Superposition of three types

Images converge then shift, contract and explode in a field of colour. Curated by Alexie Glass-Kantor and Talia Linz, ‘Superposition of three types’ highlights the continuing effectiveness of colour and form in contemporary Australian art. Implicit in its title, the exhibition deals with the overlapping of different ‘types’ of practices; and the dimensionality of abstraction with theoretical underpinnings of individual creativity.

‘Superposition of three types’ presents newly commissioned and recent work by Sydney Ball, Rebecca Baumann, Ry David Bradley, Julian Day, Shelley Lasica, Lara Merrett, Spence Messih, Elizabeth Newman, Jonny Niesche, Huseyin Sami, Nike Savvas, Gemma Smith and Brendan Van Hek. These 13 contemporary artists, spanning generations and mediums, are linked by a common interest in colourist abstraction.

For the duration of the exhibition, artists will share and convert the gallery into their own studio spaces. The audience is encouraged to observe and connect with the artists, experiencing not only the artworks but the different processes of each artist’s practice. From Ball’s interplay between considered tones and unexpected splashes of colour in a new enamel work to one of Merrett’s splattered ‘colour bombs’, their artworks engage with space and architecture, filtering through the galleries at Woolloomooloo’s Artspace creating connectivity and a layered, immersive environment. Bradley unveils a new painting, its rich hues and chromatic intensity heightens our senses and invites the audience to ‘play’. Smith’s double-sided glass painting will be suspended between architectural columns while Day presents an audio piece and Messih composes text.

A selection of artists will work in situ on durational pieces of sound, movement and word, activating the gallery at different points throughout the exhibition. Performances by dancer and choreographer Shelley Lasica, drawing on the temporal, physical surrounds, and the experiential, so audiences will encounter a lively, evolving space. Baumann will paint every wall in the exhibition space a different colour. Her interest in the relation between colour and emotion leads to work which directly affects the audience through their observed, transient and emotive qualities.

Sami will undertake one of his live painting performances using hyper-extended, nine-metre paintbrushes.  “The new works developed for the exhibition expand on a consistent line of questioning, which attempts to illustrate how painting can capture ideas of time, action and process,” says Sami. “These progressive pursuits have explored the material of household paint into studies of colour, form and materiality in an attempt to define a unique material language of painting”. Through improvised brushwork, Sami’s latest iteration of Painting Performance employs the space of the room; “utilises the dimensions of the room to determine the parameters and rules of engagement with the activity of painting and the architecture of the space”. A blank canvas will be installed on one of the gallery walls with the calculated distance to the opposing wall dictating the length of the brush needed. “This activity of painting the canvas in such a manner reveals something about the process of painting and questions the ‘what to paint’ and ‘how to paint’ gesture, the role of chance and the role of the artist. The space, for the duration of the unrehearsed performance, becomes charged with this frenetic activity between the artist and the materials and what remains is the residue and recording captured in time.”


Similar to abstraction itself, the exhibition bypasses the visual geometries of the artworks and delves deep into the quantum physics of “superposition”– the property of a particle to occupy all of its attainable states simultaneously. This property of multiple, coexisting possibilities persists until the superposition is measured, observed or interacted with. What emerges is a display of works that provoke a revision of our views of physical reality and charts the processual relationships between the encounters between audience and artwork rather than simply the objects themselves.

10 February to 17 April, 2017


Brendan Van Hek, the continual condition – seven colour arrangement, 2016, neon, plywood, 33 x 60.5 x 40cm
Courtesy the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney

Huseyin Sami, Painting Performance with improvised brush, 2011
Huseyin Sami, Untitled (PWGB), 2016, acrylic on canvas, 153 x 122cm
Courtesy the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney

Jonny Niesche, Networking – all edges, 2016, dye-sublimation print on polyester voile, wood, 163 x 125cm
Courtesy the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney

Gemma Smith, The Elm and The Vine, 2016, acrylic on linen, 185 x 185cm (framed)
Courtesy the artist and Sarah Cottier Gallery, Sydney

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