Past Exhibitions



WA Focus – Finlandisation – Juha Tolonen

3 September – 21 November 2016

Finlandisation is a series of landscape photographs that focus on the seemingly disparate landscapes of the Swan River hinterland and Lapland. While contrasts exist, Juha Tolonen's new work also displays a surprising continuity.

Drawing from his adopted and ancestral homes of Australia and Finland his photographs reveal lands that are both alien and familiar.

Black Swan Prize for Portraiture

8-31 October 2016

In an exciting new initiative for 2016, AGWA introduces Portrait Month where we explore the many forms of portraiture across photography, painting, video and sculpture.

Taking centre focus is the State’s premier portraiture prize, the 2016 Black Swan Prize for Portraiture, presented for the first time at the State Art Gallery.

40 finalists, 13 West Australian artists, are represented in the 2016 Black Swan Prize for Portraiture. From across the country there are 8 finalists from NSW, 5 from SA, 10 from VIC, 2 from QLD & 2 from TAS.

Rachel Coad, a West Australian professional artist from South Fremantle, has won the prestigious $50,000 Lester Group Prize as part of the 2016 Black Swan Prize for Portraiture, WA’s only portrait prize, with her portrait of artist Waldemar Kolbusz titled Indian Summer.

Screen Space – Mary Reid Kelley

20 May – 25 September 2016

One of a group of works made by young American artist Mary Reid Kelley that re-examine aspects of Greek mythology.

Combining humour and tragedy, the film focuses on a minotaur roaming a labyrinth beneath a gymnasium, waiting for members of the losing team to be sent down as food, and the posturing of one of the players, Priapus who, at the film’s end, will descend to destroy the creature.

WA Focus Rebecca Baumann
28 May – 22 August 2016

Rebecca Baumann’s work spans sculpture, installation and performance. Her practice is driven by a formal and conceptual exploration of materials, through which she interrogates ideas about colour and emotion. For WA Focus, she will present a site specific installation, creating an immersive experience which explores colour, light and time.

Sacred and Profane
7 May – 22 August 2016

This display features three major installations exploring themes of freedom, belief and the political power of the imagination, by three of the world’s most innovative and engaging artists. Each work is a bold, immediately captivating aesthetic statement that also delivers considerable intricacy and nuance.
Conceptually united under the banner Sacred and Profane the installations critically and poetically engage with, challenge and break away from, tradition and established conventions. In different, but equally compelling ways, Kallat, Malani and Yang rethink certainties of history and belief in order to open up new understandings of the past and new possibilities for the future.

Comic Tragics: the exploding language of contemporary comic art

9 April – 25 July 2016

An international multi-media exploration of the inner life of the comic artist and their incredibly intense, personal and affecting comic works that connect with audiences in unexpected and powerful ways.

Comic Tragics looks at the relationships between words and picture, self and society. Chance and observations about life come to light through the merging of image and words in this moving exploration of new forms of comic and graphic art.

Year 12 Perspectives 2015

12 March – 13 June 2016

Year 12 Perspectives is your yearly taste of art by some of the best, brightest and most talented graduating high school artists in the State. An annual barometer of what our youth are thinking and feeling, it is also a rich celebration of the role the arts play in the development of individual identities.

TR + AS + JW | Trevor Richards, Alex Spremberg and Jurek Wybraniec
12 March – 18 May 2016

Three mid-career Perth artists have created new work across a variety of media for the WA Focus program. Each artist combines the aesthetics of popular culture and the everyday with an individual approach to reductive abstract principles. They arrive, via different conceptual routes and studio processes, at creative outcomes that refashion physical materials, objects and space. All are committed to the idea of the painting as an object rather than an image and are intent on re-thinking its formal, but often playful, possibilities.

Ryan Trecartin 6 Movies
30 January – 18 May 2016

Ryan Trecartin is widely considered to be the artist of our moment. Calvin Tompkins of the New Yorker recently dubbed him ‘a video art visionary’ whose work is full of ‘breaking news from the future.’

