Media Release | 25 November 2019
Hall & Wilcox art exhibition celebrates LGBTIQ+ artists
Hall & Wilcox has launched its latest emerging artists’ exhibition in Melbourne, focusing on the talent of the LGBTIQ+ community. Part of the Hall & Wilcox Art Exhibition and Acquisition Program, the latest showcase encourages conversations around LGBTIQ+ issues and activism.
The program supports emerging artists who embrace a variety of materials and technologies and respond to different cultural contexts through their works and artistic expression. All artworks displayed are offered for sale by the artist, who receives the entire purchase price.
On display now at Hall & Wilcox’s Melbourne office at Rialto South Tower are the works of six exhibiting artists: illustrator and printmaker Greg Ure, neon art installation creator Carla O’Brien, contemporary painters Vishma Withanage, Joeli Eastell and Richard Knafel, and photographer Dan Molloy.
Partner Natalie Bannister leads the Emerging Art Exhibition and Annual Prize program. She said, ‘Our art program is one of the ways that we help our people, our clients and our community to thrive. This art show was a great way to demonstrate our commitment to both the LGTBQI+ community and the art world. It was a vibrant, exciting, high energy show which our clients and people loved.’
The program also includes the Hall & Wilcox Art Prize, which is awarded to one exhibiting artist each year. Attendees of the art shows, along with the staff, vote for the piece that they most want the firm to acquire. Those pieces are purchased and displayed in the firm’s growing, permanent art collection, and they also become finalists for the annual award.
The piece selected from the latest art show was ‘Sinha Bhawana’, a vivid watercolour painting by Vishma Withanage. Sinha is the Sinhalese word for ‘lion’, and the piece is from Vishma’s ‘Chithra’ collection (‘Chithra’ means art, in the form of paintings). In the words of the artist, ‘Chithra is an extremely nostalgic collection of art where it’s deeply connected to my Sri Lankan heritage. I have left a cultural remark on every single one of these paintings. Chithra has allowed me to fully express myself as a proud member of the LGBTIQ community and a modern-day Australian.’
About the artists
Vishma Withanage grew up in Sri Lanka and painted as a child. Vishma’s paintings reference Sri Lankan culture and depict animals with strong personalities, conveyed by the use of vibrant colours, strong contrast and intricate patterns.
Greg Ure works across traditional and digital forms of illustration and also specialises in relief printmaking. For this exhibition, he decided to focus on two groups of prints – his limited-edition linocuts with imagery of the leather scene; and his ‘Sun Bears’ posters, their nostalgic style conveying comfort and acceptance.
Carla O’Brien’s love for light art began in 2009 when she visited the Burning Man festival in the US. She creates awe-inspiring art installations with neon lights. She also makes interactive art installations for the ‘day on the green’ concerts in vineyards across Australia.
Joeli Eastell is an artist of Fijian and English descent who grew up in rural Queensland and now lives in Melbourne. Joeli’s artworks tend to be mind-maps of his quest to understand his place in society, especially relating to his queerness and ancestry.
Richard Knafel is a contemporary painter based in Melbourne. In his Presences paintings, Richard employs liquid flows of abstract colour across human figures. In so doing, he aims to enter the speculative zone beyond science, exploring the nexus between the body and the soul.
Dan Molloy is a Brisbane-based freelance photographer specialising in commercial, portraiture, fashion and advertising photography. His ‘Silenced in the shadows’ series of thought-provoking images portray the emotional internal and external battles LGBTQI+ Pacific Islander and Indigenous people often face.
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