Incident in the Museum 2: John Meade

Black duo: self portrait as Mary Magdalene, and nude with pitchfork 2004

John Meade, Black duo: self portrait as Mary Magdalene, and nude with pitchfork 2004. Courtesy the artist and Sutton Gallery, Melbourne

Exhibition dates: 4 November - 17 December 2004 continuing 1 February - 24 March 2005
Tuesday to Friday 10am-5pm , Saturday 2-5pm
Opening Function: 3.00-5.00pm, Saturday 6 November 2004
With opening remarks at 3.45pm by Professor Richard Larkins AO,
Vice-Chancellor and President, Monash University.

Melbourne artist John Meade will feature in the latest exhibition in the Incident in the Museum series, presented by the Monash University Museum of Art. The Incident in the Museum series is an occasional program of newly commissioned exhibitions, projects and events by contemporary artists. Incident in the Museum 2: John Meade features new work by Meade, who has recently returned from New York where he enjoyed 12 months research as a recipient of a prestigious Anne and Gordon Samstag Visual Arts Scholarship.

Melbourne artist John Meade will feature in the latest exhibition in the Incident in the Museum series, presented by the Monash University Museum of Art. The Incident in the Museum series is an occasional program of newly commissioned exhibitions, projects and events by contemporary artists. Incident in the Museum 2: John Meade features new work by Meade, who has recently returned from New York where he enjoyed 12 months research as a recipient of a prestigious Anne and Gordon Samstag Visual Arts Scholarship.

The metaphysical, the surreal and the erotic -- as they are manifest in sculpture, art history and public life -- are central motifs in the work of John Meade, whose 'Incident in the Museum' involves a trilogy of sculptural works, which have been choreographed within a purpose-designed light installation.

The centre-piece of the exhibition is a dramatic new work completed in New York over the past 12 months:

Black duo: self portrait as Mary Magdalene, and nude with pitchfork 2004, is a depiction of an aberrant upright figure, accompanied by another more organic, abstract reclining motif, which takes the form of an over-scaled, monstrous section of respiratory tract.

Meade's upright figure -- Self Portrait as Mary Magdalene -- is based on an early Renaissance wood carving, Mary Magdalene, by Donatello. The second, reclining figure, Nude with Pitchfork, also relates to the history of sculptural form and to the body, although in this case, the corporeality of Meade's sculpture is ambiguous, a confusion of interior and exterior, and the classicism of its late-modernist reference is infected by the uncanny and the surreal.

Donatello's Magdalene is noted for its expressive qualities, and for the depiction of the former prostitute as outwardly wasted and distressed, while inwardly enlightened by the transformative power of pure faith. Max Delany, MUMA's Artistic Director, suggests that, "like Donatello's Mary Magdalene, Meade's Black duo -- whilst all hair, formless, and irrational -- is equally virtuous and expressive, supplicant yet dignified, and full of potential".

John Meade's playful, theatrical sculptures play with scale and expectation. Tapping into the real and the subconscious, they provoke both the mind and body of the viewer. In the catalogue accompanying the exhibition, writer Johanna Fahey identifies the way in which Meade's work has the ability to take one's breath away.

As Delany suggests: "In this sense, Meade's work is traumatic (focussed on vulnerability of the body), psychological and sensual (about knowing and feeling), and restorative (giving new breath, and designed to renew spirit and hope)".

John Meade: Abridged Biography

John Meade (Born, Ballarat, 1956) recently returned from New York, where he enjoyed 12 months research as a recipient of a prestigious Anne and Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship, Australia 's richest and most prestigious visual arts scholarship.
Alongside regular individual and group exhibitions with commercial and public galleries and museums in Australia and internationally, Meade has also completed numerous public sculptural commissions, including Mean Yellow, Victorian Arts Centre forecourt, for the Melbourne Festival, 2000; and Heide Museum of Modern Art, 2003. Meade's most ambitious public work to date, Aqualung, will be launched in early 2005 at Victoria Harbour, Docklands, Melbourne.

Meade's numerous individual exhibitions include Objects and Protestations, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne 2003; Propulsion, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, and Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Melbourne, 2001; Objects to Live By, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne 2000; Hauler Me, Sutton Gallery, 1999; Swimming Pool Incident, 1st Floor, Melbourne, 1999; Mr Vertigo , Bellas Gallery, Brisbane, 1998; Nighttime, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 1997; Aura, First Floor, Melbourne, 1996 and Impostor, The Basement Project, Melbourne, 1995.
He has participated in many group exhibitions including Orifice, ACCA, Melbourne Festival, curated by Juliana Engberg, 2003; and This was the future... Australian sculpture of the 1950s, 60s, 70s and today , Heide Museum of Modern Art, curated by Zara Stanhope, 2003; Objection , Sarah Cottier gallery, Sydney & The Physics Room, Christchurch, N.Z., curated by Russell Storer and Tim Silver, 2001; None More Blacker , Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne (touring regional Australia 2002/3), curated by Lara Travis; and Low Down , recent acquisitions of the Monash University Collection, Monash University Museum of Art, 2001.

Meade's collaborations include Poly-Articulate, with Justin Clemens, Chris Henschke and Andrew Trevillian, WestSpace, 2002; Tour De Force , with Christopher Langton, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, 1996; and Sex Work, with Yvonne Werner, Temple Studios, 1994.
John Meade was awarded an Asialink residency in India in 1998-99. More recently, in New York over 2003-2004, he participated in the Master of Studio Art program at New York University. He holds two previous degrees from RMIT University: Master of Fine Art (Sculpture) 2000; and Honours (Sculpture) 1995; as well as a Bachelor of Fine Art (Sculpture) completed at the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, 1994. John Meade's work is held in the Monash University Collection; Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; and National Gallery of Victoria, among other public, private and corporate collections; and is represented by Sutton Gallery, Melbourne.

Where:
Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA)
Ground Floor, Building 55, Monash University,
Clayton Campus, Mel map 575
Phone: 61 3 9905 4217
Email: muma@adm.monash.edu.au

Exhibition dates:
4 November - 17 December 2004 continuing 1 February - 24 March 2005

Opening Function:
3.00-5.00pm , Saturday 6 November 2004
With opening remarks at 3.45pm by Professor Richard Larkins AO,
Vice-Chancellor and President, Monash University.

Artist's Talk:
John Meade
1.15pm, Thursday 17 March 2005

Opening Hours:
Tuesday to Friday 10am-5pm, Saturday 2-5pm, Free Entry

Media Inquiries:
Fiona Maxwell, Program Administrator +61 3 9905 1618 or Wendy West, +61 3 9905 1683