John Meade The Desultory Arabesque

11 February –
10 March 2012
Mean Yellow (Red)
John Meade

Mean Yellow (Red)

, 2012
Screenprint on masonite printed by Trent Walter (Negative Press)
143 x 93cm
Edition of 4

Sutton Gallery is pleased to present The Desultory Arabesque by John Meade. Featuring new works which utilise a variety of mediums and techniques, the exhibition showcases the expressive and evocative power of Meade’s sculptural forms.

Through playful manipulation, Meade creates glossy surfaces and seductive shapes that offer an intriguing mix of material enterprise and cultural observation. Prior to the conjuring processes that result in unforeseen objects, his abstract forms have their beginnings in the real world. Indeed, without literally representing figures or human actions, his sculptures contain astute associations to the flesh and bodily subjectivities. Mixed with the suggestive iconographies of pop culture, fashion, cinema and gay erotica, the body acts as a base from which Meade explores themes relating to beauty, repulsion, strength, creativity, sex and desire.

‘The Desultory Arabesque’ is a self-reflexive title which refers to the diversity of Meade’s style and, tellingly, he has produced a number of works that engage with and respond to earlier and distinct developments in his practice. Multiple designs recur in altered or revised forms – for example, Mean Yellow (Red) 2011, a large-scale silk screen edition, recalls the ‘bad wig’ previously seen in Mean Yellow 1994, while Siamese 2011 utilises the same blue polyethylene bristles as Meade’s 2010 Gertrude Edition Screw Babs. Furthermore, the Corolla works, which feature a series of minimal, warm, abstracted petal forms mounted to the gallery wall, are drawn from Riverside Corolla 2011, a public work commissioned by Satellite Art Projects for DEXUS as part of their landmark redevelopment of Southgate. As one of Australia’s leading sculptors, these various re-inventions highlight the depth, skill, beauty and humour which has characterised Meade’s practice for over 15 years: as Meade admits, ‘this is a good place to be as a sculptor, because I can now see the continuum of a developing style in my work’.

John Meade completed tertiary studies between 1991 and 2004. He received a Bachelor of Fine Art (Sculpture) from the Victorian College of the Arts in 1994; Masters of Arts by Research (Sculpture), RMIT University in 2000; and Masters of Arts (Studio Art), New York University, in 2004.

In 2010 Latrobe Regional Gallery, Victoria, presented Objects to Live By / The Art of John Meade which showcased Meade’s significant body of work and toured extensively throughout regional galleries in Australia. Other individual exhibitions by Meade include New Weekly, Ocular Lab, Melbourne 2008; Incident in the Museum 2, Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne 2005; and Propulsion, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, and Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney 2001. Meade has also presented works as part of many important group exhibitions such as 21st Century Modern, Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art, Art Gallery of South Australia, 2006; 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 public sculpture commissions including Aqualung for The National Bank, Lend Lease, Docklands, Melbourne, completed in 2006. His work is held in distinguished public collections, as well as private and corporate collections. Meade received the Anne and Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship in 2003 and, with support from Asialink, undertook a studio residency in India in 1998-99.

Artist’s profile