This Perth debut of Trecartin’s work features AGWA’s major new acquisitions, the movies Sibling Topics (section a) 2009 and CENTER JENNY 2013. These incredibly intense and inventive works will be presented alongside four more movies: K-CorealNC.K (section a) 2009, P.opular (section ish) 2009, Items Falls 2013, and Junior War 2013.

Screened daily, back to back, these six movies will immerse visitors in the ‘ecstatic poetics’ of Trecartin’s practice, giving them an in-depth introduction into the work of one of the most innovative and vital artists at work today.

Luminous: Tom Malone Prize 2016

30 January – 2 May 2016

This year’s prize was judged by Art Gallery of Western Australia Director, Stefano Carboni; Art Gallery of Western Australia Foundation Benefactor, Elizabeth Malone; Director of the Jam factory, Brian Parkes, and Gallery curator, Robert Cook.

Now in its fourteenth year, the Tom Malone Prize is a highly respected and eagerly anticipated event for contemporary Australian glass artists. This is reflected in the high quality of the prize winners and the competitive shortlists.

WA Focus - Graham Miller
21 November 2015 – 28 February 2016

Graham Miller is one of Western Australia’s most important photographers. He is known for his atmospheric images that combine cinematic vision with the eye-for-subtle-detail of a short story writer.

AGWA's WA Focus display presents works spanning more than fifteen years of Miller's output. It comes together around two distinct threads: a body of landscape works and a group of portraits. Generous in spirit and outlook, his works are emotionally rich and often moving portraits of people and places. Each portrait invites curiosity about the possible events that have brought his subjects to this point in their lives, and each landscape evokes the sensation of being fully within the urban and natural environments presented.


8 November 2015 – 21 February 2016

Resistance is a presentation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander voices and worldviews about contemporary Indigenous life.

It features Indigenous knowledge systems and commentary on Indigenous experiences, histories, cultures and people. It highlights the importance of ‘voice’ to combat voicelessness and invisibility — conditions that are regularly experienced by Indigenous peoples and minorities around the world.

American dream, American nightmare

15 August 2015 15 February 2016

American dream, American nightmare is a two-part display that focuses on one of the Collection’s most iconic and most requested works, Brett Whiteley’s The American dream 1968-1969.

This major, 18 part installation has not been seen at the Gallery since 2004 and it is looking better than ever: the work has recently received major conservation treatment prior to its inclusion in the major survey of Australian and international Pop art Pop to Popism at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

Whiteley’s work is a dynamic visual summation of his experiences in America, that charts his initial passion for the place, his intense responses to the politics and culture, and his powerful desire to leave it all behind. It is therefore a meditation on the crumbling of Whiteley own romantic dream of what America might offer him and a reflection on a society torn apart by its involvement in the Vietnam war and the assassinations of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Treasure Ships: Art in the Age of Spices

10 October 2015 31 January 2016

Treasure Ships: Art in the Age of Spices features the spectacular and exotic art produced for global markets from the sixteenth to early nineteenth centuries.

Demand for spices spurred on the great voyages of exploration and the establishment of vast empires across Asia. Treasure Ships presents the stories of the spice markets, slave trade and shipwrecks, as well as illustrating the astonishing beauty of Chinese porcelain, known as ‘white gold’ and celebrating vibrant Indian textiles created for export around the world.

This exhibition includes 250 outstanding and rarely-seen examples of ceramics, decorative arts, furniture, maps, metalware, paintings, prints and textiles from public and private collections in Australia, India, Portugal, Singapore and the United States.

Screen Space Shaun Gladwell

14 November 2015 10 January 2016

Shaun Gladwell is one of Australia's most renowned contemporary artists and was the Australian representative at the 53rd Venice Biennale. His dual-channel video installation Broken Dance (Beatboxed) continues the artist's engagement with the urban sub-cultures given expression through the body, against a backdrop of graffiti covered spaces.



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