This year’s annual Primavera showing – the 23rd edition – at the MCA is curated by Mikala Dwyer, so its no real surprise that it’s pretty hard-hitting. The thirteen selected artists are, as the Primavera program dictates, under 35 and come from all across Australia. You get a real sense of Dwyer’s desire to go deep into contemporary culture, to bring to our attention a bunch of artists who represent the future of Australian art. Engaged, they and their work address issues as varied and as critical as science, alchemy, queer fertility and witchcraft. The curator’s skill is in weaving all the diverse points of view and a myriad of media into a coherent (though admittedly kind of boisterous) whole.
The work that engages me most is by Melbourne artist Paul Yore. Three large-scale tapestries, they act together as a kind of altar piece, a parable and parody of the colonial experience, gender wars and gay rights. It’s really strong, dynamic, big life narrative stuff – and he's a fab cross-dresser! Emily Hunt's work, a selection of pieces ranging from paper to ceramic, is confronting, but really good; the idea of dread is at the forefront and it's dread one feels the longer you look at it. I loved Hossein Ghaemi's large format single channel video work exploring truth through the unconscious, spirituality and chanting. Barayuwa Mununuggurr's drawings on bark – brown dominant, fine detail, panels of different sizes – speak to Ghaemi's work, there is a rhythm in the chanting in the video and a similar rhythm exists in the works on bark. It’s as if the chanting is a vibration and the paintings are a depiction of the vibration, again offering a great spiritual insight. And then, Lucien Rickard's charcoal drawings of animals up to five times live-size are so beautiful, whether depicting feathers or fur, they feel so real and lustrous.
Beyond Primavera, another lovely thing at the MCA is Daniel Boyd’s new \installation on the Circular Quay entry stairs: starry nights, intergalactic, other worldly, other timely – he's very clever, and very, very cool.
On until November 30th.