously explored through the rendering of the shifting and elusive nature of shadows, the imagining and deconstruction of interior space, through to a concrete and tactile working-out of map-like trajectories through spaces in the building. A playful process of painting, editing, negotiating and assembling will contribute to the work to be shown on opening night.

The artists will use ArticulateUpstairs as a project space for two weeks, with the opening for public exhibition on the final weekend. Please note that while Articulate will be open from 9 February for the ground-floor exhibition, In Situ will not be open until 22 February. 

Adi O'Hara Watch This Space 2019