The Best Exhibitions in Sydney This Month

February is somehow already here, but so are a bunch of new art exhibitions.

Seeing as time is elusive and clearly not on our side, here’s the exhibitions you should diarise. Make the most of your month and schedule in some time to breeze by these six must-see shows.

Amber Boardman, ‘Porn Categories,’ 2020

Amber Boardman, Decision Fatigue, Chalk Horse

At the end of last month, American-born Sydney-based artist Amber Boardman opened her show Decision Fatigue at Chalk Horse. Known for her densely layered, large scale paintings that examine crowd behaviour and the role of the internet in shaping ever-changing social norms, Decision Fatigue sees Boardman examine the mundanity of the decisions we navigate in everyday life; a wardrobe holding endless outfits; the infinite aisles of a supermarket; saturated, fleshy scenes of online porn categories. In a swell of vivid colours, Boardman considers our increasingly lethargic screen-based, algorithm-driven lives and how we engage with them. The exhibition runs until Saturday 27th February.

Luke Chiswell, ‘no good, no good, good’

Luke Chiswell, no good, no good, good, Jerico Contemporary

When you think about it, the English language is really repetitive, and if you say certain words for too long, they start to unravel until they make no sense at all. Looking at the interplay between meaning and mismeaning is fundamental to the practice of Australian artist Luke Chiswell, whose fourth solo show no good, no good, good opens at Jerico Contemporary on Thursday 4th February. Known for his work that abstracts language to its furthest point, Chiswell takes the humble paint swatch as inspiration behind a series of new screen prints that continue his studies of trial and error. Establishing his own vocabulary through asemic writing forged in his signature script, no good, no good, good sees the artist continue to blur the lines between process and completion. Drop by to see the show in person until Saturday 27th February.

Truc Truong, hai con lân việt kiều (Two overseas Vietnamese unicorns), 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art

4A is presenting the first solo exhibition of emerging Vietnamese-Australian artist Truc Truong, hai con lân việt kiều (Two overseas Vietnamese unicorns). Accompanied by a series of playful performances, the exhibition showcases a bespoke refashioning of traditional lion dance ensembles. Through assembled materials and fabric bleaching, Truong reimagines the costume entirely, and in doing so delves into the tradition of lion dancing and considers how the cultural ritual has come to reflect the diasporic nature of multicultural Australian identities. The exhibition will be held at 4A’s offsite space, 4A @ William Street, Darlinghurst on Thursday 4th February until Saturday 6th March.

Otis Carey, Ngalunggirr miinggi, China Heights

Otis Carey is back with new exhibition Ngalunggirr miinggi, coming to China Heights on Friday 12th February. Ngalunggirr miinggi (‘Healing Spirit’), is a new body of work centred around the clan totem and remedial elements of Gaagal, the ocean, that Carey began painting following the passing of his grandmother and Gumbaynggirr woman. ‘It’s about her going back into the ocean. The whole body of work is about us healing as one, and us knowing she’s back with the ocean, back home,’ says Carey. The exhibition sees the artist bring together an epic presentation of 50 canvas works, as well as seven wood sculptures made in collaboration with his brother, Jarwin Carey. Through his signature entangled lines and soft dots, Carey journeys through layers of connection; to country, to family, to the past and to the present. Carey notes, ‘These paintings are my way of showing people that a healing process can be a beautiful process. I’d like to think they are healing other Indigenous people as well as healing our relationship with non-Indigenous people.’ The exhibition will continue through to Saturday 13th March with a portion of proceeds from every sale donated to the Bularri Muurlay Nyanggan Aboriginal Corporation (BMNAC) who work tirelessly to revitalise Gumbaynggirr language and culture.

No Show, Carriageworks

Carriageworks is well and truly back for 2021 with the announcement of their upcoming presentation No Show, opening Friday 12th February. Inviting eleven artist-led initiatives from across New South Wales—including artist-run spaces, studios, cooperatives, digital platforms and online publications—each group presents an independent program that profiles more than 50 early career and under-represented artists such as Boomalli Aboriginal Artists Co-operative, Firstdraft, Runway Journal and Running Dog, to drop a few familiar names. Over three weeks, the artists and writers will work within a spatial installation of discrete yet connected modular structures designed by architects Youssofzay + Hart. Free to the public, No Show will continue through to Sunday 7th March.

Esther Wong, ‘The Little Things Hold the Biggest Memories,’ 2020

ART EXPRESS 2021, Art Gallery Of New South Wales

Were your high school scribbles ever shown at one of Australia’s largest art institutions? Probably not. Well, now you can live vicariously through the successes of other high school graduates at one of the most dynamic annual exhibitions at the Art Gallery Of New South Wales, ARTEXPRESS 2021. Featuring a selection of outstanding student artworks by talented budding artists, the works exhibited were developed for the HSC’s Visual Arts in 2020. Providing insight into students’ creativity and the issues important to them during a particularly challenging year, you can catch ART EXPRESS from Thursday 4th February until Monday 5th April.

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