Al Poulet - 'Untitled (101)', 2019, Acrylic on canvas. Image courtesy of Wagner Contemporary

What to Wrap Your Eyeballs Around at Sydney Contemporary


Over the next four days at Carriageworks, more than 90 galleries from around the world are showcasing the work of 400+ artists at the Sydney Contemporary Art Fair.

Sydney Contemporary is notoriously overwhelming. There is so much to see, and so many ways to get sidetracked on your way to see it. It always feels like there’s never enough time—if you spend over one minute with one work, you have to fly by the next ten. But there’s also something really exhilarating about coexisting in a space swimming with so many different ideas. This year, though, walking through the rows and rows of exhibits at Carriageworks didn’t feel arduous or too enormous to tackle, mostly because of the amazing quality of the work. But even after all the hours I spent there, I still left feeling like I’d missed out on something. In an attempt to save someone else from the same impending sense of FOMO, here are but a few artists you simply must view. I hope you like bright colours.

Emily Ferretti – ‘Ripple’, 2019, oil on linen

Emily Ferretti – Sophie Gannon Gallery 

Whoa, whoa. This one really stopped me in my tracks. Melbourne artist Emily Ferretti has an entire solo exhibition worth of works on show at Sophie Gannon Gallery’s stand, which is booth E15 for those with their eye on the prize. ook at that colour palette! And those brilliant lines! Party at booth E15!!

Emma Finneran – ‘touching out loud (bacteria DOOF)’, 2019, dyed cotton, bleached polyester, acrylic and Flashe

Emma Finneran – Chalk Horse Gallery

Commanding your attention on the walls of booth G04 is Lismore-raised, Sydney-based artist Emma Finneran. How good is this layering of colour, draping of material, and combining of pattern? Almost as good as the title of the work: touching out loud (bacteria DOOF). This one sold about an hour after it went up, but that doesn’t mean you can’t go stare and dream.

Nadia Hernández – ‘Entre cítricos, El Ratoncito Pérez (Amongst citrus, The Little Mouse Pérez)’, 2019, Oil on linen

Nadia Hernández – Black Arts Projects

Continuing full steam ahead on my bright bold colour crusade™, this piece by Venezuela-born, Sydney based artist Nadia Hernández is a sight for blessed eyes. Hernández’s work is often influenced by her home country’s tumultuous political climate and her experiences living abroad as Venezuelan woman. Definitely spend more than a minute at booth GO7.

Jordy Kerwick – ‘BE WITH YOU’, 2019, acrylic, oil, enamel & collage on canvas

Jordy Kerwick – PIERMARQ*

Truth be told, I actually had to retrace my steps to take a second look at Melbourne painter Jordy Kerwick’s works. That’s no easy feat when you’re three hours deep into a maze of makeshift walls and stalls, but something about his unique style left a ‘call me back’ voicemail in my head. Obviously, the journey was well worth the effort. Booth A13 is your destination.

Josephine Cachemaille – ‘Companion I’, 2019, bronze, obsidian, wood

Josephine Cachemaille – Sanderson Contemporary

Over in booth A03 is a number of works by New Zealand installation artist and painter Josephine Cachemaille. This striking sculpture sits on a plinth backed by a canvas painting/ collage called Power Smock, which I also loved but cannot post here because the rule is every artist gets one picture. I didn’t make the rules, Internet attention spans did. You’ll just have to see what I’m talking about in person.

Nick Santoro, ‘Artist Symposium feat. Jonathan Meese’, acrylic on board

Nick Santoro – The Egg and Dart

Sydney artist Nick Santoro paints the kinds of scenarios one might conjure in a dream or psychedelic-induced trip. His little worlds or ‘kingdoms’ are populated with celebrity cameos and pop culture references, and you could honestly have one of his pieces hanging in your living room for a year and still notice new details in it. If you want to play a game of Where’s Wally: The Zeitgeist Edition, head to booth C10.

Chow Chun Fai – ‘RED, we long for the raw truth of emption’, 2013, screenprint

Chow Chun Fai – Hong Kong Open Print Shop

Chow Chun Fai is a Hong Kong artist who is also ‘chairman’ of Fotanian Artist Village in Fo Tan, Hong Kong. His works are deeply influenced by politics, and this piece here is no exception. It caught my eye in the ‘Paper Contemporary’ section, which is dedicated to printmaking. You could spend days riffling through all the books, posters and prints on show here, but if you’re on a bit of a time crunch, head to Hong Kong Open Print Shop’s stand for the goods.

Gregory Hodge, ‘Suspension Painting’, 2019

Gregory Hodge – Sullivan + Strumpf

If you think this piece looks incredible as is, wait till you see it suspended from the roof of Carriageworks. Sydney-based artist Gregory Hodge is one of the artists featured in ‘Installation Contemporary’, and his piece incorporates a number of elements and motifs that he’s used in previous paintings and transforms them into 3D objects. As one of largest pieces in the entire fair, you won’t need any directions finding this one. Spectaculaire.

Consuelo Cavaniglia, ‘Filters II, 2019’, Tinted acrylic, braided steel cable

Consuelo Cavaniglia – STATION

Speaking of show-stopping installations you can’t miss, Consuelo Cavaniglia’s Filters leaves Instagram’s for dead. Natural light hits this piece during the day, drenching the space in different hues of orange, red and pink. The Italian-born, Sydney based artist says the piece evolved out of an interest in how we see, define and relate to space in architectural, psychological and ambient senses. It’s one of the first works you see when you walk through the doors of Carriageworks, and one of the warmest greetings I’ve ever received.

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