Set Pieces is an exhibition of seven new sculptures by John Meade, the majority of which are fabricated in foundry-cast aluminium and incorporate additional materials and surface effects. His objects move from bodily to architectural, dressed in seductive glossy painted surfaces and adorned with beads and other unexpected accessories. In this exhibition Meade is literally staging his sculptural objects and the scene is set.
The issue of presentation and exhibition display has been of interest to Meade since his first solo exhibition Impostor, where his figures were installed in the back room of The Basement Project in Melbourne in 1995 – separated from the rigors of performing for the viewer. This aspect of presentation and theatricality is a strongly recurring element in Meade’s practice.
For Set Pieces, Meade presents a sensory experience: an ensemble of objects interacting spatially within a unified presentation. In this way, his installation can be viewed as one overarching performance, or as a display of individual sculptures. Meade sees these works as both complete objects, bold and dramatic in an interior context, as well as marquette’s for large scale exterior pieces.
For Set Pieces, Meade is once again working with lighting designer Ben Cobham, who brings his skill an intelligence to establish the mood of the gallery space and to accentuate the emotional and visual qualities of the abstract sculptures. Display structures, which combine lighting, a steel curtain and a series of mirrors, are carefully composed to enable the sculptures to perform at their best, effectively creating an atmosphere which supports and enhances the viewer’s engagement with the objects.
John Meade has exhibited with Sutton Gallery since 1997. Recent solo exhibitions include: Autumn 2014, Sutton
Gallery, Melbourne, 2014; The Desultory Arabesque, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2012; Objects to Live By / The Art
of John Meade, curated by Zara Stanhope, nationally toured exhibition, 2012; New Weekly, Ocular Lab, Melbourne
2008; and Incident in the Museum 2, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne 2005. Recent group exhibitions include: Benglis 73/74, Neon Parc, Melbourne, 2014; The Gathering ll, A Survey of Australian Sculpture, curated by Dianne Mangan, Wangaratta Art Gallery, Victoria, 2014; Dear Masato, All At Once, VCA Margaret Lawrence Gallery, University of Melbourne, 2014; Sleep on the Left Side, Gallery Seven Art, New Delhi, India, 2012; 21st Century Modern, 2006 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, curated by Linda Michael, Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide; This was the future… Australian Sculpture of the 1950s, 60s, 70s and Today, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne, 2003; and Orifice, Australia Centre of Contemporary Art, 2003.
Meade has received significant sculpture commissions including, Everyday Devotional, currently in production for
the Sunland Group’s Abian development, Brisbane; Riverside Corolla for the DEXUS Southgate commission,
Southbank, Melbourne, 2011; Screw Babs, Gertrude Edition 2010, Gertrude Contemporary, Melbourne; a screen
and balustrade design for Mirvac Laureate, Melbourne, 2010; and Aqualung for The National Bank, Lend Lease,
Docklands, Melbourne, 2006. His work is held in distinguished public collections, as well as private and corporate