Speech Patterns | Nadia Hernández and Jon Campbell

Speech Patterns | Nadia Hernández and Jon Campbell

Speech Patterns is an entwined and layered conversation between the work of contemporary artists Nadia Hernández and Jon Campbell.

This vibrant exhibition is full of life, poetry and feeling and is comprised of paintings, paste-ups, drawings, posters, banners and flags from across the span of their individual practices.

Both artists mobilise the rhythms, harmonies and dissonances of written and pictorial language to deal with experiences of relocation, questions around identity, class, cultural and national value systems. Within this, they offer their voices both in direct political protest and in celebration and critique of everyday life, values and relationships.

For Hernández – born in Mérida, Venezuela, and now based between Melbourne and Sydney – her practice is a way of keeping alive her connection to friends, family and place while calling on the spirit of protest to unsettle the given global disorder that has displaced her and her family.

And for Campbell – born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and growing up in Melbourne's western suburbs – his work is a wryly humourous exploration of the layered and complicated contingencies of the ever-shifting Australian condition as it is embraced, repressed, and rebelled against.

Guided by their approaches to thinking and making and reflecting on their places in the world, both artists' works evidence a warm feeling of inclusion that is fundamentally social in nature.

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Publication

Available through the AGWA design store

The publication features essays by artists and writers Lisa Radford and Diego Ramirez, along with exhibition curator Robert Cook. Radford locates Hernández's work in relation to longing and belonging, Venezuelan political history and the context of her own growing friendship with the artist. Ramirez hones in on a single work by Campbell, placing himself in biting and funny performative dialogue with it to play out its ramifications in today’s social realm. Cook’s contribution examines the artistic strategies of Hernández and Campbell to chart their similarities and differences of approach to language and power that ground their particular contributions to Australian cultural life.

While emerging from different cultural and generational experiences, their practices share a powerful commitment to the grain and poetry of egalitarian yearning and grassroots resistance. This results in punchy and wholly accessible works and installations that celebrate the possibility of popular, oral and familial cultures to unite people historically, politically and socially.

Robert Cook
AGWA Curator of Western Australian and Australian Art
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