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Exhibition view (from left to right): Oscar Yanez, Fool’s Gold 2006/2023, Sometimes Always 2023 and El Corte Inglés 2023. Photo: Lucy Foster.


Reduction and expansion were once twin faces of abstract art. In time, once robustly held distinctions between void and surface or grid and formlessness would dissolve into endlessly oscillating plays of difference and repetition. Echoing the distant image of these now historical horizons of dialectical opposition, this exhibition points toward aesthetic realms in which artistic reduction and expansion still invite us to look beyond that which literally meets the eye.

Few historical developments in art have attracted as many origin myths as abstraction. Today, it is no longer synonymous with moments and ideologies long passed. But are there particular characteristics that continue to matter? And if so, how do they present themselves?

Historically, abstraction was often seen as overcoming or repressing verbal language. Today, abstraction and representation have effectively merged as possible artistic languages, and contemporary post-conceptual art is fertilised by hypothetically infinite materials and activities. Drawing from a broad range of media and disciplinary configurations, the artists presented in < > filter vastly divergent interests through languages of abstraction. From algae-based bioplastics to digital noise, painting, projection, fashion, architectural intervention, quilting and photography, these artists continue to explore ever-expanding networks of form, reference and influence.

Curated by Cūrā8 and featuring:

Kjell Bjørgeengen (Oslo) and Salvatore Panatteri (Sydney) have collaborated since 2004 on projects that employ the video signal. Bjørgeengen has a long association with the Experimental Television Center (New York) and video pioneer David Jones. Panatteri has a long-standing interest in ways that non-representational art evokes sensations of space/time or infinitude.

Irina Danilovah is a New York-based Ukrainian born intermedia artist, performer, curator and educator who has exhibited extensively internationally through her longstanding conceptually driven initiative Project 59, which uses a random number as a tool for artistic exploration.

Rachaeldaisy Dodd has featured in numerous quilt shows, exhibitions, prizes and publications both nationally and internationally. She is highly regarded for her use of folded fabric, gathering techniques and mixes of fabrics.

Jessie French is an artist and experimental designer based in Narrm (Melbourne) who explores consumption, symbiosis, ecology, science and technology in the context of human experience and behaviour amidst the climate crisis.

Elizabeth Gower is a Melbourne-based artist best known for abstracted coloured collages constructed from urban detritus and printed ephemera. She has exhibited extensively throughout Australia and internationally since the late 1970s, and is represented by Sutton Gallery, Melbourne and Milani Gallery, Brisbane.

Ripley Kavara (aka Lakatoi) is a DJ, musician, artist and event producer based in Narrm (Melbourne) who sees music as a conduit for black, queer spirituality. For < >, he will build bittersweet anticipation for a beat that never drops.  

Carol Cheng Mastroianni is a Melbourne-based / Chinese born artist who draws upon Western and Chinese approaches to brushless painting to produce richly labyrinthian abstractions.

Phebe Parisia creates works and assemblages that explore relationships between materiality, mark-making, time and affect. She considers her practice as a singular ongoing work utilising a range of materials and techniques.

Layla Vardo works across found-footage filmmaking and video installation. Her practice integrates sampling, collection and collage of media fragments drawn from television, cinema and the internet.

Oscar Yanez was born in Lima, Peru and moved to Australia in 1982. His practice is grounded in modernist painting.

Alan Zhao is a Melbourne-based / Chinese born photographer who draws inspiration from Zen Buddhism, abstraction, minimalism, and surrealism to produce aerial landscapes and nightscapes.

RIPLEY KAVARA (aka Lakatoi), FLOAT DJ SET/SOUND PERFORMANCE, 19 May 2023, 6-8 pm, presented as part of < > by Cūrā8.