Best Exhibitions Coming to Sydney in May

Yes, we’re already halfway through May.

But art exhibitions around Sydney are still in full force. With more on than your calendar can probably handle, we did the hard work for you and pulled together a list of some of the best ones to head along to this month. So off you go. What’s the worst that could happen? You might even enjoy yourself.

‘Sometimes when I feel empty, I eat a second breakfast.’ Laetitia Olivier-Gargano.

Laetitia Olivier-Gargano, Sometimes when I feel empty, I eat a second breakfast., Firstdraft

Have you ever wondered how those iconic Japanese fake food displays are made? Laetitia Olivier-Gargano undertook a research trip to Japan in 2019 to find out, informing her most recent body of work Sometimes when I feel empty, I eat a second breakfast. showing now at Firstdraft. In a sculptural response to the everyday, Olivier-Gargano presents a visual feast that explores a coming together of cultures and identities. Simultaneously enticing and unsettling, the works and accompanying interactive website illuminate the weird and wobbly combinations that arise when we play with our food. On show until Sunday 13th June.

Tom Keukenmeester, ‘There Were Many Edens,’ 2021.

Tom Keukenmeester, There Were Many Edens, Jerico Contemporary

Otherworldly creatures gather together in Tom Keukenmeester’s There Were Many Edens at Jerico Contemporary. For Keukenmeester’s first solo show with the gallery, he brings together traditional oil painting and ceramic sculpture in a playful exploration of the cyclical nature of art history. The animated hybrid figures of human and animal forms reflect Keukenmeester’s interest in evolution and its unknown possibilities. Creating a world that exists somewhere between past, present and future, Keukenmeester merges the ancient and the contemporary in vivid colour. The exhibition is on now until Saturday 5th June.

Daniel R. Watkins aka Rad Dan, ‘Cemento Light’. Original artwork 2021

Daniel R. Watkins aka Rad Dan, Burning Beautiful and Shaun Daniel Allen (Shal), ‘Balun’ (River – Yugambeh language), China Heights

China Heights has two new exhibitions coming right up this week. First is Rad Dan’s Burning Beautiful, and his third solo show with the gallery. The exhibition will see his nostalgic, neo-expressionist mixed media works make a welcome return to the space. Inspired by Watkin’s keen interest in pop culture, Australiana and obscure iconography, Burning Beautiful disregards time and place.

Shaun Daniel Allen (Shal) ‘Balun’ L3. Original artwork 2021.

Next up is Shaun Daniel Allen (Shal) and his debut show Balun (River – Yugambeh language). In an exploration of his connection to country and self, the proud Yugambeh/Bundjalung artist will exhibit a new series of works born from his meditative practice, guided by intuitive, flowing movements. Representing a visual response to the sentiment, ‘Painting cancels out the immense noise of the world and lets me just be,’ Allen explores themes of solace, self-discovery and connection found through making art. Both shows open this Friday, 6- 8 pm at China Heights Gallery and continue until the 12th of June.

Lu Yang – Invitation Flyer.

Lu Yang, Āśrava World, COMA Gallery

Shanghai-based, new media artist Lu Yang is presenting her latest body of work Āśrava World at COMA, a body of work that bridges the space between the digital realm and physical space. Taking two of the artist’s interconnected videos created between 2018 to 2020, the exhibition sees them transformed into an interactive video game and film. The show is centred around the term ‘Āśrava’, used in Buddhist scripture, philosophy, and psychology to describe mental defilements or impurities of sensual pleasures that perpetuate ‘samsara’ (the beginningless cycle of rebirth, dukkha, and dying again). Through virtual scenes and installations rendered by software, Āśrava World touches on themes of self-analysis, binary opposition, sexuality, and the end of time. The exhibition opens on Friday 21st May from 6-8 pm and will run through to Saturday 26th June.

Gianna Hayes, ‘Untitled.’

Group Show, Oh, MUSEUM, Cement Fondu

Initiating a timely and inclusive conversation, Cement Fondu is readying for their third show of the year, Oh, MUSEUM. Bringing together Australian and international artists including Yuki Kihara, Oliver Laric, James Tylor, Morehshin Allahyari, Jamie North, DIS, Gianna Hayes, Pilvi Takala and Guerrilla Girls, the exhibition creates a dialogue about art museums and institutional regeneration. Oh, MUSEUM speaks to themes of colonialism, gender disparity, the underrepresentation of People of Colour and the complex impacts of digitisation. In short, this is a politically urgent yet poetic show not to be missed. Oh, MUSEUM opens on Saturday May 22nd from 6-8 pm and will continue through to Sunday 11th July 2021.

Mickebana, ‘Blue.’

Micke Lindebergh, Mickebana, Ninety Three Bourke

After spending hours pouring over photo books of Ikebana from the 70s and 80s, Micke Lindebergh’s Mickebana was born. Inspired by his new obsession with the Japanese practice of flower arranging, the exhibition sees the artist’s confident hand and unapologetic choice of chromatically lush materials create visually delightful floral motifs. Crisp and bright, Mickebana features recurring influences of Japanese comics, Scandinavian design and balmy Sydney summers. The exhibition opens on Friday 21st May from 6-9 pm and will run until Friday 30th May 2021.

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