Two blue artworks


Re-Purpose takes its impetus from the early collages of Braque and Picasso (and later, from Robert Motherwell) which demonstrate the potential of a “foreign” object to act as an artistic catalyst.

The unprecedented use of pre-existing items in their collages entailed swatches of printed matter or textiles being incorporated (re-purposed) into a new context and given a new identity.

It is apparent in retrospect that this use of ready-made items served to challenge the precedence and priority of the “model” in earlier representational art. The works of these artists has laid a foundation for subsequent practice, where a work’s composition can no longer be dissociated from its subject matter.

Re-Purpose presents a range of abstract objects and images by three generations of artists: Matt Arbuckle, Peter Atkins, Chris Carmody, Nicole Ellis, Robert Motherwell, Elizabeth Newman and Trish Roan. All of their works feature a foreign object, a third party, a ready-made pretext or a pre-existing form that generates a fresh outcome.

Through incorporation or obliteration, addition or subtraction, the re-purposed template alters its identity and its function.

Once the enemy, it has become the ally of invention.

This exhibition has been curated by Tony Oates



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