Pat Brassington and Juliana Engberg

Image: Catalogue cover, ‘Feminist Narratives’, 4 June 1987-24 June 1987. Curator: Juliana Engberg. Published by the George Paton Gallery, 1987. University of Melbourne Archives, George Paton Gallery Collection 1990.0144, Unit 31.

Currently exhibiting at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA), Melbourne, is a survey of one of Australia’s most important and influential photo-based artists, Pat Brassington.

Early in her 30 years of practice, Brassington exhibited in two different group shows at the George Paton Gallery :  Feminist Narratives in June 1987 and Fabrications: Recent Contemporary Art From Tasmania in September 1987 

The George Paton Gallery Collection at the University of Melbourne Archives contains records from both of these exhibitions including correspondence, exhibition catalogues, essays, invitations, reviews, photographs and slides. Brassington’s work is a playful manipulation of imagery, predominantly bodily, altering reality to create a world more interesting, one that is at once eerily dark and mysterious, and pure and beautiful.  No matter the technique, using analogue photography and collage in the 1980′s and now digitally aided manipulation, she is a master of her tool creating seamless juxtapositions and mutations, their illusionary magnificence evoking a state of unconsciousness.

Artistic director for Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Juliana Engberg, was director of the George Paton Gallery at the time of these exhibitions and curated both.  Fabrications: Recent Contemporary Art From Tasmania was curated as part of the Chameleon Galleries, Hobart, Curator in Residence Program where Engberg presumably began her artistic relationship with Brassington.  Engberg was Assistant Director of the George Paton Gallery from 1984  to 1985, then Director from 1986 until the beginning of 1990. During this time she curated many exhibitions,  coordinated lecture series and presentations from local and international speakers, and started the art magazine, ‘Agenda: Contemporary Art’.

Twenty five years after  Brassington’s and Engberg’s  first project together Pat Brassington’s wonderful exhibition at ACCA can be viewed as a celebration of both women’s careers and achievements and their outstanding contribution to the Arts in Melbourne and Australia.

Pat Brassington, A Rebours currently showing at ACCA, running until 23 September 2012.

The George Paton Gallery Archive is currently being listed for online, searchable access early in 2013.  See University of Melbourne Archives Catalogue,  and Home page  for more information.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *