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Recent acquisition: Chris Carmody

Chris Carmody’s work is born of the tension between the designed purpose of various found materials and the inconclusive meaning worn and faded into these materials through their life as objects. This meaning is teased out through the process of painting and assemblage – wherein materials and visual experience are transformed into the so-called ‘durable object’. His paintings refer to specific books found in university and state libraries, which through the process of fading have come to reveal something of their life as objects. In painting these, he captures a moment of resonance amidst an inevitable decomposition.

BLAST/BLESS (2017) represents a worn-out edition of the short-lived literary magazine of the British Vorticist movement in photo-realistic fidelity. Published in London in 1914, the first edition of the magazine was written and illustrated by a group of artists assembled by Wyndahm Lewis. Included was the Vorticist manifesto – primarily a long list of things to be ‘Blessed’ or ‘Blasted’, which deployed a range of bold typographic innovations. Blast 1 sought to forge a distinctly English identity as a riposte to the perceived arrogance of the Italian Futurist movement headed by Filippo Tommaso Marinetti. The Vorticist movement was antagonistic and confident enough to praise Kandinsky, question Picasso, and openly mock Marinetti. The magazine is emblematic of the modern art movement in England, and recognised as a seminal text of pre-war 20th-century modernism. Or, as contributor Ezra Pound described it to James Joyce: “a new Futurist, Cubist, Imagiste Quarterly … mostly a painters’ magazine with me to do the poems”.

More information on Chris Carmody can be found here.
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The Drill Hall Gallery acknowledges the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples, the traditional custodians of the Canberra region, and recognises their continuous connection to culture, community and Country.