Expanse: Aboriginalities, spatialities and the politics of ecstasy

4 September – 3 October 1998

Jon Cattapan, Rosalie Gascoigne, Antony Hamilton, Kathleen Petyarre and Imants Tillers

brings together the work of five prominent Australian contemporary artists who are each exhibiting major new work for the first time and additionally includes a painting by John D. Moore, Sydney Harbour, 1936, which functions as a qualifying point of reference.

Expanse takes as its leitmotif, as curator Ian North calls it, "that our survival is grounded in nature". He proposes that, in spite of their differences, the five artists' work if taken together signals a shift in Australian art, from the postmodernist 1980's to a less ideological, more reflective sense of place based not on essences but the understanding that Australians can forge a culture embracing urban, rural and outback Australian realities as well as participating, necessarily, in international exchanges.

The work is chosen for its artistic power. But Ian North has also produced an extraordinary corollary to the exhibition in his accompanying essay, imaginatively and ambitiously mapping a fresh terrain of cultural and social space. In this, he suggests that seen and considered, the work in Expanse encourages the opportunity to explore issues of Aboriginalities, white and black; the literal and theoretical spaces conditioning Australian art and life today; and the "forbidden" (unfashionable) areas of aesthetics and nature.

A University of South Australia Art Museum exhibition. Curated and catalogue essay by Ian North.