Vivienne Binns Everything new is old again

20 November –
20 December 2008

Sutton gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new works by Vivienne Binns, Everything new is old again. Furthering her investigation into the expressive power of patterned surface, Binns’ series of paintings each embody a dialogue between disparate cultural and temporal realms.

By allowing opposing formal languages to converge, works such as Archetype in Cornwell, 2008 produce an ambiguous spatial field. Depicting a landscape awash with painterly effects, the image is intersected by an abstracted linear pattern that emphasises the painting’s materiality. Where space is literally contested on the surface of the work, Binns explores what it means to be an artist in the Asia Pacific region, as the visual traces of local and European histories are made to coalesce.

In other works, layered screens of pattern play upon optical illusions and three-dimensional effects. Suggestions of 1960s and 1970s formalist abstraction are tightly interwoven with textures referencing domestic interiors, garments and other everyday motifs. By hinting towards the ways in which minimalist designs may be charged with personal memories and associations, Binns subverts the aesthetic hierarchies implicit to Formalism.

First coming to prominence in the late 1960s, Binns’ early practice undertook a groundbreaking and provocative examination of womanhood and sexuality in Australia. Throughout the ’70s, the artist implemented a number of collaborative projects in rural communities, which embraced modes of visual expression accessible to all. By way of these projects, Binns sought to define the practice of making art as a human activity rather than simply an aesthetic or
institutional concern.

Having returned to a focus on studio-based painting, Binns’ current work is no less engaged in illustrating the influence of exchange and collaboration in the construction of culture. Subtle and nuanced in their diverse formal references, the paintings in Everything new is old again are imbued with all the energy and inquiry of Binns’ forty years of practice.

Artist’s profile